Fine-art travel photographer specializing in landscape, cityscape and astrophotography. As well as aiming to visit and photograph every country, Conor leads expeditions and teaches workshops around the globe.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF AND THE WORK THAT YOU CREATE.
I often describe myself as a fine-art landscape and destination photographer. This basically means that I travel the world and try and show people my vision of the places that I see. I enhance my photographs, blending different exposures of a particular scene together to get the best representation of the location - hence the fine-art part.
I don't photograph people as much as I do landscapes and locations, so I sometimes choose 'destination' instead of the more traditional 'travel'.
WHO HAVE YOU WORKED WITH AND WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE ASSIGNMENT?
I work with a lot of tourism boards, including Ecuador, Great Britain and the Faroe Islands. These jobs inherently have a lot of travel associated with them, so they tend to be my favorite clients to work with.
The Ministerio de Turismo de Ecuador had me shooting around the Amazon rainforest and the Andes mountains, so I'd say this ranks high in terms of great assignments!
I'm always on the lookout for new clients and adventures that allow me to showcase not only my work, but their amazing city / country / product. Who knows what awaits in the future!
RECOUNT YOUR JOURNEY TO BECOMING AN ARTIST.
I actually started photography as a way to not get bored! I wanted to do lots of traveling, but couldn't be bothered waiting for other people to make decisions, so I decided I'd travel on my own. In case this became tedious, I bought a camera to keep me amused and ended up loving it! I made a new year's resolution to travel every month of the following year (when I had a full-time desk job). I'd take a long weekend and travel all over Europe taking photos. Since then, my journeys have taken me further afield.
HOW DID YOU CHILDHOOD SHAPE YOU INTO THE MAN AND ARTIST YOU ARE TODAY?
I actually started photography when I was around 14 years old. This was a hobby and passion for a year or two, before I stopped and didn't take it up again until about 15 years later. I'm glad I rekindled my interest in taking photos and I'm even happier that so many people appreciate my work.
YOU'VE TAKEN A LOT OF RISKS ALONG THE WAY, BUT WHAT WAS YOUR DEFINING ONE WHERE EVERYTHING WAS ON THE LINE?
I used to work as a web developer for a financial company. After we got bought out, I enjoyed the job less and less, so I made plans to leave and become a freelance photographer after spending years doing it as a hobby. I think this was my make or break moment. The outcome is still to be decided...
IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF ONE PIECE OF ADVICE, WHAT WOULD THAT BE?
It's harder than you think; get working!
HOW HAS YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS SUPPORTED YOU THROUGHOUT IT ALL?
My friends, especially the ones I've made through Instagram and other social networks, have been hugely supportive and without them, I wouldn't have made it as far as I have. They've not only had words of advice along the way, but in my industry, a lot of work comes from word of mouth.
LOOKING BACK ON ALL THAT HAS UNFOLDED, WHAT NUGGETS OF WISDOM HAVE YOU LEARNED AND EMBRACED?
I think the best thing I have learned so far is that you can often turn an offer of free work into an offer of paid work. You just got to have the guts to ask and know what you're worth.
IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF ONE PIECE OF ADVICE, WHAT WOULD THAT BE?
I'd tell myself that becoming freelance requires a lot more hustling that you could possibly imagine, especially at the start. I love the freedom that it entails, but work is never steady and it is always (at least for me) a struggle to get.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL HAS ALLOWED YOU TO BREAK THROUGH AND SUCCEED, PARTICULARLY AMONGST YOUR PEERS?
I think two things have really helped me. One is that I've stayed true to my photographic vision and I spend a lot of time crafting my art in the way I want. I think having your own style and not chopping and changing with different fads is important. I'm also honored to have a lot of followers on social media. These days, being a good artist often isn't enough on it's own; you need to have the marketing clout behind it.
WHO ARE THE MENTORS THAT HAVE INFLUENCED AND INSPIRED YOUR LIFE?
One of my (now) best friends is a photographer called Dave Morrow. We both ended up being inspirations for each other without realizing it. We became good friends online and since have travelled the world together shooting. We have a similar outlook on photography, music and life. Dan Rubin is another good friend and a great photographer. My main inspiration from him is all the knowledge he's willing to impart to you. From a simple five minute chat with this guy, you can gain life-changing information. I'm honored to be teaching photography workshops with him! Greg Annandale is the person who got me into photography to begin with. He has joined me for photography trips in more countries than I can possibly remember. Without his input, I never would be doing photography as a hobby, let alone a career!
IS THERE ANY ADVICE THAT YOU WOULD GIVE A YOUNG PERSON FOLLOWING THEIR PASSION AS AN ARTIST?
I'd tell them to develop their own style and stick with it. It may take a while to find their groove, but it's best to stick with it. You do your best work when you're passionate about what you do, and if you try and fake a style that's not yours, you won't succeed. That's not to say you don't have to listen to feedback. Being able to take criticism is hugely important and can take years to master.
WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR CREATIVITY, WHAT DO YOU FIND YOURSELF CONSTANTLY SEARCHING FOR?
For my work as a landscape and travel photographer, I'm always searching for places that haven't been photographed as much. I really want to travel to every country and have my own take on it. This is a pretty constant job, but one I love.
WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT KEEP YOU CREATIVELY INSPIRED AND CONSISTENTLY INNOVATING?
I love looking through other photographer's work, whether this is on their websites, in galleries or on social media. This not only keeps me wanting to improve my own work, but also inspires me to travel to other places I haven't seen yet. I try not to look at the work of others on days when I'm doing a lot of processing, as I don't want to be overly influenced by their style when working on my own photography, even subconsciously. I also watch a lot of photography tutorials, as I think you always have to be learning and should never be complacent.
LOOKING AT OUR WORLD, WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN IMPACT AND CHANGE ABOUT IT?
I'd love to educate people about how beautiful this world is and perhaps persuade people (and companies) to treat Mother Earth with more respect. As a landscape photographer and decent human being, I abhor littering and pollution.
WE ALL DREAM OF LEAVING A LEGACY. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR, AND WHY?
I would love to be remembered as a great photographer and a genuine person. Nothing more, nothing less.
ANY CURRENT ALBUMS, ARTISTS OR SONGS ON REPEAT?
I'm currently listening to the new album by the Pannonia Allstars Ska Orchestra. They're a fantastic ska and reggae band from Budapest, Hungary. The digital album hasn't officially been released yet, but I'm friends with the singer, Kristof Toth (also a photographer), and he's kindly let me hear a copy.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE MOVIE OR TV SHOW?
This is a tricky question! When it comes to TV shows, I think my favorite of all time is Quantum Leap. Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell worked so well on screen together and I think this show gave me a great moral compass growing up (and still to this day). My top movies nearly always include The Big Lebowski and Ghost Dog. Not hugely successful movies at the time, but both incredible cult classics years later.
I actually don't have a favorite book. I'm a sucker for cheesy American crime dramas, so I like the Jack Reacher (by Lee Child) and Lincoln Rhyme (by Jeffery Deaver) series of books. I also love an old book of Japanese samurai words of wisdom called Hagakure. Coincidentally, this book was used extensively in the aforementioned movie, Ghost Dog.
Having travelled to around 60 countries so far, I've tried food from all around the world. I tend to have a favorite from most of the countries, such as wagyu beef from Japan or Lak Lok from Cambodia. I still enjoy a tasty burger with fries, or a delicious Ulster Fry from my home country!
STAR WARS OR STAR TREK?
Star Trek, as long as it's The Next Generation. That was an amazing series.
WHAT IMPORTANT TRUTH DO VERY FEW PEOPLE AGREE WITH YOU ON?
Never trust a man whose trousers are too short for him.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE SUPER RICH?
People often equate success with money. I disagree with this. Although I've sometimes wondered what it would be like to be a multi-millionaire, I came to the conclusion that I'd like just enough money to get by comfortably and help those around me. That said, getting by comfortably would require a little bit more income that I currently have!