A quiet craftsman whose work in photography and woodworking is powerful and undeniable, evoking originality, emotion, story and art within every facet.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF AND THE WORK THAT YOU CREATE.
I’m a quiet person. I’m loyal. Most of the time I’m content but am usually wondering what’s around the next corner. Regarding photography, I seem to create, I think, in quiet. Over the years, I’ve realized that in this world of constant noise and stimulation, we’ve grown uncomfortable with the quiet moments. I try to create an atmosphere of peace amongst interesting light or environment. In the realm of woodworking, it started as a place where I don’t have a screen in front of my face. A place where my hands can get dirty and at the end of a lot of work, I’d have something beautiful to hold and give to someone.
WHO HAVE YOU WORKED WITH AND WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE ASSIGNMENT?
I’ve worked with, and shot for, a lot of different people and a handful of companies. I can’t really pick out a favorite assignment. I can only say that my favorite is when a client trusts me 100%. Or when shooting with a model who is active in collaborating on the images; one who isn’t afraid to turn off the ‘model’ and just be who they are.
RECOUNT YOUR JOURNEY TO BECOMING AN ARTIST.
It has been regurgitated a million times. We’re all born artists. We’re all born to create. But some of us turn that part off. I don’t think I ever turned it off. Looking back at my childhood school work, I find workbooks full of doodles. I’m not sure how I got through school because I know my mind was else where. I’ve always signed up for as many art classes as possible through school and attempted a few years of college pursuing some crazy mix of graphic design, 3D animation, and film production. I can’t think of a time that I wasn’t trying to make something.
YOU'VE TAKEN A LOT OF RISKS ALONG THE WAY, BUT WHAT WAS YOUR DEFINING ONE WHERE EVERYTHING WAS ON THE LINE?
A few years back I went and quit a well paying 8-5 job to pursue photography full time. I’ve got a family, wife and four kids. We weren’t really in a place where all our ducks were in a row, but I knew that I needed to put in my two weeks come November 1, 2012. It scared me to death. I had maybe a few weddings books and a couple gigs with some record labels to shoot bands, but not enough to make the leap feel like it made sense.
HOW HAS YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS SUPPORTED YOU THROUGHOUT IT ALL?
They’ve supported me 100%. There hasn’t ever been an ounce of doubt coming from my family or friends. It has felt pretty amazing to have so much support; it helps when the self doubt gets a hold of you.
LOOKING BACK ON ALL THAT HAS UNFOLDED, WHAT NUGGETS OF WISDOM HAVE YOU LEARNED AND EMBRACED?
Be patient. But when it is go-time, go. Keep your head down and do the next thing in front of you. Find the places in your life where it is most easy for you to relax and find rest. Rest as often as you can.
IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF ONE PIECE OF ADVICE, WHAT WOULD THAT BE?
I don’t think I am wise enough to give my younger self advice. I'm still figuring all this out.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL HAS ALLOWED YOU TO BREAK THROUGH AND SUCCEED, PARTICULARLY AMONGST YOUR PEERS?
I'm not sure. Do I really stand out? I honestly don’t think I do. But in any case, I think the key to standing out is to ignore the crowd. In this day and age, there are a billion copy-cats. Folks crave attention online and when they see someone who gets a lot of attention, they do their best to copy without copying, if that makes sense. The problem is, you have a billion people doing the same crap and not only are they missing out on their own uniqueness, but we’re missing out on seeing them live in their potential.
WHO ARE THE MENTORS THAT HAVE INFLUENCED AND INSPIRED YOUR LIFE?
I’ve always wished for a mentor. Can’t say that I have one.
IS THERE ANY ADVICE THAT YOU WOULD GIVE A YOUNG PERSON FOLLOWING THEIR PASSION AS AN ARTIST?
First step: Develop good relationships with the family and friends in your geographic area! Second step: Don’t worry about what people think. Third step: Don’t stare at your phone all day. Keep those things up and I guarantee you’ll find inspiration and create art that is meaningful first to you, second to your friends and family and third for the rest of the world.
WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR CREATIVITY, WHAT DO YOU FIND YOURSELF CONSTANTLY SEARCHING FOR?
I’m constantly seeking self satisfaction in my art. Although I may find it momentarily, I am almost always instantly ready for the next project or shoot.
WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT KEEP YOU CREATIVELY INSPIRED AND CONSISTENTLY INNOVATING?
Boredom. I get bored really quickly when I notice myself creating essentially the same thing over and over again. I can’t pin point inspiration because I feel like I am inspired by so many things. As a random example, I recently started collecting tools so that I can make tobacco pipes. Where in the world did that come from? Seeing one absolutely amazing pipe pop up on my Instagram feed. What I saw was the most beautiful woodgrain and elegant design of any type of woodworking I’ve ever seen. Right then I decided I wanted to do that do. I want to take a chunk of wood and make something that you can get lost in when looking at it closely. I wanted to make something that would be used for decades.
LOOKING AT OUR WORLD, WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN IMPACT AND CHANGE ABOUT IT?
Not really sure. I hope I can help people see that they are beautiful and worth everything.
WE ALL DREAM OF LEAVING A LEGACY. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR, AND WHY?
More than anything, I just want my wife and kids to know that I loved them above everything else. That I believe in them. That they are perfect just the way they are and that this life is a journey and death is not a destination.
ANY CURRENT ALBUMS, ARTISTS OR SONGS ON REPEAT?
Gregory Alan Isakov - The Weatherman.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE MOVIE OR TV SHOW?
Not really. I love movies. TV shows... meh. I’m kind of a LOTR and Star Wars nerd.
Bacon, eggs, buttered toast and a solid cup of coffee.
LOTR is a yearly read for me. Recent reads would be Scary Close by Donald Miller and Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Both really great.