The Photography & Filmmaking Education Resource
0 Me Search
1 914-347-3300

Learning Center

Master's Showcase: Art Wolfe


Browse Library by

BY PhotoVideoEDU staff October 01, 2014 · Published by PhotoVideoEDU

Art Wolfe talks to PhotoVideoEDU about the life of a nature photographer, getting up close to wild animals, and the value of creating work for books.

Widely regarded as one of the world’s premiere wildlife and landscape photographers, Art Wolfe developed his obsession with the wilderness at a very early age. As a kid, he spent much of his free time scrambling through the forests and ravines that abounded in the Seattle, Washington suburbs where he grew up.

By the time he entered the University of Washington—where he studied art education in hopes of becoming an art teacher—hiking, mountain climbing, and adventuring virtually consumed his free time. And where Wolfe adventured, he also brought cameras to record his explorations.

Eventually, photography became the driving force behind his travels: "Soon after college, photography became the tail that wagged the dog," he says. "Initially I started out documenting trips that I was on; now I was going on these trips expressly to take the photos."

Like the proverbial bear that went over the mountain to "see what he could see," Art Wolfe has spent more than two decades in search of distant horizons and the visions that lay beyond. More than mere records of wild places, however, Wolfe’s photographs consistently reveal a soulful and profoundly poetic vision of the world. Indeed, Wolfe seems possessed of an almost magical ability to arrive at places at their most utterly dramatic moments.

Though he began his career as a successful shooter for outdoor magazines (he landed major assignments with both National Geographic and Audubon on his first attempt), Wolfe quickly abandoned magazine shooting in favor of book publishing. "Once I started working on books, I was less intrigued by doing magazine assignments because I liked the way books portrayed the work," he explains. "You have much more control over how your work is presented in books, and books are more permanent." Wolfe has published more than 40 books of photographs, among them Light on the Land, Pacific Northwest, Migrations, Rhythms from the Wild, Tribes and Water, and Rainforests of the World.

PhotoVideoEDU: When did your interest in natural history and wildlife begin?

Art Wolfe: I think it really started when I was in grade school. I grew up in the suburbs of Seattle and there were farms nearby, one neighbor had sheep, another had chickens, and beyond that there were wooded ravines all around. I spent a lot of time playing in the woods and creeks, looking under rocks, catching polliwogs—all the things that you would think little kids would be doing in the forest.

I have always been drawn towards the smells of the seasonal changes, the discovery of what’s out there, and my entire life I have just kept pushing the boundaries of that lifestyle. I started photographing after college, really on a local level, documenting the mountains of the Northwest and climbing many of them and documenting the trips. Then I started traveling abroad and I kept going further and further, and I have never stopped. Today that spirit of discovery and exploring and seeing new places and new cultures just keeps driving me forward.

PhotoVideoEDU: Do you think that growing up in the rugged landscape of the Pacific Northwest had a big effect on your career choice?

Art Wolfe: I often ask myself that question: If I had been born on a farm in the wheat fields of Kansas, would I, in fact, have become a nature photographer? I don’t know if I can answer that. I’m very much a homing pigeon; I live one mile from where I was born. I love going very far afield, but I also love coming back in three weeks and reacquainting myself with my home and going out to a movie and dinner—then I’m ready to go again for another two or three weeks.

Having said that, I wonder if I was born in the Midwest if I would have pursued a life of being a nature photographer. Maybe not. Maybe I would have become Kansas’ best wheat painter. I would have to think that given the great natural beauty or the Pacific Northwest, the amount of time I spent in the woods and in the Cascades here, that that was all part and parcel to developing what I do today for a living.

PhotoVideoEDU: Both of your parents were commercial artists. Do you think that influenced your becoming a photographer?

Art Wolfe: Absolutely. My mom was a commercial artist and my father was a painter and also a photographer; my mom was also involved in photography. They were just doing wedding photography, but there were always cameras and tripods around all the time. My dad never said, "Here’s a camera; let’s sit down and I’ll teach you how to take pictures of people," but just by being exposed to photography it encouraged me and got me interested.

The more important thing that my parents did was to enroll me in a weekend arts school that accepted lower-income kids. Although I resisted initially, they felt that it was necessary for me to learn more about the arts and thank God that they did that. The school was free to kids that could not afford private schools. It was funded by a college trying to create an atmosphere where artistically inclined kids could have access to supplies and to furthering their artistic skills.

PhotoVideoEDU: When did you begin to study photography seriously?

Art Wolfe: It began when I was a student at the University of Washington. I had already taken most of my electives. I knew I wanted to have some sort of outdoor occupation and I kept trying to think of occupations that would get me outdoors. I always thought that forestry might be it, but I hadn’t really realized until then that what forestry really meant was cutting logs, cutting down trees.

I finally just asked myself, "What is it you really want to do?" I realized that where my real talent lay and what made me the happiest was being in the art world. So after having satisfied all of the other credits, I marched myself up to the fine arts department and for the next three years I took nothing but painting and art education classes.

PhotoVideoEDU: Were you involved in exploring the wilderness during college—was that still a major interest of yours?

Art Wolfe: Oh, yes, it never ended. I was always hiking on weekends. I was part of a climbing community out here in Seattle and so the wilderness was always there. Every weekend we were out hiking and I was always taking pictures along the way. I never dreamed that I could make a living from those pictures. I just wanted to document our adventures, and eventually that became an addiction.

PhotoVideoEDU: Were you a serious mountain climber at the time?

Art Wolfe: Yes, I had climbed Mt. Rainier five or six times, as well as all the mountains, all the volcanoes, all the steep peaks of the Northwest. I got even more involved in the climbing world after college and eventually went on an Everest expedition. I also climbed Kilimanjaro. It was during that time that photography became the tail that wagged the dog. Photography became the reason for going on the trips, when initially it started out documenting trips that I was on. Now I was going on these trips expressly to take the photos. So there was a big turnaround at that point.

PhotoVideoEDU: Being part of Everest attempt must have been an amazing experience. What was it like to be climbing on the tallest mountain in the world?

Art Wolfe: It was a very exciting time. I was on the first team permitted into China after Nixon opened it up. We went on the route where they just recently discovered Sir Edmund Mallory’s body. It’s the northeast ridge and it’s the most difficult route on the mountain and it’s in Tibet. For three months we lived in Tibet. I had gone over there with no intention to climb to the summit, but I was the official expedition photographer. There were summit climbers that could take very good photos, however, so I wasn’t concerned with getting the summit pictures.

PhotoVideoEDU: How close to the summit did you get?

Art Wolfe:
I wound up going up to around 25,000 feet, which is quite high. The summit is 29,000-foot-plus and there were three more camps above the 25,000-foot level that I reached. It gets very slow going on that route because it’s a very technical climb and I was above where I should have been anyway. If you don’t have the hunger, the desire, burning deep inside somewhere, you wouldn’t ever want to go to the summit, and it wasn’t one of the things that motivated me. I was more motivated to go in and see Tibet, to see it before most people ever had a chance to. That trip was what also got me photographing indigenous cultures and really solidified my world-travel lust.

PhotoVideoEDU: In terms of a career, you really jumped right into the fire by getting a National Geographic assignment at a very early age. How did that happen?

Art Wolfe: At the time I was great friends with a guy who was dating the former secretary to one of the main editors at National Geographic. She kindly put in a call to this editor and said she knew a young photographer out in Seattle that would love to come to Washington and present his portfolio. The editor was Mary Smith and she was a highly respected editor who had worked with Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey. I showed her my portfolio and she sent me back home with an assignment to do a story on long-eared owls. Long-eared owls are a fairly secretive owl, and I had found a nesting pair and I went back and shot them for the magazine. That was in 1979 and I was 28 years old then—just a year and a half after college.

PhotoVideoEDU: Didn’t you think that was kind of a brazen thing for a young photographer to do—to fly down to National Geo with your portfolio right out of college?

Art Wolfe: Yes, it was, but you can’t think about these things too much—you just have to dive in and do it. I was very excited about the assignment, but I was also going through a very steep learning curve. I felt that I was the only one out there for a while who was doing this type of photography. I didn’t learn until later that there were others, like Frans Lanting and Galen Rowell, who were about the same age, who were doing the same thing.

PhotoVideoEDU: Did you end up shooting other assignments for National Geographic?

Yes, I did a story for them on trumpeter swans in 1984 and I did a book assignment for them in the Soviet Union and then I just stopped shooting for them. I never tried to pursue any other story ideas with them simply because I started getting more and more involved in books. I started my first book, which was called Baskets of the Northwest Coast, during the early 1980s, and once I started working on books, I was less intrigued by doing magazine assignments. I liked the way books portrayed the work.

PhotoVideoEDU: How have you managed to be so prolific in book publishing?

Art Wolfe: It’s just dog hard work. I work on five or six books at once and only once has a publisher come our way with an idea. The ideas have always originated from my coconut initially and then I find a writer to help further define them—and then find a publisher that is interested in doing it. You have to be aggressive in the marketplace and I’ve always taken the time to suggest the stories and, in recent years, build mock-ups to define the book’s idea clearly.

I also should say that most books that I do would drive any photographer bankrupt because they are not economically sound—they don’t pay the bills. But the stock generated from the book does. The books themselves rarely make money. I could spend an advance from a book on just one portion of the shooting that goes into a book.

People have the idea when they see a big splashy book that they are just gold mines, but the general rule is that the more elegant the book, the less money there is to be made. Guidebooks and educational books generally do much better. The big color books are being treated more and more like calendars, where book stores want to get rid of them by January 1.

As we progress as a company we’re going to take the nicer books and start to publish them ourselves and figure out a way of getting them to an audience which we still know exists out there. We’ll do it through the web, we’ll do it through direct mailing, and we’ll do it through public talks, and I intend to support the books far more than I’ve done in the past.

PhotoVideoEDU: Many people know you best as mainly a wildlife shooter but, in fact, you are also equally passionate about photographing landscapes and people. Do you have a subject preference?

Art Wolfe: No, I don’t. I have done two book on indigenous cultures and I often shoot urban landscapes—mostly historical locales and manmade subjects—and I find that equally exciting to shoot. I don’t really have a preference. I can switch from landscapes to wildlife and people depending on what I am focused on at the moment.

I have been shooting other subjects for a long, long time. I never pigeon-holed myself as a wildlife photographer. I was successful in positioning myself in nature photography early on, but I never looked at myself as exclusively doing that. I looked at myself as a fine art photographer and a generalist. A large part of that, for me, was that it was drilled into my head as an art major in college that you have to be open to all possibilities.

PhotoVideoEDU: Let’s talk about your work with wild animals. You’ve spent a lot of time with bears and big cats and other dangerous animals. Have you ever had a moment when you thought your life was in danger?

Art Wolfe: Yeah, earlier this year we were in Nepal and we nearly got attacked by a sloth bear—in fact, it attacked our guides, but they were able to fend it off. Only later did I find that sloth bears' behavior is much more aggressive than any bears you find in North America and they kill up to 300 people a year in India.

I had been photographing this female bear from a distance and we were following it respectfully with long lenses, but then she disappeared into the bushes with her two cubs. The cubs were nearly fully grown. I didn’t think she was really all that apprehensive or concerned, but the sloth bears’ behavior even on a good day is aggressive, and that I didn’t really understand that then—but I do now! It was a pretty startling moment. She came like a bat out of hell out of some dense brush and attacked us. Fortunately our guides knew that animals like this existed in this environment and were able to fight it back.

On that same trip, while in Africa, we had a fairly close encounter with a rhino. These are examples of not knowing behavior before you start photographing. Generally over the years I have a pretty good sense about what an animal is going to do, but when it’s in a completely new environment, and you don’t have that much time to study up, it can lead to serious problems. Fortunately, both times we came out of it unscathed, but we learned a lot from those attacks and it was a pretty humbling experience.

PhotoVideoEDU: In most cases you’re working quite a distance from the animals and using long lenses, aren’t you?

Art Wolfe: Yes, like most photographers we often work with long lenses and try not to interfere with an animal’s behavior; but on the other hand, with this new book that I’m shooting called The Living Wild, I’m trying to get as close as I can and use wide-angle lenses. The wide shots make a much bigger statement about the habitat the animal is in, while staying close enough with the wide-angle lens that the animal doesn’t disappear.

It’s a real challenge to shoot with both of those perspectives in one shot. The results are nice, and they’re going to be among my strongest work to date, but it’s still a lot more difficult to work that way. I would never have approached a sloth bear or rhino with a wide angle, but you can often use less powerful lenses with that same intent, where you’re still encompassing a bigger landscape with the animal still satisfyingly large in the frame.

PhotoVideoEDU: What is the secret to getting that close to animals?

Art Wolfe: I think a lot of it just not being afraid to be close, and also not intimidating the animal that you’re approaching. You have to learn not to have eye contact, to remain relaxed, to go low and slow and just watch the animal's behavior. I think a lot of it is the energy that you put out—if you act nervous and a little hyper, the animals are more likely to leave. If you remain very calm, very relaxed, the animals tend to pick up that energy and permit you to get a lot closer than most people would want to get.

The first time I ever tried to get really close to an animal was in a city park in Seattle and I found a saw-whet owl and it was so calm and relaxed that I was able to get within 28 inches of the owl and photograph it, and it’s a totally wild owl. It was amazing. I found it in a wooded ravine and I went back, got my cameras, and it was still there when I returned. So I just slowly got closer and closer. I didn’t look straight into its eyes, because that often intimidates an animal.

PhotoVideoEDU: What is it like to get that close to such a dangerous animal—is it hard to set the fear aside entirely?

Art Wolfe:
You’re never absolutely 100%t confident with wild animals, but for the most part you look at the odds of what can happen and you weigh the risks. In the case of bears that can easily kill you, you watch their behavior and you go statistically with whether there has been a history of attacks in a given area. Most bears, for instance, are concerned with filling their stomachs with salmon or berries—people are not part of their natural diet, so you have that in your favor. As long as you don’t surprise them or get in between the mother and the cubs, you’re reasonably safe. With wolves, the other big predator in North America, again, we’re not part of their system and so they shy away from you. That is also true of cougars, although in recent years as people have begun building track housing in their habitat, there are more and more encounters.

As long as you know what you’re doing and you approach animals slowly and openly, so that they know that you’re there and you’re not surprising them, you have a much better chance at staying safe and getting close. A lot of people think you have to sneak up on an animal, but with a predator I think that’s a very bad idea, especially with bears because they have very bad eyesight and their reaction generally is to charge what they don’t understand. In areas where they are accustomed to people, like the McNeil River in Alaska, if they hear you and see you from afar, they keep you in mind, but they generally allow you to get very close—you’re not really a threat to them.

PhotoVideoEDU: There have always been wildlife photographers who are also hunters. Does that seem like a strange combination to you?

Art Wolfe: It is an odd thing and I’ve never understood it. I’ve never hunted and I’ve never owned a gun and I never intend to. Where I criticize the hunting community is really in the trophy hunting area and in the killing of predators. If they legitimately want to put some meat on the table, I still don’t like it because those people can obviously drive down in their Land Cruisers to the store and buy a hunk of meat if they want it. And that’s always been their argument—that this is subsistence hunting. But that’s been going on for a long time. It’s the killing of predators that I find that grotesque. I find it really abominable.

And that is still happening in a big way. I always thought that there is so much negativity born out of this whole issue that it’s just been a dying occupation, but I’ll guarantee you that more and more fairly wealthy people go on safari to hunt and it’s a big business. I have no idea what motivates someone to go shoot an animal to get a trophy for the wall. What does that say about them?

PhotoVideoEDU: Let’s talk about your landscape work a bit. What is it you’re looking for when you’re taking landscapes?

Art Wolfe:
What I look for in landscapes are those rare moments when the light and the elements of the landscapes come together in a very pleasing way. You can’t have a good landscape without one or the other. You can’t have great light and nothing to shoot. I’ve seen that too often and it just falls flat. You also can’t have a great mountain range in very blah lighting and expect it to do very well either.

It has to be a combination of the two and it doesn’t happen very often, but since I travel so much, opportunities do present themselves occasionally. I would work on a book for 10 years before I bring it out. What happens a lot of the time is that photographers are so anxious to do a book that they get signed by a publisher and then they have like a year and a half to do it. Of course they have 10 good shots along with a lot of filler photos.

PhotoVideoEDU: What is a typical shooting day like for you? Are you shooting all the time or do you have certain hours you like to work?

Art Wolfe:
If it’s a sunny day, if it’s just a cloudless day, we’ll shoot early in the morning and then after the sun is high and the light is flat, we’ll use that part of the day to scout locations for the sunsets. We won’t shoot at all from about 9 a.m. until around 4 p.m.; all that time is spent relocating and sometimes traveling a great distance.

In the southwest of the United States, for example, we often cover 300 or 400 miles just to be at the right location late in the day. Most of the time, though, we’ll travel 50 or 100 miles during the day. If it’s a cloudy day, however, we shoot all day long. We change our subjects from grand landscapes or vistas to more intimate details, but we just keep shooting.

PhotoVideoEDU: How much do you travel in a year and what is the lifestyle like?

Art Wolfe:
The lifestyle is very neurotic and there is never time to have much of a personal life. It’s a much, much faster-paced lifestyle than most people would ever really want to experience and I’m not sure anyone would want to spend a year doing what I do. A lot of people think, on a very superficial level, that this is as glamorous as it gets and they’d love traveling to the Arctic or the Amazon with me. That would be fine for the first four days; after three weeks it gets a lot less romantic.

The fact of the matter is that it’s a lot of work and there is much more of a commitment required than most people realize. I work seven days a week and I travel an average of nine months a year in a normal year, but now I’m traveling more like 10 months of the year because I’m trying to finish this book I’m working on.

PhotoVideoEDU: What is the hardest part about being on the road all the time?

Art Wolfe:
Wanting to just stop and rest. A lot of times for the first few seconds when you wake up you have no idea where you are and once you realize you’re in the mountains of western Mongolia, all you can think of is how nice it would be to wake up in your own bed and walk downstairs to breakfast.

There is nothing at your disposal when you’re traveling. All the creature comforts you’re so used to at home are gone; you can’t get in the car and go to the corner store. When you travel, everything is an obstacle you’ve got to surmount, and that gets old after awhile. Even food is a challenge—a lot of times we’re using freeze-dried foods out of necessity. You keep thinking about how long it’s going to be until you get home again.

PhotoVideoEDU: But on the positive side of this, there must be moments when you see things that no other humans will ever see. You are often the only witness to natural miracles.

Art Wolfe:
That happens on almost every trip. Otherwise, we just wouldn’t go through what we go through. And yes, those are the rewards; those are the reasons that we travel as much as we do. When the lighting is spectacular or when the animals are behaving as you only dream they will, you have your reward. Knowing that those pictures will ultimately wind up in a very nice book and be shared with people all over the world, that is immensely rewarding. That is the carrot at the end of the stick that I use to keep pushing myself onward. It’s not the individual trips as much as the overall projects.

PhotoVideoEDU: Do you have a favorite book in all the books you’ve done?

Art Wolfe:
I love Light on the Land. It’s such a personalized book. But I think I’m going to like the book I’m working on now a lot because it’s forcing me into new directions. Certainly it’s putting me into new situations that I would not have been in had I not chosen to do the book. I would never have spent $30,000 for the chance of seeing a panda. I couldn’t have afforded to do that, but when it’s part of a book, there’s a reason for doing just that. It’s gotten me into places I would normally have never gone, and I’m happy about that because life is short.

The way that we’re photographing this book, using very wide compositions, is different than the way we’ve photographed all the books we’ve shot in the past. Also, the fact that we’re publishing the book ourselves will make new alliances that we normally wouldn’t have made. So it will help the rest of the business whether we’re book publishing or not. We become much better, smarter business people as a result of attempting this book. And we will be successful in doing that.

PhotoVideoEDU: Are there times when you put a lot of time and energy into a major trip and fail photographically?

Art Wolfe: Oh, sure. I just got back from Mongolia looking for snow leopards and I came home with some pretty nice landscapes and some other wildlife, but I never had a chance to see or photograph a snow leopard. I spent around $10,000 on that trip and got nothing. I’ll have to go back in November to try to get those pictures. I’m pretty tenacious; I’ve already been there twice and I’ll go back one more time for this book to try and get a shot of a wild snow leopard.

You’ve also had at least one disastrous experience that would really have crushed most photographers: All of your cameras and all of your exposed film was stolen after a major trip. What was that experience like?

It was the second worst thing in my life next to my mom’s stroke. I’ll never get over that and, in fact, there is so much anger still there—it was such a needless thing. I could get over the loss of the equipment in a heartbeat. I’m not emotionally attached to any object like that, but the film meant everything to me.

There was so much film. It wasn’t like missing 20 rolls. I lost 600 rolls of exposed film, and 600 rolls is a tremendous amount to lose, especially the way that I work. I put so much effort into my shooting. I’m almost like a rangy coyote at the end of a trip. I don’t eat well, I don’t sleep well, I just work my ass off. And then to have some dark cloud come into your life and take that all away the day before you’re going to have that film processed, it is so unacceptable to me—at least give me the satisfaction to see the work.

There were shots, quite honestly, that would have helped define my career. I had some extraordinary light and weather—things that I’ve never seen before or since. I photographed a double rainbow over Monument Valley for the first time in my life and I shot it with a panoramic camera; I knew that that shot would be a very famous image. It would have been published everywhere. It turned out thrown away in some wooded ravine to rot, and I’m sure of that as well.

PhotoVideoEDU: What geographical areas did you cover in that trip?

Art Wolfe: It started in Denver and we drove and worked the whole West—which I haven’t done in many, many years. Most of my trips are to Africa and places like that, so we really put a concerted effort to work the West with large format. It was in May and we got up at four in the morning every morning because in May light comes up around 5:30 a.m. We wanted to be in the right place at the right time every time. Often I’d stay up all night long shooting star trails. We played around and we did a lot of experimental work, and it was a very long 30 days. And it was the second to the last day of the trip where we got ripped off.

PhotoVideoEDU: You must have been in a state of shock.

Art Wolfe: We were absolutely devastated—annihilated is the word. I was in stunned silence. I didn’t know what to do. It took us an hour just to comprehend that we needed to file a police report. The police just treated it like another car break in until four days later when we informed them from Seattle that the quantity and the value of the film was somewhere around 2.5 million dollars. They just didn’t have a clue initially, nor were they interested until they heard that figure. That number was based on the images that were probably in the take and the estimated sales figures.

Then the police said, "Well why didn’t you have us come out and fingerprint the car?" And I told them, "We tried everything to get you guys out there and you insisted that we drive the car to the precinct." It’s an ugly story.

PhotoVideoEDU: You have a unique perspective on the environment because you spend so much time in the wilderness. What do you think about the state of the global environment today?

Art Wolfe:
The environment is definitely dwindling; there is no question about that. We have an expanding population worldwide, but I don’t want the book I’m working on right now to be a doom book. I don’t it to be a requiem for wilderness. So we’re looking at gray whales, humpback whales, and bald eagles and California condors—and the first three of those animals have come back and they are back in very safe numbers because people interfered and figured out what was happening and what was going wrong. Nature is resilient.

In the mid-1980s, experts were saying that by the year 1990 there would be no Bengal tigers left in the wild, and we went on a trip a couple of months ago throughout India and we were in parks where there were cubs and more tigers than there had been in the last 10 years. The government of India started realizing that Bengal tigers represent huge revenue in the tourist trade; they’ve really made a concerted effort to stop poaching.

The point is that there are still a lot of natural areas out there, and we now have to look at what is necessary to preserve entire ecosystems. A lot of things are happening in a positive way. On the other hand it’s inevitable for man to keep building, which I think is too bad because in forward-thinking cities, they are building strong core cities and leaving as much greenery on the outskirts as possible. This is why Europe, for example, still looks pretty much like Europe has for such a long time. You can drive through a lot of cities in Italy and France and the outskirts of the cities look pretty much as they did 100 years ago. We can learn a lot from that.

It’s not all doom and gloom. There is a lot of room for improvement, a lot of different ways to use technology. I think if the new generation really addresses these problems we’ll see the grizzly bears roaming just as they always have 100 years from now.

PhotoVideoEDU: Will tourism replace the growth or lack of industry in a lot of these places?

Art Wolfe: I hope so. As we’re talking I’m looking out my window at Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula—areas that could be a prime example of where a tourist economy would replace the logging economy and preserve the habitat. Then the people that rely on the logging industry for their livelihoods could be part of a stronger tourism economy.

: Do you have any advice to young photographers?

Art Wolfe:
I think that today learning computer skills is very important for the future. Technology will be driving this business more and more. But also, I think it’s important to get an understanding of art, so whether or not they think that they can draw or paint, I still think it’s great to have that formal training. One way or the other, it still comes down to the quality of the image; whether it’s computer generated or traditional, the success of an image depends on whether the composition works, the nuances of light are interesting—all the things that art directors look at. The other thing is that it’s a much bigger world out there and a lot more people are taking pictures, so it’s much more competitive. You have to go into the business with your eyes wide open.

The most important thing to remember is that just making money from your work does not validate whether you’re a good photographer or not. I don’t know why people feel like they have to sell their work to be happy as photographers. A lot of people who earn their living at something else feel that they have to sell their photographs to be successful. I don’t know why that’s so necessary. You should be happy with the quality of the work that you’re doing and keep pushing yourself forward. That should be their primary concern. Of course, I am exactly what I’m criticizing: I love to have my work published and have people look at it and say nice things. So I understand that. But on the other hand I need to do that because that’s where all of my income comes from. I have always been drawn towards the smells of the seasonal changes, the discovery of what’s out there, and my entire life I have just kept pushing the boundaries of that lifestyle.

Interviews and Profiles

Featured photographer: Art Wolfe

Back to list

to top

New to PhotoVideoEdu? SignUp now to see EDU discounts!

Log In
With Social Account
You can use your social services accounts to login to our system, but if you're logging in the first time please select if you are a



With E-mail