Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Interview with Joel Robison

So many dreamers, creatives and nature lovers out there love the work of Joel Robison, he creates his own wonderland that's filled with beautiful sights, books, coffee and floating objects! 

Joel had an eventful year full of travels, beautiful creations and the company of other creatives, 

want to learn more...? keep reading 

How can you describe this year so far?Wow! This year has been absolutely and literally a whirlwind of a year! I started the year in Vietnam in the midst of my 9 month tour with Coca-Cola and FIFA. I spent the next four months of the year traveling to about 30 more countries across Asia, South America and Europe. It was an amazing opportunity to work with two wonderful companies and get a chance to see the world and photograph the beauty that exists in every corner of this planet and meet inspiring people along the way. After that I took a short break at home in British Columbia before heading down to Brazil to be a part of the FIFA World Cup and then to Peru for a great holiday. Then I moved out of my house, got rid of most of my possessions and set out on my 4 month long workshop tour across North America with my best friends!

You've met with a lot of creatives early on this year, is there anyone you're longing  to meet?I've been so fortunate to have met so many amazing and creative people, especially this year! I still have a few that I would love to meet and work with one day and I have plans to do so! I'm a big fan of Robert Cornelius and his incredible processing, I'll be meeting him next month in New York. I'd still love to meet the 'greats' like Tim Walker and Annie Liebowitz of course!

 You travel a lot and meet a lot of amazing talents, are there new names in your list of favorite photographers?I think my favourite part of being a part of this community of photographers is that it is constantly growing and people are being welcomed into it. A few of my new favourite photographers are James Mille, Matt Lineker, Vincent Minor, Josh Cloud and Leah Flores

Lately, you're not taking as many self portraits as you did before, do you find yourself better behind the camera or in front of it? I think I enjoy both, I find a certain peace and therapy in taking self portraits but I also enjoy telling stories using a variety of people. I think I've really enjoyed both the self portrait and the "other people" portrait sides of photography, it's hard to say which I like more. I certainly enjoy taking photos over being in front of the camera but I see the value in telling my story using me as the figure. 

Who's your favorite person to photograph?
Hmmm...that's a good question! Just for fun photos I love photographing my nieces because they're always laughing and making me laugh. For photos I really enjoy photographing my friends, Lizzy Gadd and Kindra 
Timmerwilke are always beautiful and I love working with them. 

Travelling from place to another can be a bit challenging with gear, what are your essentials when you're travelling? (gear and personal items)I'm kind of a packrat so my backpack is constantly being rearranged and organized with random things I've picked up. For gear I recommend extra batteries! There's nothing worse than showing up at an amazing spot with no battery power left, and extra cards because you never know when they're going to just decide to stop working.

For personal gear I suggest a notebook to keep lists of great places, quotes or books that you might want to go back to. Starbucks VIA instant coffee packets have saved my life on many an occasion...haha, it's not the greatest coffee but when you need some it's easy and does the trick! Warm socks, a trinket from home to remind you of where you're from and something to give to people you meet. I carry around postcards, stickers and cards of my photos so that I can give  them to people I connect with.

You went to many different places this year, what's your favorite place? and what place do you wish to visit?  Out of the places I went to just this year, I'd have to say that it's a tie between Japan and Sweden. Japan's culture is just so fascinating and I really enjoyed spending time in both Tokyo and in the smaller towns of the north. The people there are so friendly and kind and I really enjoyed my time there. Sweden as well was just really welcoming and I felt "home" there, we visited Kiruna in the north and it gave me a feeling of being home.

I would love to visit Norway soon, my family moved to Canada from there in the early 1900's and I've always wanted to explore the beautiful landscape and history of the country, I'm hoping to visit it later this year actually! 

Do you remember your first flickr meet up? tell us about it.
I do! We talk about it often among the people that were there. It was two years ago and was hosted by Ethan Coverstone in Indiana. Most of us had never met each other in person and I think we were all nervous about spending a week with people we had only known through the internet but I think it was the turning point in a lot of ways for people. We all got along so well, the energy was so positive and creative and it was a week that started as relative strangers but ended with the best friends I could have asked for. It was filled with laughter, photographs and memories that we still talk about.

 Your photographs inspired so many aspiring photographers out there to think outside the box and be more creative, however some photographers copied your work exactly how it is, how do you feel when you see someone "stealing your ideas"?It's kind of a combination of feelings, at first I feel a bit frustrated that people take an idea and post it as their own, often getting complimented on their creativity. I started seeing it though as a compliment because in an indirect way I'm teaching and helping that person develop their photography. I think it's always good to credit someone even if you are inspired by their work or style just so they feel respected as an artist.

Would you kindly share a before and after Sure! Here's a before and after of a concept I shot for a workshop in Ann Arbor. It shows how easy it can be to take two simple photos and turn it into something a bit magical!

You're clearly a book person, what's the best book you read lately?I do love reading, most of my reading is done while traveling now. A friend of mine, Leah Flores, gave me a book after we stayed with her in Portland and it's called
"The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin' Sad". It's a sort of guidebook on how to leave a lighter, more positive life and to move on from anything that might be bringing you down. It's an easy read, I think I read it in about 20 minutes but it's filled with great messages and funny stories and it's one I recommend! 

Tell us about "The wild ones photography tour" The Wild Ones Workshop Tour is an annual photography workshop tour that was started last year by myself, Sarah Ann Loreth and Shane Black. We are three best friends who love to travel and wanted to take a road trip and help give back to the photography community that supported us so we decided to teach low-cost workshops. Last year we traveled about about 8,000 miles and taught 10 workshops and it was amazing. This year we've already traveled almost 10,000 miles and taught 10 workshops to almost 200 students and it's been an incredible chance to see the USA and Canada and also to teach aspiring photographers how to tell and create stories in their work.

We are a non-profit organization so all of the money from our sponsors and students goes back into funding the tour and giving back as much as we can!

Can you share a little story from the tour ( I'm sure so many awesome things happen)Haha...we do have a lot of fun stories, traveling with your friends is always an entertaining and inspiring thing to do. One day we had gone on a short hike in Glacier National Park in Montana to watch the sunset, as we approached the top of the hike we found a herd of wild Mountain Goats who weren't bothered  by us being there. Eventually Sarah and I ended up getting trapped by a few of them because every way out of the trail was blocked by a goat! It was a bit scary but also really funny at the same time and we tried to make the most of it :)

If you can take any photographer you want on a "wild ones tour" who would it be?Oh wow! That's a hard question! I think it's always great to bring a variety of photographers on a tour like this, to see the trip and the world in different ways. I would love to bring Lizzy Gadd or Whitney Justesen with us, they have such a beautiful view of the world, bring a positive energy and take beautiful photos!

Is there anything new you're working on?I have a few projects under way, one is top secret for now but it should be really exciting when it's done! I started a series based around depression. It was inspired by a combination of my own struggles with depression and the passing of Robin Williams, I saw a need for people to feel like they were being heard and I though it would be therapeutic to share my own story and hopefully help someone else through the photos. The feedback from people has been powerful and I'm proud of the project so far.

Do you recommend any websites for photoshop/ photography tutorials? I absolutely recommend Phlearn  Not only are the people behind the website some of the most genuine and talented people, they really spend a lot of energy making amazing tutorials for people of all skill levels. They believe in other photographers and really want to grow a talented community of artists. 

A word of advice to young aspiring photographers.

Tell your story. You have a view, a story, a life that is different than everyone else and that's what sets you apart. Take those things and use them to tell your story through your work.

Find Joel at: Flickr -- Blog -- Twitter -- Facebook -- The wild ones -- 

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Håvard Hole and Liisa Harmson Interview

 Håvard and Liisa are a  young talented couple that share a passion for photography. they create beautiful work individually but their photo collaborations are breathtaking! 
in this interview you will see the world through their eyes while looking at their beautiful pictures! 

- So Håvard, what have you been up to all this time?

Since the last interview which was in, 2012? I think it was 2012. Anyway, since then I’ve found the perfect life partner for me, I've gone through another 365(!), I’ve finished Upper Secondary School, got admitted to university and moved to Tallinn to live with Liisa, who’s my better half.

- There has been a major change in your portfolio, it's more diverse now, what drove you to change?
I myself drove it to that change. When photographing I’ve constantly developed and tried to find my own style that I’m pleased with and enjoy creating. And together with Liisa my development within photography got a boost!

- There are fashion images too ...

I wouldn’t characterize any of my photographs as fashion photos, but certainly, some of my photographs are heavily inspired by Liisa and her work, which in my opinion is fashion with an original twist.

- Nature has always played a big roll in your photographs, would you say you are not an indoor/ studio kind of guy?

Nature is wonderful and serene, and natural light can be soft and beautiful if handled correctly. I do indeed prefer to shoot outdoors vs indoors. I find the locations and scenery you can find yourself in outside a lot more stunning and intriguing than a white backdrop.

- Have you ever doubted yourself as a photographer? How do you deal with such over whelming emotions?
Many times. As with everything else, my brain can find reason to doubt myself also when it comes to photography. However, during the past year I have grown a lot as a person and learned new things about myself and how I work. This has given me confidence to not doubt myself as much as I did before. I take a deep breath and stop thinking so the bits and pieces that are flying all around my head fall in place. Sometimes it helps to just let it go and calm down. Other times I rant to Liisa and after that it’s fine, haha.

(photo is directly relevant to this question and it’s called “The Best of Me” with a full description on flickr)

- What would you do if you weren't doing photography?
Right now, I’m actually studying International Business Administration. I don’t find the financial part of the studies very appealing, however, I do love entrepreneurship, management and marketing and I’m very fascinated by those subjects. I would chase any of those fields or start my own business.

- Having a beautiful and talented girlfriend must come in handy when you run out of ideas or have no one to shoot with, what kind of effect did liisa have on your work? 

Haha, yes, it’s very handy. She has had a huge impact on my work. Constantly having someone that gives me good feedback about my photography and helps me evolve and find my own path is something I’m truly grateful for. She’s fantastic and supportive and I appreciate her more than anything. When we first met she made my development rocket into the sky compared to the developing curve I had before, and even now she helps me reach new levels every time I take a photo. 

- Have you ever been recognized in public? How did you react? 

Actually, and quite surprisingly for me, I have, on multiple occasions! One I remember well was when a girl came over to me and asked if I was Håvard Hole. It was in a garden center and she worked there. We came into talk about photography after she came over and asked me if I was me and told me that she had followed my work. It surprised me that someone actually recognized me and I was truly amazed that she came over to talk to me.

- Which recent photograph was the hardest to create?

This one was definitely hard to get the way I had imagined it before shooting:

Questions to the couple, 

- How did you guys meet? 
Håvard flew to Estonia for two days to take photos with me, but it ended up quite differently – we fell in love. He also missed his plane, so we got some extra time together – it was essential to put a start to later events that led us where we are now. Thank you, Estonian Air! (and thank you, blue-eyed bus driver, for not letting us out of the bus on our way to the airport and therefore making Håvard miss the plane).

- How have you affected the style and approach of one another?
Liisa has affected my style heavily, especially considering my colour-work and skin editing in portraits. Even before we met she guided me on how to see which colours would suit my photographs better. She has helped me out a lot and I wouldn’t be at the level I am today without her. She was actually the one to reveal to me the technique of expanding a photo! However, I haven’t affected Liisa’s style much, or in any way at all, but I have helped her with technical aspects of editing and I know her editing process is a lot more professional now than it was before.

- What is your favourite photo you created together?

- Which photo of each other's work do you like the most?


- You have a travel blog together; tell us about that, who's idea was it?

It was Liisa’s idea to make it. It was made after a trip to Switzerland mainly because, and I quote Liisa, «I had many cute photos of mountain sheep to share with the world!» :)

Liisa, what type of photography do you enjoy the most? 
A mix of fashion and conceptual photography would be my pick, I guess! 

- How did you find your passion for fashion photography? 
About 2 years ago I came to the conclusion that I needed to specialize in something if I wanted to become a professional photographer, so I weighed my options and decided to go for fashion photography, adding my own twist to it (I’m not too big of a fan of traditional fashion photos). I really like fashion, but I dislike many aspects of the fashion industry. There are too many conceited people out there who walk over everyone that’s in their way and who have forgotten where they came from. There’s so much incivility, inhumanness and apathy. Honestly, based on my experience, I think I might be too ‘soft’ for the world of fashion. I don’t like the way people treat each other, and I don’t approve of the standards they set for the models – it’s sad to see such young and beautiful girls being mistreated. Starving yourself to be accepted by the industry is not okay. It’s about time the world started appreciating healthy and fit women instead of walking skeletons. How did skinny ever trump fit and healthy? With that being said, I am too upset with the industry to continue trying to make my way to the top as a fashion photographer. So, as of now, I do not shoot models or work with designers. Maybe I’ll have a change of heart in the future, or maybe I’ll find a way to do it in a way that doesn't compromise my beliefs.

- What type of photography do you find challenging? 
Perhaps shooting in a studio! I’ve never worked with artificial lighting before and I’m sure it would be a challenge.

- What is your favourite part about creating a photo? 
Probably the preparation process. I love seeing how my ideas are slowly coming to life. It’s so much fun to create props and organize everything before the shoot! I also enjoy the editing part a lot!

- What would you be doing if you weren't doing photography? 
Honestly? No clue. I can’t imagine doing anything else but photography. I am currently studying psychology, but I can’t see myself working as a psychologist. I’m there solely for educating myself and obtaining useful knowledge for my photography business.

You play around a lot with face/ body paint and make up, would you say you develop make up skills for photography?
Oh, definitely! Half of the time I have no idea what I’m doing, but by some miracle it ends up looking rather cool!

- How important are props to you? 
I have many ideas that require the usage of certain props, but unfortunately I rarely manage to execute those ideas. Props are damn costly! However, they can add a lot to the photo. Right now I’m dreaming about a certain antique helmet I saw in an antique shop last summer. It’s very pricy and the thought of buying it for just one photo makes my heart hurt, but I can’t stop thinking about shooting with it either. Oh well, I guess I can suffer some more.

- Nature plays a huge roll in your conceptual work, do you prefer taking photos outdoors? 
I do love taking photos outside. Misty mornings are my absolute favourite! I get so inspired every time I see a foggy field or forest.

- Did nature ever make things difficult for you ( weather conditions/ lighting wasn't so great)
Oh yes! Shooting in a foggy morning is always very nerve-wracking, since the fog can disappear very fast and there’s not much time to get the perfect photo. It’s also intense to shoot in the cold – must get the photo before your fingers freeze and get numb!

- Would you consider modelling or acting in the future?
Haha, I’m afraid I lack the talent for both :)

Links for Håvard: 

Links for Liisa:

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Interview with Kevin Rossatty

Kevin Rossatty is a young talented photographer with a passion for self portraits and fine art, join me as I get to know him up close on this interview 

Introduce Yourself
Well, my name is Kevin Rossatty and I’m a self-taught photographer from Guatemala City. I’m 21 years old, and I’m studying graphic design at one the local universities here in Guatemala.

How long have you been doing photography?
I started taking pictures in 2011 when I got my first camera, and pretty much all my childhood I was always amazed by photography but never got a chance to take pictures with a decent SLR.

What type of camera do you use?
I use a Canon 6D, which I got around March this year, and my first camera is a Canon XSi, in which I learned pretty much everything of what I know today. I also got two film cameras (a canon AE and a Canonet QL17).

What is your ideal camera?
I’ve always craved a Nikon F or any camera in which you can achieve a natural tilt-shift effect.

It seems like most of your photos are taken outdoors, do you believe nature plays a big role in your style?
Yes. I’ve done some pictures indoors, but I love how much you can do with nature and the human figure. I’d like to do studio shots once I get the right equipment to achieve decent images.

Your photographs look like beautiful paintings, was it a lucky coincidence or are you inspired by paintings?

My initial inspiration got from my favorite photographer, which tends to give his pictures a painting style, but I think I haven’t reached the style I want to achieve in my pictures.. It’s still a work in progress. 

I get often inspired by paintings and lately Greek mythology has become one of my biggest inspirations.

Do you sometimes feel underrated as a photographer? You don’t think you have the support that you deserve by other members of the Flickr community?

Well, I actually don’t see myself as a popular or well-known photographer. I think I’m not at that stage yet. I’m still exploring my photography style. Still I think that with every time that passes more people are getting to know me, which is nice. But I don’t make art for everyone to notice me, I do it because I like to photograph and create something, if anyone finds it beautiful it gives me a really great feeling, but I don’t look for the public’s praise. 

I’ve got to admit that I don’t use Flickr as much as I use DeviantART, I feel that more people get to see my work there.. I’m not sure if I deserve more support, I guess I must earn it like everybody else has.

Do you prefer self-portraits or working with models?
I absolutely love self-portraits. I feel that the picture gets more personal.. and I kind-of always wanted to be a model, so it’s like a guilty pleasure.

Walk us through your creative process (from coming up with the idea until it’s fully executed).
I dare to reveal that my best pictures are improvised.. But in most cases I begin by looking up for locations. Since I love to work with nature, finding the right spot is crucial. 

I only have made like 4 photoshoots since last year, 3 of them where improvised, and the “Tea Party” began with a basic sketch of how I wanted the cups to look, and the pose of the model. I also tend to write down my ideas in my computer’s stickies, because I have the worst memory ever, so I need to keep a record of everything that comes up in my mind. 

After the pictures are taken, I select the first batch that will go trough the post-processing progress, and I select a few outtakes that will be released months after the main pictures are done. 

What type of photography do you find challenging?
Conceptual photography. I always struggle with finding the right props and making the right editing to the pictures to get nice conceptual pictures. I admire conceptual photographers which mix their fine-art style in them. I’ve only done one nice conceptual picture which is Skinny Love, and to achieve it I got lots of help from two of my best friends, besides from that I think that I’ve only done fine-art portraits.

Who do you look up as a photographer?
I have two favorite photographers, one who I look up because of his amazing talent as a fine-art photographer: Robby Cavannaugh, and the other one because of his amazing and outstanding style: Marwane Pallas

Describe your favorite image taken by you.
Oh-well.. I still haven’t taken the picture of my dreams, but so far my favorite picture is the first picture released from my “Found” photoshoot.This picture means a lot because it was the first picture I knew I was going to edit when we finished shooting, and was the first picture that gave me a more defined style. Also, this was my first pictured that made it to my Vogue Italia portfolio (after I sent nearly all my old pictures), this was the one who basically “made me”.
Describe your favourite photograph taken by another photographer.
I recently discovered a photographer at DeviantART,which has the most beautiful dark style. So I find this particular picture incredible, because of the color, the texture and the concept. I can feel the weakness of the subject without seeing much of him.

If you could be anything other than a photographer what would you be?
Definitely I’d love to be a high-fashion model, or a runway model.

What movie/play/book/music inspire you?
I love English bands, I often get very inspired by Depeche Mode, Muse, Friendly Fires, Bastille and The Killers.

What inspires you the most?
Watching other artists, and my inspiration comes from french photographer Marwane Pallas.

How can you describe your style?
Dark, and in the same way beautiful. I like to play with strong contrasts and shadows, but always leaving space to play with the light and bright colours.

Did your photography change you? Your vision? The way you see the world?
Pretty much. With every photoshoot I make I get to know myself a litter better, and to see myself more clearly. Because we photographers put a something of ourselves onto every picture.

If you had magical powers what kind of pictures would you be taking?
Hard to say, I think I’d like to fly, so I could get to different locations maybe?

What do you like to do other than photography? 
I like to sleep.. Seriously, and believe it or not, I always end up very tired after taking pictures.

How would people describe you?
Most people find me very shy, but I can be as outgoing as anyone with time.

Can you share a before and after?
Well, as you see I owe all my beauty to Photoshop.

Do you watch any photoshop tutorials, or read any books?
Actually I don’t. I’ve always done everything by trial and error. I’ve read a couple of blogs on how to use certain tools in photoshop, but most of the things I’ve learned are by accident and many attempts.

When you first started using photoshop, what was the most challenging thing for you to learn?
How to fix the light and contrasts.. and now I find it hard to make photo-manipulations, it’s something I admire from other photographers.

Find Kevin at : Flickr -- DeviantART -- 500px -- PhotoVogue  --  Facebook --  Ask.fm