Posted on November 30, 2016 by Michael Malone
What originally sparked my interest in photography is just the urge to create and watch things tick. Growing up, skateboarding and snowboarding were huge parts of my life but I always found myself wanting to sit back, analyze, and watch others and would almost create little dream sequences in my head. After some nagging, my Mom bought me a camcorder and my Dad bought me a fisheye lens and I would put together little montage videos with my friends. I eventually merged my way full time into digital + film photography when I turned 20.
Living in a generation where everything is analyzed constantly through different social platforms I think there is an immense amount of pressure to try and be original. While I think it’s admirable to try and achieve that I believe it’s unrealistic in our field of adventure photography. If anything, I think we should be flattered if somebody has liked your work enough to re-create it in some way, shape, or form. Theres only so many ways you can shoot a waterfall, or a canoe, or a yellow jacket. Thats why I think it’s so awesome how a lot of young (and old) creatives are taking a shot at telling a story with their work. I think all of our personal and creative journeys are unique.
I love shooting by my cabin. It’s nice to wake up and drive a few hours around the Olympic Peninsula. Especially as it inches towards fall and winter the colors and mood are just absolutely insane. The landscapes so easily support the use of subjects and you can get such varying results based on where you are.
I think my biggest tip, which is the hardest to apply to myself, is to try and starve yourself creatively. It’s really easy at an early stage to get down on yourself. You see all of these awesome artists traveling the world and getting immense praise and sometimes you can feel like what you are creating doesn’t matter. However, if you try and focus on your own work while finding out what makes you tick artistically some really special things can happen. I do think it’s really healthy to be inspired by others but it can have the opposite effect if you get fixated on what others are creating. It’s one of my biggest battles as an artist, even writing this is a self-reminder.
Once you have something physical of another artist, it makes the moment and story so much more tangible. You can feel it in your hands and you can display it somewhere that takes up actual space. It’s a special and rewarding feeling that I recommend all photographers (and painters, illustrators, etc) do. It changes everything.