Cover Nat Geo, 2 week shoot for the Jordan Tourism Board, behind the scenes at the Spanish Riding School, the Bavarian State Opera House, Hungarian Parliament building.
Do you remember when you realized photography was more than a point and shoot camera?:
The first time I developed a roll of film and made my first darkroom print. I felt like an alchemist or magician and I wanted to learn more. It wasn’t till years later that I saw photography as a potential career.
What was your first camera? And what is your current?:
First camera was a Hanimex 110 that I got from my godmother as a christmas gift back in the 70’s. First half decently serious camera was a Nikon N2000. I shot Nikon and Mamiya 645 for a long time but now I’m a Canon guy and mostly shoot with a Canon 1Ds mkIII. But If Hassleblad wanted to throw a H4D and a few lenses my way I don’t think I’d refuse
What has photography done to your life?:
It’s allowed me to see the world in a new way and to appreciate the fact that we are surrounded by beauty everywhere we go. Photography to me is an homage to the people and places that we as photographers capture. I take that responsibility seriously and hope that my passion shows in the final product.
As a career photography has let you see much of the world. Where are the places you wish to return or are most memorable?:
New Zealand, for the diverse landscapes. There is ocean, lakes, mountains, forests, glaciers, rivers and fjords all within a 2 hour drive from each other. I’d like to spend a few months there at some point. I feel at my best when I’m near the ocean, there is a majestic natural power or energy that I feel as I listen to waves crashing on to the rocks or beach. To have the ocean nearby is great, to have all of the other amazing things New Zealand has to offer so close to the ocean is the best of all worlds. Now if only Paris were in New Zealand it would be perfect.
Who or what do you look to find inspiration in?:
My friend Vivian who died of cancer two years ago. She was the bravest person I have ever known. She inspires me to be a better, kinder person and the best photographer I can possibly be. When I do a good job on a photo I automatically think of her and smile. I think she would like that.
Life behind a lens means being witness to the best of times and the worst. Please let us know an experience from each.:
It’s hard to beat photographing pretty models when you’re a young photographer and I was lucky to have been able to do that for a while. However photographing Mayan ruins, Gaudi’s architecture or glacier fed lakes in the Rocky Mountains isn’t too bad either. So many good times can be had when you do what you love and are surrounded by good people, in that sense I’ve been fortunate.
The bad side is traveling to poorer countries and seeing the local people who are living in abject poverty. I have worked a lot in Mexico over the last ten years and there is such a discrepancy between rich and poor there that it can be quite shocking. The travel photography that I’m doing now will hopefully allow me to find charity partners to work with so that I can give back to the places that inspire me so much
What would you say to a young shooter with dreams of traveling the world taking photos?:
Honestly I think a lot of people have this sense about photographers living some kind of dream life. I know quite a number of photographers and none of them are jet setters or rich, even if they are incredibly talented. The advice I’d offer is be prepared for a roller coaster ride. Work hard, really hard at your craft and invest more in yourself and less in equipment. Photographers take pictures, not cameras. Learn how to use Photoshop and keep learning, then learn some more. Take a course in how to run a small business and have a good accountant, after all it is a business and taking photos is just a part of it. Find out what makes you love photography and do that, not what makes you the most money. It is getting harder to make a living as a photographer and I think that you need to have passion for the craft and it has to be fun if you are going to have any success. I always say that I do the photography for free but get paid to do the editing, paperwork, marketing and the other day to day things that it takes to run a business. I wish I could take my own advice when I repeat wise words I was once told; Don't worry about the future, and know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. Work hard, have passion and don’t look back. There will always be a need for good photography and it’s going to take good photographers to take those photos.
Tell us one over looked lesson you have learned in the photo business:
Wear comfortable shoes, trust me on that one.
Recommended reading: List websites, books:
“Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” The ultimate travel book.
www.aphotoeditor.com I'm a lot less stupid since I started reading Rob's blog. It's the best photographer related blog in the universe, really.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain
"When you set out on your journey, pray that the road is long, full of adventure, full of knowledge" ~ Ernest Hemingway
"I think the idea of art kills creativity" ~ Douglas Adams