Photographer Greg Maguire – Hook & Nail Gallery Event


Greg Maguire is a Portland-based photographer who is participating in Livestock’s upcoming Hook & Nail gallery event. We sat down with Greg to discuss his approach to photography, and what makes the Northwest such a great place to shoot.

 

1) Not being from Portland originally, what is it about the Pacific Northwest that stands out to you as a photographer?

I grew up in Boulder, Colorado which is an incredible place known for its natural beauty. After years of living in central USA, I wanted something other than the high-desert landscape I was familiar with. I had always been partial to the PNW and its innumerable waterfalls, Douglas Fir-filled mountains, heavy-misted mornings, the list goes on. There’s so much to appreciate here- it’s honestly just soaked in majesty and primed for photography.

2) You also shoot a lot of cityscapes. What do you look for in an urban environment?

I find that there’s just as much beauty hiding in the man-made world as there is in the natural world. When shooting cityscapes I look for pattern, specifically from architectural structures. I enjoy capturing how we interact with these man-made items, but I think the pattern (or my often-used “mirror effect” using reflective surfaces like glass or water) is particularly important to me for aesthetic reasons. I’m definitely a sucker for a puddle.

3) Is there a season or a time of day that makes for the best photographs?

Any time is a good time to shoot, it just depends on what the photographer is aiming for. I’m partial to waking up about an hour before sunrise to catch the light right when it hits the horizon. Light feels crisper, cooler, and cleaner early in the morning and I really like the high-contrast that comes from horizontal, direct light. Another benefit to this is hopping around empty streets with my camera, unbothered while the city sleeps. Summer months are great, due to there being more light in any given day, though there’s something to be said for late fall and winter shooting (I’m rather fond of a nice fog-filled scene or a snowy landscape). There’s always a moment to capture, no matter the time or season.

4) Serendipity or careful planning?

A nice mixture of the two, I’d say. Photography takes dedication and patience. I like to plan the location, with an idea of what might come from it, but I usually walk away with something entirely unexpected. I think most photographers suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) and have thoughts like “Ah darn, I should’ve picked a different location” or “that sunset would be prettier if I were on a roof right now.” I think it’s important to try and appreciate what’s right in front of you, at that moment, and make the most of it. Some of my favorite shots are those I happened to stumble upon, without any planning. That’s why it’s a good idea to always be prepared with a camera at your disposal.

5) What’s something new you’ve learned about photography this year?

There’s always something new to master in the world of photography. This past year I’ve been learning how to shoot the night sky, which is something that takes very careful planning. Watching weather patterns, toting the right body and lenses, and carefully selecting a location are just a few items to consider. It’s also wise to utilize applications that show you where the brightest section of the milky way galaxy rests and which months are best for viewing. Sky Guide seems to do the trick for me, but there are plenty of options out there. That’s where I rest as a student now, but we’ll see where it goes!

To learn more about Livestock’s Hook & Nail event, click here.