I’m currently on the final legs of quite a trip that started in Brazil and then on to Morocco, and currently I’m in Spain for a few days for Holy Week to hopefully capture the masses for my upcoming book on world religions and spirituality. We will wrap this trip up in Jerusalem before I’m back home later this month.
As stressful and tiring as so much travel can be, I’m also fortunate to have gone down a career path that allows me to see the world. Many people are curious about how all this came about and do that end, as part of a new feature on the blog, here are a few Ask Art questions to hold you over until I return with a plethora of new photos!
Have any “Ask Art” questions of your own? Leave a comment below and we will add it to the list and perhaps your question will be featured on the blog!
Q: How do you get the amazing jobs/photo assignments that you go on? I know it’s your reputation and your amazing photos but how did you get started?
A: I struck out on my own from the very beginning. Rather than go the route of a photographer on assignment I made my reputation shooting stock photography which allowed me to set my own destinations and agenda for what I wanted to shoot. It also gave me full control over my images and I continue to work that way today, albeit with many more connections and options on the table. I’ll decide where I want to go and with the help of the staff we’ll create a photo tour or workshop and advertise them to the public.
Now days, the stock industry is difficult since everyone has a high-powered camera and super computer to process their images in the palm of their hands. However, there are also many more ways to share your work and promote yourself as well.
Q: Who is your favorite photographer?
A: I admire a great number of photographers and artists and have a library overflowing with books that span all kinds of genres. Those whom follow my history are well aware that my origins began at the University of Washington where I studied traditional Art History as well as Teaching. However, If I were to pick just one photographer who’s had the biggest impact on me, I’d have to go with Ernst Haas. His pioneering work influenced me early in my career and I continue to draw inspiration from him today.
Q: How have you cultivated your eye to create compelling compositions? It is truly amazing!
I have been an artist all my life and I would have to credit my eye for composition today with my roots as a painter going back to Jr. high School. I did not set out to be a photographer from the beginning – I was first and foremost a painter working in different mediums. Watercolor, though, was an early favorite and I grew up with the smells of oils from my mother’s paintings. I would take my easel and canvas and set them up on location and paint the landscapes and buildings before me. I would also imagine rural scenes and paint those – and later, as I grew and matured as an artist I tended to lean more and more towards abstracts.
A successful painting relies on the artist not just to copy what they see as they walk up to a subject – but rather, as you would imagine, one must look with an artistic eye, different angles, points of view and work the subject they are to paint – just as in photography you can choose to paint with a wide-angle perspective or a compressed telephoto point of view. There is more crossover between the disciplines than you might first imagine! A photograph is not simply taken – it’s created. It’s not an exact replica of what you saw (how boring would that be!) – like a successful painting be it abstract, landscape or portrait, it’s a successful application of discipline, principals, and creativity.
And just as with an artist with a brush my eye for composition has been an ever-evolving process as I review my own work and gain inspiration from the work of others. It really doesn’t matter if it’s a painting, a sculpture, or a photograph – there is something educational and inspiring to be gained from every successful work of art.