BetterPhoto.com - Become an even better photographer today!
EMAIL:
PASSWORD:
remember me:     
      


BetterPhoto Photography Interview - Page 2

Art Wolfe


Art Wolfe photography
© Art Wolfe
All rights reserved

Jim Miotke: Thinking back to when you were first getting started in photography, is there one bit of advice that you wish you were given? For instance, to save you time?

Art Wolfe:

No. Of all the struggles and all the missteps that I made, I think those burn into you. It's all apart of the process. And I didnít struggle that long, quite honestly. It's not that I'm smart, it's just that I'm dogged about it. I got a book fairly quickly out of the gate because I was a climber. I had a cultural anthro minor on the Northwest Coast Indians. So I got a book on basketry, which was a nice little project. I took these ancient baskets back up and down the coast to sites where they had been collected 200 years before. That was a steady income for the first year out of collage. At the same time, I got a start with National Geographic and Aububon magazines. It's not that I was so good, it's just that just that there weren't that many people competing in that area.

If I were a young man who was starting out today, of course, I would struggle. This industry of nature photography has mushroomed to the point where everybody wants to do it and publishers and stock agencies are having to restrict the amount of new work being seen.



Jim Miotke: Besides coming along at the right time, is there anything else that you think helped contribute to your success?


Travels to the Edge with Art Wolfe
© Art Wolfe
All rights reserved

Art Wolfe:

Yes. I grew up in a middle-class, lower-economic family. My father was an entrepreneur, so I saw that he was self-employed and that gives you the idea that you can also do that. ... I wasnít an introvert in junior high and high school. I was quite outgoing actually. But when it came time for me to get up in front of the class, I would just die. I would just go blank, I could not ever deliver a speech.

So what happened is I majored in painting at the university and I also had another major in art education, which requires if youíre going to be a teacher you have to take a speech class. But they graduated me and then I spent one year a substitute in a school district, which meant that, every day, I was on the firing line. You have a class of high schoolers, and you had to take control or die. So I learned that if I acted much more confidently, they would pay attention. If I was quivering, they would eat ya alive.

And so I learned from that struggle, and I was able to go to Audubon and Geographic, look them straight in the eye, and say "I can do this". I think that a lot of photographers express themselves through their work, but arenít necessarily great communicators. I learned to become that. I met my biggest fear, and was able to go through that at a fairly early age. That gave me a leg up.



Jim Miotke: At the same time, it sounds like one of your goals is to be part of a solution.

Art Wolfe:

Yeah. I once gave a talk in San Francisco, and a young man of about 22 came up to me after the talk and said: "I donít think you know who I am, but I wrote you when I was in high school and you wrote a long letter back and I kept that letter. It really motivated me, and today, Iím struggling but Iím somewhat successful in pursuing a career in photography." His eyes lit up and it was just so nice. Those are moments that you treasure, and Iím so glad. I try to respond to everybody, and it's good when it pays off and encourages people who are trying to get into the field."
Travels to the Edge with Art Wolfe
© Art Wolfe
All rights reserved



Jim Miotke: Many beginning photographers do not realize that it really helps to be always looking for interesting images in movies, magazines, books ... you name it. If you are going to be a great writer, you need to read a lot. If you are going to be a great photographer, you need to look at photographic ideas.

Art Wolfe:

Yeah, and the trick there is to be inspired by something you see and then to put your own slant on it.



Jim Miotke: To take the concept further and make it your own ...

Art Wolfe:

Yes, and quite honestly, you must consider what subjects you can photograph that haven't been done already. So the real challenge is to take what's been done and shoot at different angles, which is looking above or below, or whatever. Challenge perceptions.


< -- Page 1   Page 3 -- >

All photos and text © Art Wolfe and BetterPhoto.com, Inc., all rights reserved worldwide. No form of reproduction or usage - including copying, altering, or saving of digital image and text files - is permitted without the express written permission of Art Wolfe and BetterPhoto.com, Inc.

Copyright © 1996-2017 BetterPhoto.com, Inc.ģ All Rights Reserved.