Editorial photography has to be energetic and visually competitive.
The best lesson I was given is that all of life teaches, especially if we have that expectation.
There are grander and more sublime landscapes – to me. There are more compelling cultures. But what appeals to me about central Montana is that the combination of landscape and lifestyle is the most compelling I’ve seen on this earth. Small mountain ranges and open prairie, and different weather, different light, all within a 360-degree...
My parents, grandmother and brother were teachers. My mother taught Latin and French and was the school librarian. My father taught geography and a popular class called Family Living, the precursor to Sociology, which he eventually taught. My grandmother was a beloved one-room school teacher at Knob School, near Sonora in Larue County, Ky.
When I first went to ‘National Geographic,’ I thought I was the least qualified person to step through the doors. But because of my parents and the culture of continual learning they imposed on us, I later came to believe I was the most qualified person who ever worked there.
How the visual world appears is important to me. I’m always aware of the light. I’m always aware of what I would call the ‘deep composition.’ Photography in the field is a process of creation, of thought and technique. But ultimately, it’s an act of imaginatively seeing from within yourself.
My best work is often almost unconscious and occurs ahead of my ability to understand it.
‘Woman on the Plaza,’ with its distinct horizon, snow-like surfaces, wintry wall, stunning sunlight, sharp shadows, and hurrying figure, would become the most biographical of my photographs – an abstract image of the landscape and life of northern Ohio where I grew up and first practiced photography.
I was known as a 35-mm photographer with a view-camera mentality.
A mad, keen photographer needs to get out into the world and work and make mistakes.