Interview May 2022
Q. I've always wanted to talk to you about your thoughts on the wedding photography that you do. It's very different from your personal work. How do approach it?
Well you're right. It is very different. With the wedding photography that I do with my wife, we're not only shooting to satisfy our own tastes, but also for the client. In the end we have to deliver high quality images that have meaning for the client. They have to be images that not only document the special day, but also will have a special meaning for them for the rest of their lives.
Q. What look do you go for with your wedding photos?
My wife and I are very disciplined that the images must be great right out of the camera. We concentrate on using good light, high quality lenses and gear as well as our experience knowing what it takes to produce a good image. We prefer delivering clean, magazine quality images to the client. The reason for that is that we offer to all our clients the download of all the image galleries without any edits. That way, if the client does want a particular image retouched, we're starting off with the best possible quality. Many others like to deliver highly polished images that have had tons of edits done to them. But it's impossible to go back on them without doing some form of destructive editing where the quality just keeps getting worse. Sure you can start again with the original raw, but it's nice to know that you have some quality right out of camera before any filters or edits have been done. We let the clients decide. They know what they like.
Q. How do you cope with the stress of shooting weddings?
Well it's not that bad. But we know that know matter how well to plan things, there's always a monkey wrench thrown into something on that day. We just have to be flexible and do the best that we can in a short amount of time. Some of the images are just documenting what's happening all around us, and some we do in a more controlled environment where we can more or less direct people to get what we need. It's a blend of control versus chaos.
Q. Control vs. chaos. I like that. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts today!
You're welcome. Thanks for your interest!
Interview October 2021
Q. I want to ask you about vision. I read in a previous interview that once a very established and successful photographer said that you had a “great glance”. What does that mean to you?
Everybody has a different way of seeing I think. If you put 10 photographers into the same scenario, the pictures will all end up looking quite unique to each photographer. But this I do know: people will see what they want to see, and that applies to photographers as well.
Q. So how do you go about working with a scene, a place, or a subject?
I try to find the truth. I try to be honest about it, and at the same time I try to take the kind of picture that displays a certain understanding of the place. After all, that’s the heart of the matter. That’s the struggle isn’t it? It’s very easy and quite commonplace now in photography to fabricate and embellish, and if you’re after attention, then I guess that’s the reason many do it that way. But we’re all free to do what we want in the art world aren’t we?
Q. I’m reading into your answer and taking a bit of a leap here, but is that why you’re not a big fan of posting to social media?
Well, like I said before, people see what they want to see. And, social media in many ways is really a type of popularity contest. So if you want attention on social media, your photographs have to be designed to appeal to the masses…so-called “pop photography” you know? Although some of my photographs may have a wider appeal, for the most part, the vast majority of my photographs, including most of my very best photographs, have zero appeal to the masses.
Q. Why is that do you think?
Because it’s not what they want to see…I have spent all my life trying to look inside my soul to undo everything I’ve learned. I’m not at all interested in producing photographs that appeal to people on Facebook. It’s just futile. I’ve been there, just like many many others. But I’ve freed myself from that revolving door. I try to take photographs that are a reflection of the way I see with honesty and with a measure of understanding. And hopefully, photographs that are worthy enough to have some value for many years.
If I was after popularity in my home town for example, I’d be spending my time taking photographs of sunsets, sunrises, grizzly bears, eagles, dressed-up landscapes and breath-taking scenes. That’s all the world needs is yet another picture of Mount Elizabeth so that we can try to sell it to tourists in the local museum. But I suppose it’s really a matter of who do you photograph for? I don’t photograph for other people. I don’t photograph to sell my images. It’s really that simple.
Q. How would you describe a good picture?
Well, a good picture is not just about the "what". It is also about the "how". It doesn't have to be fabulous resolution. It doesn't have to be perfectly in focus even. It's much more than being about the quality. It's about how well it speaks of someone, something, or some place. It's one of those pictures that makes you pause because you really want to look at it. You want to see it. And that's what art is. It's something that speaks...
Q. It’s quite true that there are many photographers caught in that “revolving door” of trying to be popular. I can certainly appreciate you wanting to be free from that. But what keeps you going?
A. Art I suppose… the challenge perhaps… trying to take pictures that speak in a lower voice I think…