Interview: Art Wolfe
Over the course of his 30-year career, photographer Art Wolfe has worked on every continent and in hundreds of locations. His stunning images interpret and record the world’s fast-disappearing wildlife, landscapes and native cultures, and are a lasting inspiration to those who seek to preserve them all. Wolfe’s photographs are recognized throughout the world for their mastery of color, composition and perspective.
Wolfe spends nearly nine months a year traveling, carefully researching the locations as well as pre-visualizing the photographs he wants to take. He is a member of Canon’s elite list of renowned photographers “Explorers of Light”, Microsoft’s Icons of Imaging and Fujifilm’s Talent Team.
Wolfe has taken an estimated one million images in his lifetime and has released over sixty books, including the award-winning Vanishing Act, The Art of Photographing Nature and Edge of the Earth, Corner of the Sky, which captured significant publishing awards, including IPPY (Independent Publishers), Benjamin Franklin (Publishers Marketing Association), and National Outdoor Book Award.
1.What makes a good photo for you?
I like to be surprised. That happens when there are no distractions or extraneous elements in the frame, the light is perfect for the subject, and some aspect makes me look at the subject in a new way.
2.What do you not like in photography at all?
Lack of imagination. I always want to push something new in my photography, be it a new perspective or technique or approach to a subject. I go through phases when I concentrate on extreme close ups, or blurs, or abstracts. I am bored by even the most beautiful postcard shot, and I am amazed that people want to know exactly where I took a shot so they can replicate it. They might as well photocopy the print.
3.Which book helped you most in the development of your photography?
I was influenced by the work of Ernest Haas.
4.Which internetlink would you advice other photographers?
Would it be self-serving to say www.artwolfe.com? Yes. So, I would recommend http://www.luminous-landscape.com and http://www.aphotoeditor.com for technical, inspirational, and business-related content.
5.How would you describe your photographic style? What is characteristic
about your photos?
I don’t really have one style. I keep evolving. I am trained as a painter so I am sensitive to color relationships and the elements of design. I strive for simplicity and to consciously move the viewers eye.
6.What was your most intense photographic experience?
A few years ago I was charged by an angry mother rhinoceros in Nepal. She chased me around a tree for ten minutes. That was intense.
7.What is your favourite tool/equipment when you are taking photos?
I am indifferent to equipment. I look for something solid that can put up with the rigors of constant travel in a range of harsh environments. I don’t use many features.
8.Who is your favourite photographer/ your photographic idol?
9.What is in your fridge at the moment?
Milk for my café lattes.
10.What is your favourite music/ your favourite musician?
I am fond of U2, especially The Joshua Tree. I am an 80s kind of guy.
11.What advice would you give to an ambitious photographer?
Don’t compromise on your art. Always try to improve, and don’t be shy about promoting yourself once you are able to realize your vision. Most of success comes from just working really hard.
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