Who are your 3 all-time top photographers?
Number one, without even thinking about it, is the late Galen Rowell. He was in so many ways what I aspire to be: not only a pioneering landscape photographer, but also an incredible outdoorsman and athlete. A true adventurous spirit. Pretty much my whole style of composition, lighting, and aesthetic sensibilities came from looking at Galen’s work.
My second pick is a contemporary nature photographer named Marsel Van Oosten. Marsel is probably my favorite working photographer today. As digital techniques become more advanced and more widespread it seems to me that many photographers are becoming reliant on them to produce striking images. Instead of focusing on the craft of photography they’re focusing on the technique and the technical. I’m talking about things like 12-image blends involving seven different focus points for extreme DOF, five different exposures for dynamic range, and heavy cloning to “fix” whatever aesthetic problems were present in the scene. But while these techniques are producing unquestionably beautiful images, I feel like they miss out on some deeper part of photography, which I why I love Marsel’s work.
He doesn’t spend 10 hours per image combining and merging shots in Photoshop in order to create a masterpiece. No, he simply goes out and explores the world, finding and photographing some incredible stuff in the process. And that’s more of the type of photographer I try to be.
My third pick is a tough one because there are so many talented photographers out there today. But the name my mind keeps coming back to is Michael Anderson, a photographer out of Colorado. I love Mike’s work because it’s adventurous, pure and simple. He travels all over the world, shooting incredible places that are far off the traditional photographer’s path. And he has a style of photographing and processing that lends a distinctive air of fantasy to his images. Whenever I look at his galleries it makes me want to travel. And that’s part of the power of good photography: it connects you to a place you’ve never been before.