Wednesday, November 24, 2004

INTERVIEWS

Here are some interviews i have done in the past. I'll try & keep them current.
-e

[1] '03 Collin, Brooks Student

How did you first get your start in the snowboard photog buisness?

I had saved up some money after graduating from the Uof Montana working in construction & I headed to New Zealand to snowboard & to write & photograph in the hopes of turning my trip into a ‘travel story’ type thing. I ended up shooting a few action shots & not really writing much. When I returned home to Bend Or. I managed to sell one image for an ad. At the time my rent was $250.00 & the ad paid $350.00 – “one of those a month & I’ll be set”


How long did it take you before you started making enough money off shooting to
do it full time?

My decision to photograph full time wasn’t really based making money. It just happened to me – I wasn’t making enough money – barely getting by - but I knew that the job I had at the snowboard shop was keeping me away from photography & missing some crucial days on the snow. Desperation is the mother of invention.

Does it ever feel competitive with the other photog's or do you guys pretty much have a certain group of riders or companies
you work with?

I don’t think it’s competitive on a personal basis. Photography in general is viciously competitive & the snowboard racket is no different. There are lots of talented photographers shooting these days but I don’t think that there are many that aren’t interchangeable.

Do you spend a lot of time marketing yourself to companies, or do they come to
you for assignment work?

I have a website – but in snowboarding I think getting work is based on word of mouth & having lots of photos in all the current magazines.


How did you end up becoming Photo Editor at Transworld? How come you chose not
to keep the position?

Shem Roose tricked me into it! Just kidding. I had just moved down to San Diego & wanted to take a big break from the relentless travel schedule I was keeping. I wanted to sit still & chill for a while & I have always loved magazines & wanted to learn how they worked from the inside. Shem, too, was ready to move on & we just kind of traded places – he was a super active senior photographer * I was the guy in the office wondering why I didn’t get to surf as much anymore. While I was PE I think TWS went through some major changes & I think Yogi Proctor, as Creative Director was really the catalyst for everything. He never had a bad idea. When I realized that the magazine was ‘all about numbers’ & not the integrity of the finished product I moved on.

How many different outlets do you have to sell your photos? Is a lot of your
work assignment stuff?

90% of my snowboard action stuff is assignment & it goes directly to the company for ads, catalogs, web, & whatever. Extras from those shoots & the other few photos I shoot for myself throughout the year get sent editorially for the most part. 3-4 mags in the us including non snowboard magazines – like Outside & 3-4 in Europe.

You're one of the top guys in the business, do you have plans to move into
other areas of photography, or will you stay with snowboarding for your career?

Your full of shit. ‘top guy’ my ass. I actually feel like I am out of the industry. I still shoot commercially & I’m currently on retainer to shoot action this winter but I’m not hungry like I was to bust my ass every day & then pimp the images out all season…Emotionally & financially it is such a hoax. If snowboard photographers kept good books they would seriously reconsider waiting out shitty weather conditions in some hotel waiting to get that one shot that may possibly get used in a magazine. Of course – that is exactly why people do it & why I have done it for so long, It’s a way of life & it is immensely satisfying when everything comes together & you get what you wanted or something even better. More than anything – I have loved the travel I have gotten to do with snowboarding. The act of it is energizing & awakening.

Is there a certain trick to having longevity in an industry where people and
trends are constantly changing?

Learn to laugh at yourself. As I’ve gotten older I have realized that snowboarding is reinventing itself all the time. I really remember the first time I saw Danny Kass & the other Grenerds from Jersey/Mammoth causing a rukus somewhere. Everyone was in a panic & I realized that they were the new version of irreverence that had been lacking in snowboarding since Farmer, Ranquet & Palmer.


[2] '03 2beFree Czech magazine

Please tell us something about yourself.- where you were born, what place you call home, age,…?

I was born in 1973 in the British West Indies on an island called Grand Turk. I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky & when I graduated high school I moved to Wyoming to go to University. I eventually moved up to Montana & finished University there with a degree in English Literature & Creative Writing. After I had finished school I moved to Bend Oregon on kind a whim & met the most influential people of my life & certainly my career as a photographer. I now live in Encinitas, Ca. With my wife Leslie. We’re expecting our first baby in Feb.

What was first? Your love to ride snowboards or love to take pictures?

I started taking photographs when I was very young & had no idea what the hell I was doing. I was very fortunate to be able to travel a lot with my family & to use my father’s Pentax K-1000. Now of course I wish I knew what I was doing because I really had no control of the outcome of the picture I was making. I really enjoyed other people’s photos but I hadn’t yet learned how to work the camera properly. I started to learn more about photography in order to document my travels & hopefully accompany travel stories I wanted to write. When I began snowboarding I had no desire to mix it with photography. I thought of the two as mutually exclusive activities that both gave me a good reason & ability to travel to beautiful places.

How did you get into taking snowboarding pictures?

After graduating from university I worked in construction long enough to afford a trip to New Zealand to snowboard & travel around. I met up with some good friends there & took what were my first real snowboard photos. When I returned home I ended up selling an image of my friend Ross Peterson as an ad to a company called Stryke.

When did you take your first picture? What was it?

I don’t really remember what my first photo was…. I remember a lot of cameras around when I was growing up…my parents have the best photo albums & took photos of daily life with my sister & I that are amazing to go back & look at. I think I started taking photos with my dad’s camera on a trip we took one Christmas to Egypt. My father had just read about how the pyramids & all the monuments were being destroyed by pollution & vandals & thought it was really important that we saw them before it was too late. It was an amazing trip & I really was more interested in photographing what I saw than I was in the outcome of the photos. I had no idea how to make a photograph look the way I wanted it to look I just took pictures of things that interested me. I remember shooting Bedouin camel herders at mount Sinai on Christmas day & portraits of the people we stayed with in Cairo. Of course practically nothing turned out. [Included are two photos from the trip]

What and where was your first picture published?

While I was still going to school at the University of Montana in Missoula & working at the local snowboard - skateboard shop I borrowed my bosses camera gear & went to a small skate demo in a small town called Polson on Flathead lake. I shot this crazy kid who was apparently trying to kill himself ollieing this jump ramp gap & amazing the crowd. One of the shots in a round about way ended up in Thrasher magazine & the kid turned out to be Andrew Crawford – who is now a very close friend. We still reminisce about it as both of our first published photos when we see each other.

When did you decide to make living out of shooting snowboarding?

I actually never decided to make snowboard photography a living. It has always been one of those passions that I felt like I had to do whether I was being paid for it or not. Photography in general has never felt like a job to me. I honestly feel privileged to be able to do what I love & make a living. There have been so many people that I have met since I started photographing that have helped me out that it has never really felt like I was alone.

Who are your clients now?

list from web site
Editorial-----
Commercial------

Tell us what does it take to be photographer?

A camera.

How many days a year you travel? How many countries you traveled to shoot snowboarding? Any favorite place?

One of my favorite places to travel for snowboarding is New Zealand. I have been there five or six times & always have a blast. The people there are friendly & great and the landscape & mountains are amazing. It’s not always the best for snow but I have always had fun trying to make something happen.
I feel like I’m always trying to travel less & less & end up not being able to turn down trips. Lately I have been able to pick & choose a bit more & really enjoy the places I go & the jobs I’m on & even fit in a vacation or two here & there.
I have been fortunate enough o travel to some amazing places for photography.
Czech Republic
New Zealand: Queenstown, Wanaka, Christchurch, Auckland.
Norway: Oslo, Lofoten, Narvik, Hemsedal
Switzerland: Les Diablarets, Geneva
Germany: Munich,
Austria: Hintertux, Mayrhoffen, Innsbruk, Seefeld,
Italy: Rome, Milan, livigno, Turin,
France: Paris, Les Due Alps, Grenoble
Spain: Barcelona, St. Felieu
Chile: Santiago, Valle Nevado, Pichilemu, Termas,
Argentina: Buenos Aires, Las Lenas
Japan: Tokyo, Taka Yama, Hokaiido,
Canada: Vancouver, Whistler, Montreal, Banff.


What is your favorite part of your job?

I love the ability to have an insight into a legitimate sub-culture & travel & meet people around the world. I also love trying to push myself & my photography & seeing what people outside of my little world are into.

What is the worst part?

Being away from home & things that are familiar. It is hard to maintain a solid business foundation if you are always on the road…I’m learning with some help.

How heavy is your camera bag with all equipment you need?

Lets put it this way…in the last three years I haven’t been able to fly anywhere without paying an overweight baggage fee.


Don’t you get jealous sometimes when guys you shoot get to ride fresh powder in front of your camera and you don’t?

There is usually plenty for everyone…& the photographer usually gets to go first to ‘check it out’.



What’s your most memorable day in shooting of snowboarding?

The days where a little bit of extra effort really pays off. Waiting for the right light or waiting for storm clouds to pass.

What was your craziest day of shooting of snowboarding?

Sometimes you see crazy things that didn’t seem so crazy at the time… looking back at them now there are so many amazing things that I have seen that there isn’t just one.

Where do you get inspiration in photography?

I’m always looking at photographs whether it’s flipping through a magazine or just driving around imagining things I see as photos – Seeing all that imagery is my biggest influence.

Any photographers you look up to? (not only snowboarding)

An all time favorite photographer of mine is Henri Cartier-Bresson…I look up to so many though for all sorts of reasons.

In Snowboarding I admire the work of Zacher, Curtes, Vincent, Brusti, Hostynek, and anyone else that continues to push photography

How do you get on with people you are on the trip with? I mean I think you don’t always know them that much.

Being open & receptive is the only way to go. There are definitely some freaks to travel with. When all else fails…headphones, a book & an Ipod help me cope.

Who are your favorites pro riders to work with? And why?

I work really well with Todd Richards & it seams like we always get what we need done. We live really close & get to surf together a lot & we tend to enjoy the same things in life & travel.

What else do you shoot besides snowboarding? Woman, travel,…..

I have been shooting a lot more portraits lately & some lifestyle fashion type stuff…check out the website & see.

Do you keep all pictures you take or it is impossible? How do you store them?

No way – I would be suffocated by all of my photos if I tried to keep them. I have been cleaning out my archives lately with the ever talented & helpful intern Jon Johnson. You need to have someone help you some times to look at your work & say….”dude - this is garbage, why do you want it cluttering up your life?” It actually feels very liberating keeping only the finest examples of my history.

You have seen the evolution of snowboarding over last decade - what do you think? How much did it changed? Where does it go now?

Snowboarding has evolved & grown like everything else. People have always been obsessed with style & technique & technical proficiency & it just keeps progressing. It is very similar to Skating & surfing where no one wants to stay stagnant & do the same thing over & over. They want to push themselves & the sport…that attitude is where the accelerated pace of progress comes from.

What and how has changed in snowboarding photography over the years? (style, technique, content,…)

Snowboard photography has improved in the last few years because people are taking the skills of their jobs very seriously. Photographers, like snowboarders don’t want to continue to churn out the same crap as last year – it’s about being able to learn & grow as a photographer.

Do you use digital cameras? What do think of shooting digital?

I have one little Digi camera I have been using for snapshots & stuff I know I won’t want to hang on my wall…
I’ve also used the top of the line Canon stuff & the D1s is pretty great. It is great for strictly editorial work. For portraits & the precise nuances of light I’ll be sticking with film for a while.

Are all the pictures you see in magazine 100% PhotoShop free? I mean how much are they using these applications to adjust pictures to look sicker or so?

Photoshop is an incredible program that can either preserve the integrity of a photograph or help produce a completely altered image.

What photo equipment you use? What is your favorite camera?
Do you have all equipment you wanted or there is some toy you still want to buy?

I have some Hassleblad stuff, Leica, Mamiya, A Toyo 4x5, Holgas, Lomo, Profoto lighting gear, & lots of plugs & wires.

How many rolls of film you usually use during a photo session or snowboarding trip?

I’m actually packing for a photo shoot right now & I think I have 80-100 rolls of 35mm RDP III, & 60 assorted rolls of 120mm film. I like to mix between black & white & color a lot…different types for different moods.

What is the basic equipment for kids to take good pictures of their friends riding?

I think the most important thing to keep in mind with cameras is that you need to have a shutter button that triggers as soon as you press it with no delay…then the moment you instinctively hit the button is the moment that is recorded on film.

What is your opinion of good photo?

There isn’t really a rule to a good photo. Photographs are different things to different people.
You feel a good photo.


Anything you would like to say to our readers?

Enjoy.


[3] onboard '02 [euro snowboard magazine]

1. WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU USE? The same trendy gear as everyone else…Hassy, Leica, canon, profoto.


2. HOW BIG IS YOUR LENS?!! I beg your pardon?!


3. DO YOU HAVE A PHOTO EDUCATION? Every time I shoot is a type of education. I attend workshops from time to time as well.


4. WHO/WHAT ARE YOUR INFLUENCES? Photography is my biggest influence.


5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SUBJECT TO SHOOT? Intriguing people.


6. WHAT ARE YOUR LIKES/DISLIKES ABOUT SNOWBOARD PHOTOGRAPHY? The brilliant photos I’ve seen don’t get the credit they deserve & thousands of inadequate snapshots clutter up the world showing a poor representation of the snowboard culture. [Not Onboard of course – I mean mainstream media mostly]

7. HOW MUCH EQUIPMENT DO YOU GENERALLY TAKE UP THE MOUNTAIN? If it is an average day I will usually have A canon EOS IV, In, 70-200mm, 15mm, 20-35mm, 50mm, 1.4tele,extra booster pack, canon flash, film, assorted wires, filters, tools, & if there is room I’ll throw in a hassy. If it is something that needs to be lit I usually bring my Sherpa Hop-Sing & all the goodies.


8. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT MODERN SNOWBOARD PHOTOGRAPHY, IS THERE A
PROGRESSION? Absolutely. Snowboard photographers are some of the most ambitious experimental photographers I’ve ever seen. Sure there is an enormous amount of stagnation– but the ones who are working at mastering their craft are helping to push the progress.,

9. IS SNOWBOARDING PHOTOGRAPHY A PASSION OR DO YOU DO IT FOR THE MONEY? What money? Are you joking? Do you know what Herb Ritts makes?


10. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT SEQUENCES? IS IT PHOTOGRAPHY? Used sparingly they can be great. There has to be a point to shooting 20 photos of one trick…usually that point is to show the entirety of the trick & exhibiting the riders style & ability. To a certain extent, that has very little to do with photography & more to do with documentation. Sequences are terribly easy to shoot if you follow a simple formula – but making a different or interesting one is still a real challenge.


11. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TERRAIN? I like to be way up in the mountains where the terrain is telling the rider what to do & the rider is interpreting the possibilities & coming up with something totally unique.


12. COLOUR OR BLACK AND WHITE? They can both be magic.


15. BLUESKY OR CLOUDY? Cloudy skies are for Mt Baker & Stevens Pass.


16. FISHEYE, YES OR NO? Like sequences, it has its place & has a tendency to be over used.


17. WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF? Being conscious of how fortunate I am to be doing what I love. It makes the rest of the world seem so much more tolerable.

[4] '04 Australian Uni Student - Katie

What age were you when you started snowboarding and snowboarding photography?

-I started Snowboarding when I was 18 & had moved to Wyoming for University. I had skied a little but not enough to be good – so I was anxious to try something that was new & a little closer to skateboarding. I stared shooting snowboarding photos when I was 23 ish – on a trip to NZ after I graduated from school.

Do you think it is harder for women in snowboarding photography? I noticed that the male numbers seem to be more dominant.

-Oh definitely. I only know of a few women snowboard photographers. If you look at the major snow magazines both editorial & advertising is predominately male snowboarders….for the simple reason that there are more guys snowboarding than girls. I know a lot of snowboard photographers that used to be shredders themselves & transitioned into team management or photography as a way to maintain a lifestyle that they loved. It just makes sense that those guys would be travelling & shooting with their friends & generating more guys imagery.
There is definitely a lack of women photographers in snowboarding – it may just be because the market is primarily targeted to males. But with magazines like SG coming up I hope things will change.

Do you still have the same passion now as when you first started?


Do you still enjoy the lifestyle?


Have you done any training or a degree in photography or is it all self taught?
-I took a few classes at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Missoula while going to University. I have also attended a few workshops in Santa Fe that have been amazing & instrumental.


Have you put yourself into dangerous situations in the snow to get the shot you want? Or seen any avalanches?

-yes, both. It’s super scary & a serious knowledge of avalanche & backcountry safety is the most important thing a snowboarder or photographer can learn.

In the last interview you said you’re not ready to use digital for a lot of shots. Do you still feel the same way?
Nope, I’m all over digital now.



If you do use any digital now for your work, what do you use and what format do you set it on?
I have used the eos id, ids, id mark II, Imacon 22megapixel back on a hassy H1 & the phase one p25 on a mamiya 645.

What lenses do you use?
All depends on the camera system.

How do you protect all your camera gear from the weather conditions you must shoot in while in the snow?
It’s hard, but if it’s really crappy your usually not shooting that much. The canon 1vs is super weather proof & that is a good one to use when its nasty out….. or a Leica – those are bomber.

Have you ever had any problems with film going through security x-rays at the airport?
I have had a bunch of personal film ruined in London.
Luckily nothing crucial has ever been ruined for a client.
Never take chances with it though. I try to process in Europe or wherever if I have time rather than risking damage.
Honestly travelling with film is so much of a hassle that digital eliminates much of your worry. Just make sure you back it up.


What type of film do you use?
Kodak portra 160nc, & 400 nc
Fugi rdp III
TriX, Tmax

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