Can you tell us about your interest in photography and why you have chosen it as a means of practice?
When I was in high school my brother gave me an Andre Kertesz book, "his life and his work," for my birthday. I had never seen anything like it. Since then, my perception of the world has never been the same. I quickly began documenting my life on the daily. Everything from my friends, to the random people I'd meet, and to the places I would go. It hasn't stopped since. A day without photography isn't much of a day, so being a photographer at this point in my life just makes sense.
What is the one thing you most enjoy about image-making?
I really enjoy the spontaneity. Some days I have no idea what I'll create, and other days I know exactly what I'll create. Life is full of surprises and it helps to keep me on my toes.
Images of snowboarding and street culture appear to be celebrated themes that appear throughout your body of work. What attracts you to these activities and phenomena?
I've always been a firm believer in doing what you love and it will love you back, and I think my images speak just that. Snowboarding has been a passion for most of my life, so choosing it as a focal point just seemed natural.
But even before I began photographing snowboarding, I was wandering cities with my camera, mostly Denver, documenting my journey along the way, and soon I became very fascinated with the raw interaction of human nature and its surroundings. These days, the majority of my snowboarding work takes place in urban settings and I feel have merged my two favourite subjects into one.
How would you define the role of photography within the broader context of contemporary culture?
I feel that as a society we depend on photography to help maintain balance and order everyday. From the newspapers we read on the daily, to the billboards you pass everyday in your car, to your hipstamtic apps on your phone, to checking your Facebook and twitter, to the traffic cameras in use at almost every intersection. Whether you realize it or not, photography effects the way we live our lives on a daily basis. But at the same time I think as a society we take the accessibility of photography for granted.
There is a significant portion of your portfolio devoted to polaroid image production. What is your interest here and how has it contributed to your growth as a photographer?
Photography is not just a job, it's self expression and it's what I love to do. With that being said, there is something about a polaroid that I find to be personally rewarding. I feel that Polaroids have contributed to my appreciation for seeing life how it really is, unedited, and about the moments.
Are there any new additions to your gear that you have been experimenting with lately?
I've always enjoyed shooting Polaroids and film, but in the last couple months I've become more obsessed than ever. I now carry a second backpack filled only with analog cameras. In it I carry a Polaroid Spectra, a classic Polaroid 600, a Polaroid Land Camera as well as a Canon AE-1 35mm camera. This bag has helped bring me back to my roots of photography.
It's very refreshing to pull this bag out and switch things up a bit on shoots. But I love my digital bag as well, in it contains a Canon 7D with a variety of lenses. Two Elinchrom Ranger light packs with three heads, along with a Nissin Speed light, accompanied by a bunch of Pocket Wizard's. This bag has been years in the making and I'm very pleased on where I am at with it.
What are some of the challenges of shooting off-set that you enjoy solving?
There's nothing like shooting snowboarding. There are so many variables that come into play while working in the winter; extreme cold, heavy moisture, dangerous roads and not to mention, avalanches. All of these come in to play throughout a season. Being prepared is a must and protecting yourself and your equipment are key.
One of the most common difficulties I face while working is gear malfunctions. There is nothing like working in zero degree weather at midnight while it's snowing, with hi winds and everybody is ready to go and your flashes won't fire. The only way to find a solution for this is to be prepared for the worst, which means learning from experience.
Have you experienced any memorable life lessons through photography that has changed the way you see the world around you?
I feel photography has helped me appreciate the little things in life, and enjoy the moments that go unnoticed everyday. Like when your walking down the street and everyone is passing you by consumed on their phones, you notice the way the light reflects and catches your eye and you stop to think, "that was such a beautiful moment," and no one noticed but you. Photography has helped me preserve moments like these and has allowed me to be more grateful for life.
In your opinion, where is photography moving in the future? How do you see your own practice evolving?
I've never been on top of the latest and greatest gear to come out. I'm usually a couple years behind on the advancements and I believe it's not what new gear you have that make's great images, but instead It's how you use your old gear that makes great images.
In the future, i see technology reaching heights that we never thought possible. So many megapixels, so many frames per second, it's going to be insane, but theres still a feel to shooting film, that technology will never be able to recreate. In the end those who practice film, will be the ones who hold the future of photography in their hands.
What life lessons would you like to leave for others?
In the words of Henri Cartier- Bresson "Photography has not changed since its origin except in its technical aspects, which for me are not important."
To me this means, a good image is a good image no matter the camera Don't get caught up in the technological hype, instead get caught up in the moment.