I have always had an intense passion for the wilderness, this passion developed as a small boy growing up in rural Michigan. I thank my parents for that, they both had grown up in rural communities and knew that the experiences they had with nature were important enough to make sure their kids had the opportunities to do the same. They were always getting my brother Jesse and I outside to play, which we both loved. This was the beginning of my life as a wilderness photographer and lover of the natural world. Being so young, I would never have a camera, I simply knew what I wanted to see so I would go looking for it. When I found the ‘right’ angle of view for a certain scene (vision in my mind’s eye) I would stand and stare for hours. I believe this helped train my eye, at the time I had no idea it would later be my passion and profession. By the time I was eighteen, I bought my first SLR body, I felt like I had a good eye from my life experiences loving the landscape and wildlife, but my images never captured the world the way that I had seen it. This was terribly frustrating, but I knew I could only do one thing. I needed to work my hardest to develop my technical skill, conceptual skill and artistic skill. To create a photograph, to express an idea and my emotions in a way that represented the natural world faithfully and the intense emotional connection I shared with the natural world.
I truly enjoy and agree with the way that Galen Rowell put this conundrum “At first I was disturbed that 99 percent of my images didn’t look as good as what I had seen. The other one percent, however, contained some element–a beam of light, a texture, a reflection–that looked more powerful on film than to my eye.” – Galen Rowell -. I then spent the next several years practicing endlessly to improve my vision, my skill, and to increase the chances of capturing a truly powerful photograph. That is when I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to telling powerful stories through the medium of Photography. I knew I had much more work to do however, so I began to think of the personal aspects that go into a true work of art. I began to think that there are three important aspects that MUST be balanced to achieve a work of art. The artistic vision, The technical knowledge and the conceptual thought. When these three parts are married together equally, only then is a truly moving photograph possible. I am still working tirelessly to always improve my abilities. The moment when I think I have learned everything there is to know about photography is the day I have failed as a photographer and an artist. It is impossible to know everything about anything, we must always push forward knowing that there is much more to learn.
Why do I photograph? I have always loved the natural world and everything that lives within, but loving it is not enough. I am trying my hardest to spread the word and vision of the beauty of life to motivate people to also try their best to make a change. We, as human beings, have the ability to fight for the worlds landscapes and wildlife through the means of conservation and preservation. Now is the time to show how much you care by standing up against corrupt corporations that destroy our natural world. Visit your local conservancy to see what you can do to help in your free time. Write to your local, state, and national government about your concerns.