When did you first begin to think of yourself as an artist?
I always grew up around art. My father was a full-time painter ever since he was in college. So, by the age of five I was going to art shows and traveling with him, helping him set up his booths and watching him paint. But, it wasn’t until I was 20, in my sophomore year at Texas State, before I started considering art as something I should do. I was starting to get into traveling and wanting to find a job outdoors. Around that time, my Dad was really pushing me toward photography. He had an inkling it would be something I would be interested in. It was the week before Christmas …we went out to Big Bend. He gave me his camera and we just hiked and took photos. After that I was starting to look back at my images and edit, and he actually let me make a big canvas print and put it in his gallery. It was around that time that I thought. ‘Oh this would be awesome! What a dream to travel and just take photographs and share that with other people’.
How do you decide on your subject matter ?
I do a lot of art shows in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and here in Texas. Even showing my work in Art on 12, here in Wimberley. I think, as far as photography, people really like to see the beauty of their own back yard: local subject matter: Big Bend or even the bluebonnets here in the hill country. Or thinking about Colorado: the mountains, the aspens; or the deserts in Arizona. I’d love to go to Europe or California or Wyoming. But the places I tend to go to the most are the places where I think I can eventually sell that work.
What artists were inspirations or mentors for you?
First and foremost, my Dad, without a doubt. He taught me about composition and lighting as well as framing and presenting your work. A picture is just a picture on a phone or camera screen. But once it’s on the wall, that’s when it becomes a work of art. Other photographers that have inspired me? In high school I went to the Peter Lik gallery and seeing that work was just mind blowing. Even though I didn’t think about being a photographer at the time, I remember now looking back how impressive that was. I’ve read multiple books by him. Also, Paul Zizka, a Canadian photographer in Banff. I did a workshop with Dustin Lefevre in Salt Lake City that was my first hands-on workshop.. so important…far more valuable than reading or a YouTubevideo.
Have you created a special studio space for yourself?
Well as a photographer, doing digital makes things simpler. As far as doing the landscapes, the outdoors is kind of my office. My studio – the post processing – is real easy. So, I just can work on the computer in my room. I try and keep the post-processing minimal. The majority of the work is beforehand… planning the shot, making sure I’m getting the lighting right, and then executing. The post studio work like framing comes pretty easily.
What three artists, living or dead would you like to have at a dinner party?
Ansel Adams and Georgia OKeefe – those two paired together for sure, because they’ve traveled together throughout New Mexico, where I’m from originally. Seeing their work and what they’ve done, especially in the southwest where I typically go the most. Definitely, there would be a lot of subject matter to talk about there. Probably Paul Ziska. He does phenomenal digital photography, especially the Northern Lights. He’s one of the top mountaineers as well. He’s probably one of my biggest inspirations… the amount of work he has to go through to take those photographs is amazing.
What’s the weirdest or funniest thing anybody ever said to you about your work?
I’ve had a lot of interesting conversations. When I’m at an art show, crowded with people, you kind of want people to engage with you and your work, but not waste too much of your time. Because there are other people you want to engage with. I mean, you’re a salesman at that point. So, I’ve had times … there’s always a person that will bring up …’Oh, beautiful photo’… and then they ramble on for 30 minutes about tangential stuff. But, then again, whenever people come in and enjoy your work and strike up a conversation, it’s still very flattering.