Archive: August 2012

Alyssa Banta ©

Alyssa Banta is a Ft.Worth based photographer who was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2001. She combines anthropology with photography to create her work of people and for people. ILTP had the pleasure of talking to her about photography and more deliciously, tacos.

How did you get your start in photography?
I went to graduate school at UT, and I was an assistant for a National Geographic photographer and his writer wife, and I really loved the idea of that kind of life, and so I sort of begged my way into an internship even though I didn’t really know how to use a camera or flash or anything. When I came back to Ft. Worth, I begged my way into working for Ft. Worth Weekly and The Dallas Morning News and the Star-Telegram. After I did that, I went to New York and met some editors and then started getting some work done here in Texas.

 I think part of the trick is to just ignore all the people that say that you can’t do it, and focus on the one little voice that says that you can do it

On your professional journey, what are some struggles you’ve had to overcome?
There have been more struggles than you could imagine, really. I think when you determine that you’re going to live a life in the arts, or when you just determine that you’re going to do it on your own terms, there are so many struggles you can’t imagine and I think part of the trick is to just ignore all the people that say that you can’t do it, and focus on the one little voice that says that you can do it.

So, struggles…people telling me I was crazy, people telling me that everyone wanted to be a photographer and why did I think I wanted to be and, “how could I be a photographer?” At some point, I moved to New York City thinking that I would switch work, and I go there and there’s like ten million photographers and I don’t get any work at all, and just a lot of people saying that I couldn’t do it and just me saying that I could do it. A lot of people try to talk you out of stuff, a lot of people want you to be average or normal, they’re like, “What are you talking about? What’s your job? You’re not going to have a job?” and so, it’s hard, people talk you out of it, and when you’re younger, your ideas are forming, it might be easier to listen to those voices, but you just got to ignore that. If you want to do something, you just have to go for it.

What was your best career decision? 
You know, I don’t have a single career decision. And that’s kind of a cop-out a little bit, but I think it’s just more of a career philosophy and that career philosophy has been to just take every chance I could. So if someone wants me to take a picture of their dog, which I had to do in Philadelphia, I would really treat that as a National Geographic assignment. If you do that, every door opens. That’s such a cliché, but all of the sudden, you meet people, more opportunities happen. All of the sudden, you find that you really love taking pictures of dogs, so that’s been the way that I sort of run my career, and my life in general. 

Who have been some of your influences and mentors?
I’ve got a really great friend from The Dallas Morning News who met me back in 1999, and he no longer works for them, but he’s still my very good friend, and he used to be a photo editor and when I begged him to have a job, he said, “Hell no! You’re going to have such a better job than working at the Dallas Morning News. You’re going to go places and do and be things, the Dallas Morning News is too small for you, you’re going to be bigger than that.” And that really helped me, because every time I feel I’m too far out on a ledge, he just pushes me further out on the ledge and says, “Go for it more!”

As far as photographers go, Eugene Richards, Mary Ellen Mark. And then an old school photographer – I like the classic guys – there’s a black photographer who worked out of Harlem named Ray Decarva and he shot black people in black doorways at night and it’s like black on black on black, and it is so exquisite the way he uses dark to paint.

 the whole notion that they don’t belong either there nor here, it’s like I said, they’re in this “third place”

What projects are you currently working on?
Currently and continuing, I like to work on a project that I’ve been working on for years and years, which is the Hispanic world here in Ft. Worth. So those are two different things, the Mexicans and the Hispanics that live in Ft. Worth, what interests me is that crashing of the cultures. They’re from wherever they are and they’ve got their culture, then they come here and they mix with ours and they make this third “other thing” that’s neither there nor here and it’s kind of exquisite and it’s kind of like painful to see in what they do, they’re yearning to be back home and if you see what they do, the whole notion that they don’t belong either there nor here, it’s like I said, they’re in this “third place”. That’s fascinating to me.

The other part, with the workers and the men working here, what’s interesting about that is they give up everything, come here, some of them work really hard and go back, a lot of them stay here, it’s, again, that mixing of culture and trying to live with your culture and trying to be in a new culture, that’s what’s interesting to me.

And then, people pay me money to do family histories and oral family histories of them and I make these books. I spend a week with their grandmother or whatever it is and I do a documentary on them and then I do a written oral history and I put it in a beautiful leather book with pictures and words. You know, the family can look up when grandma got married, but when I talk to her, she’ll say, “You know what? We didn’t have enough money, so I had to use my neighbors dress and we cut it and my sister did my hair and we couldn’t afford to go on a honeymoon until two years later”. Those are the details I like to pull out of people, because that’s the anthropologist in me.

Alyssa Banta ©

What would you say is the greatest message provided by your work?
I think the greatest message is that no matter who we are, geographically or socioeconomically, the greatest message is that we are all people just trying to live our lives. We’re just living, you know, everybody – even in war zones and poverty zones, everyone is just trying to get through the 80 years that they’ve been given on this earth, as best they can. That’s my message, maybe. You might look at my pictures and say, “bullshit,” but that’s what I think my message is. But we’re just all trying as hard as we can, and the big noisy things, war, treaties, borders, people don’t think about that minute-by-minute, they’re just trying to get through it, live, you know? Who cares about immigration? Yeah, that’s always an issue; they’re just trying to get through it.

How does it feel to be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize?
Great! And since that nomination, I’ve gone on to win other prizes, and actually win them and not just be nominated for them, but it feels great. It’s awful to want to chase prizes, because I would like to think that I’m above prizes and that I do my work for me and for the world, or whatever, but it’s pretty groovy, it’s pretty awesome to be recognized in a field that’s fantastic, you know, and it’s what I love to do, so it’s very nice to be recognized.

 don’t give up and don’t be highfalutin’, like don’t be freakin’ cocky

Any advice to photographers starting out?
Don’t give up. If you love it, don’t listen to anyone telling you not to do it – do it! And don’t freaking look around, don’t look around to other people and compare yourself to them. Everyone’s got a different set of events that they’ve got to live through and everyone’s got to learn different stuff, everyone’s moving at a different pace. So if you’re a photographer starting out, don’t give up and don’t be highfalutin’, like don’t be freakin’ cocky. Don’t say, “no” to an assignment saying, “oh, I don’t do weddings.” Freakin’ do the damn wedding, because you’ll get better, you’ll learn, you’ll practice what you’re supposed to be doing. Because if you’re a photographer, you’re in it because you love it, and you’re not chasing the money, you’re chasing your heart, you’re chasing what you love, so do it and don’t give up. There, that’s my advice.

What do you enjoy about being a photographer in Texas?
I enjoy, having lived everywhere in the world, and I really have lived everywhere in the world. I enjoy taking pictures of my place. And I also enjoy the fact that I’ve learned how to take them that anthropological way, you know, seeing cultures. Before I went off and became a war photographer, I didn’t really know how to do that, now I come back with all those skills and so I see my city in a different way now. I see Texas a bit differently.

So are there any good barbecue spots in Ft. Worth? Or do you enjoy the taco spots more?
I’m so about the taco trucks right now. I’m so about eating…like I’m all about the tacos. Like, I’m over the barbeque and I’m all about the damn tacos. And we’re talking dollar tacos made by people that serve lengua and buche (stomach and tongue), and I’m all about that right now. There are so many little tiny places like two blocks away from my house, so there’s about a four-block stretch where I eat down the street from me and at three-in-the-morning, those places are hoppin’. It’s the best – they’re great.

What is the most interesting item in your camera bag?
Gosh…I have so many things in my camera bag. I’ve got a peso paper bill from Havana, which I don’t even think that they manufacture; they’re changing all that right now. Um, I’ve got a sparkplug gauge, because I find that it’s very handy for some reason. I’ve got this weird dehydrated seed from a tree somewhere in Central Asia, I don’t even know where I was, and it’s odd because it’s been a few years now, and the tree is beautiful but it was all dehydrated, so I took a seed from there. So, not very interesting, but that’s what I have in my camera bag.

What is next for your career?
You know, that’s a really interesting question, and I just don’t know. I’d like to do a book, I’d like to keep doing my Texas Hispanic documenting that I’ve been talking to you about, I’d like to keep moving. What I’ve learned is that you don’t always know what direction you’re gonna go, you’ve just got to stay as loose as you can and just see. As it is now, I continue to get work, and get my work for the family history books, so my next step is maybe to continue with the Hispanic thing that you and I talked about and try to get that published or publish it somehow. So that’s what I’ll do. 


Two tears from Austin-based photographer Sarah Lim.

Both tear sheets are from the September issue of Texas Monthly: for a travel page called “Wanderer” and for the article, “How to Raise a Texan II.”


Where are you from?
I was born in Port Arthur, but we moved to Beaumont when my mom remarried. That’s where I’m from but I freelance in Dallas now. I moved out of Beaumont in 2004 to go to the University of North Texas.

What’s your degree in?
Photojournalism and International Development

Tell me about working at The Orange (Texas) Leader.
It was a little 8,000-circulation paper back in 2002 and I did that for two years.

How did you get your start there?
My mom had saved up a small college fund for me.  After I finished my chemotherapy at 18 I ended up messing around in college my first semester at Stephen F. Austin (a college in Nacodoches, Texas) and came home with a 1.0 and went to Lamar for two years (a college in Beaumont, Texas),  but I still wasn’t really figuring anything out. So I took what little bit of college money I had left, worked two jobs, and saved up enough to spend three months backpacking Europe.

How did your experience in Europe change you? 
The thing about Europe was that it was really the first time I was truly on my own.  I’d been sick since birth and the cancer only magnified my somewhat sheltered experience growing up.  When I left to backpack I was suddenly forced to rely solely upon myself.  Build relationships with strangers, monitor my cash, develop a budget and suffer the repercussions of not sticking to it.  I’d found myself in churches a lot of the time too and developed a stronger spiritual life.

How did you hook up your first staff photographer position at the Orange (Texas) Leader?
I was shooting this Bridge City [football] game and the editor of the Orange Leader saw me out there and asked, “hey, do you want a job? There’s a Lion’s Club carnival tomorrow. Do you want to go shoot that and that’ll be your trial run?” I woke up the next morning and went and shot the Lion’s Club carnival and got a bulldog page on Sunday morning. I worked for them for two years for something like $6.25 an hour.

When I returned from Europe I had had this sense of adventure under my belt and a stronger belief in myself.   When I got the job for the Orange Leader, shooting daily assignments, a lot of that experience I’d learned in Europe about socializing with a variety of people and stepping out of a comfort zone was utilized in a constructive way.  I used to think that that first job for the small daily was not only a continuation exploring daily life but it was also a boot camp of sorts photographically.  I’d talk with classmates at Lamar about the nature of the business and say how much I enjoyed the variety of experience.  How I could be at a kindergarten classroom at nine, a homicide having lunch with the sheriffs department at noon and a basketball game by 730.  It was all really exciting for me at that time in my life.

You mentioned chemotherapy earlier. Can you talk about that?
I had lymphoma from age 15 to age 18.

Did the experience influence your work in any way?
Not immediately, no I think it took a while. About the same time I got my driver’s license is about the same time I found out that I was sick and I was already the confused teenager anyway and so once I got a car I would just go wander off around Beaumont. Just cruise around town until sundown. This is before I did photography. I’ve always had this drive to get out and cruise around and explore and meet people.

You are a former Dallas Morning News photo intern. How did that come about?
The Morning News had me intern with them in ’05. Chris Wilkins called me and asked me if I wanted to do an internship and I said let me check my fall schedule for school and (Dallas Morning News photojournalist) Mona Reeder called me back immediately and she said “What the hell do you think you’re doing? You just say yes to stuff like that. Don’t worry about school right now.” So I called Chris back immediately and said I’ll take it. That’s how I started to [later] begin freelancing for them. After college, I just naturally went into freelancing full time.

We all went through this cusp, this in-between, where you and I both have a photojournalism degree but the NPPA job bank didn’t necessarily have anything in it.  Freelancing bridged the gap.

 You and me both met at the Eddie Adams Workshop.
Yeah, we both had Bill Frakes.

What did you draw from that experience?
That I went too early. I couldn’t even tone my images properly back then. There were some other people there that had a portfolio and had a really good experience for networking and having an actual dialogue about work. But for someone [who] hadn’t even finished college yet it was a bit premature I think. It was more of the experience of meeting other people. It was more about the social interaction and getting a taste of what professionals do.

Talk about what you’re working on now.
For the past three years, I’ve been working in the Mississippi Delta. I started that in 2009. In between freelancing in Dallas. I go back as much as I can.

Where is “there”?
A network of about five communities in northwest Mississippi. I’ve been abstractly documenting daily life in the delta. I went there just to find myself at first, I wasn’t looking for a story. I was looking for something better than me, stronger than me. It ended up being this time to just speak with people and get back into a project and begin shooting for something that I wanted to shoot. It’s since grown into something beyond me. It’s grown into something that’s about other people. It’s about strength, and humility and pride, hope and religion and faith.

Tell me about your decision to use medium format, black and white film for your project in Mississippi.
The only reason I started shooting that was because I had a brand new camera, a 1973 Mamiya C330. I’d just got it and thought I’d take it for a spin, so to speak.
At Lamar, I was trained in black and white photography in the darkroom and I guess I wanted to go back to something familiar.  But I ended up finding this new thing; it was like a turning point in vision. I began finding something that’s mine in a way. Merging documentary traits with a more artful background.

Who was your teacher?
Keith Carter.

You’ve told me before that you bring a bicycle with you when you go to Mississippi.
Looking back, I think using my bicycle was a perfect compromise. I could cover more ground than walking but yet still be connected more so than if I had confined myself in a car. I liked the idea of using a bicycle because it allowed accessibility.  Naturally, a lot of people were just curious about what the hell this little dude with big glasses was doing riding his bicycle with this weird-looking camera. It was like an automatic attention-grabber. Conversation-starter. But a big smile and a wave goes a long way.

What plans do you have for the Mississippi work?
I think it’ll naturally fall into book form. I’m going to have my first solo show in Portland, Oregon at the Newspace Center for Photography. It’ll open June 7, 2013.

[With this show], I can begin playing with the images in a new way. I’m interested in seeing the relationships the images will take on with one another.  It’s different from the experience of a book or website presentation and raises all sorts of questions, but I’m really excited to begin the process.

What’s been the reaction to your photos by the people you’ve photographed for the project?
It’s humbling. They take a lot of pride in them. One of the families that I photograph told me once that, “when you bring back photographs of us, you give us joy.” And when I stay the night at their homes I find their portraits hanging in their bedrooms.

Building relationships be it in my daily work or personal projects has always been important to me. The experience and journey I guess you could say has always rode shotgun alongside the desire to tell a good story.

In terms of this new project in Mississippi I’ve been working on I think this is where I’m really beginning to not only explore a new visual aesthetic and way of developing my narratives, but I’m also relying on myphotojournalism background to search out my characters and choose my topics.

You don’t typically light your portraits. Why is that?
I can light a portrait, and I keep a reflector in the bag, but I tend not to overcomplicate things. It’s already a puzzle. I can appreciate exploring for natural light in an environment. Sometimes lights are just another damn thing that needs a battery or plug.

Sometimes lights are just another damn thing that needs a battery or plug.

Who was an early photographic influence on you?
The first guy I fell in love with was German portrait photographer August Sander. I was intrigued by his work ethic, being able to catalog so much work. It was scientific. And if [your images] make a government want to burn your book you know you’re doing something right. But most intriguing was his ability to communicate effectively with people on all levels of society.  That speaks a lot to me.

What’s the most interesting thing in your camera bag?
I have this, uh, I don’t even know how old it is. I have this crushed granola bar. I just pulled it out to check my luggage at the airport this morning and I asked the guy if it was all right if it was in there. Chocolate chip.

How long has it been in there?
At the very least, months.

What’s your favorite Texas barbecue?
Actually me and the lady, we make these short ribs in the oven and she makes a Dr. Pepper sauce and we smother that thing in that.

You don’t have to travel around the world to find interesting subjects…sometimes you can find the whole world in your own backyard.

Any parting thoughts?
I think the most important thing I’ve realized over the past few years is that you don’t have to travel around the world to find interesting subjects. You can of course, but sometimes you can find the whole world in your own backyard.

© Randal Ford

All photos © Randal Ford

Austin-based Randal Ford, a contributor to Texas Monthly, recently photographed the magazine’s September 2012 cover. The story, “How to Raise a Texan” was illustrated by a gaggle of toddlers in cowboy boots. I was lucky enough to get to bring my sweet little toddler to the shoot, and although he didn’t make the final cover, it was a hilarious experience.

Watching Randal and stylist Bonnie Markel wrangle these little ones was a lesson in patience and having a sense of humor. As any parent of toddlers knows, it’s very hard pretty much impossible to get them to do what you want. Bonnie and Randal employed all sorts of tricks, like holding bubbles and inflatable Spider Man toys over the camera (while somehow avoiding bubble liquid spilling all over the gear!)

My little guy basically stood in one spot, staring at the strobes like a deer in the headlights. He’s obviously not made for photo shoots. Or wearing cowboy boots.

Here’s the behind the scenes video, shot and edited by Matthew Lemke:

More about the story on the Texas Monthly Blog.


And an outtake of my little dude, who didn’t make the cut but sure mastered the toddler scowl:

Looking for more? ILTP has interviewed Randal Ford and Bonnie Markel.

© Melanie Burford

© Melanie Burford

Prime Collective, which was recently featured in the New York Times’ Lens Blog as one of the new, innovative collectives that is changing the way photographers make their way in the world, is looking for its next member.

The love is not limited to the New York Times. Prime has also been written about in the Wired Raw blog, their members have received prestigious grants and their still photography and multimedia is published worldwide. So if you think you’d make a good fit, apply to join!

Prime’s members include:


New members will spend one year with Prime before acquiring permanent status. All members are expected to produce new personal work each year, contribute to a group project, make weekly conference calls, and devote time to furthering Prime’s mission. New members will be expected to invest financially in the organization.

a family of like-minded photographers

The benefits of membership are many. First and foremost, we are a family of like-minded photographers who offer love and support to one another. We expect any new member(s) to do the same! Additionally, we are focused on creating great work, working together to market said work, sharing information and experiences, and exploring innovative business models for documentary photography. If these things are of deep interest to you, we invite you to apply to join us.

Deadline: Sept. 30, 2012 11:59 EST

Full submission details available at


If you are a commercial or editorial photographer in central Texas, the Austin/San Antonio chapter of ASMP is a great organization to be a member of. ASMP has so many resources for photographers, including a wealth of business and marketing advice. And as an added bonus, they host get togethers like this recent picnic at Krause Springs in Spicewood.

Thanks ASMP for organizing this!  Follow ASMP A/SA on facebook or learn more about becoming a member.


We were in high school photo class together, and I was curious as to how much you think being in photo at that age shaped your interest? Did you always know you wanted to make a career out of photography?
I think what drew me to photography in high school was the freedom that the class allowed. We really were encouraged to photograph anything that caught our attention, and I think that I felt like in photo class I could explore the world around me and at the same time be doing my “homework”.

By senior year I was definitely hooked on photography and probably wanted to do it as some sort of job, but I don’t think I realistically knew what a career in photography might be.  I think back then everyone just said they wanted to shoot for National Geographic.

How are you working toward defining your personal style?
I don’t know how actively I work toward creating a style.  I think that’s something that develops after you’ve taken hundreds of pictures. I’m influenced by a lot of my favorite photographers, and I definitely have an aesthetic that I gravitate towards, but I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and said to myself, ” It’s time to come up with a style for my work.”  I think as you’re learning lighting and retouching you probably gravitate towards things that you like, but again, for me, it’s mostly trial and error.

I try to push myself to go out of my comfort zone

Early on I was attracted to photographers who I thought had a timeless or classic look. Unconsciously, I was probably trying to develop my own “classic look”.  I’m still open to experimentation and I try to push myself to go out of my comfort zone, but at this point I think I’ve already developed my way of looking at things through a camera.

Are you still mainly shooting with film? What is your usual gear on a photo shoot?
I split time between shooting film and digital.  I’ve really grown to like the way that color is rendered in digital images but I don’t care for B+W digital images. I love shooting B+W film, and I do it as much as possible but it’s obviously more expensive than shooting digital so it really just depends on the assignment.

I love the design of film cameras.  For whatever reason, the DSLR market seems to have settled on a roughly uniform look to it’s cameras.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with the aesthetics of Nikon or Canon digital cameras but I think there is something about the feel of most film cameras in my hand that gives me more confidence.

In terms of what I bring to a photo shoot, I usually have 4 different cameras with me: Canon 5D mk2, Mamiya RZ, Hasselblad 500 C, and a Konica Hexar.  I don’t use all of them on a given shoot, but they are usually in my camera bag regardless. I know that seems like a lot to haul around with me, but I have a hard time leaving any of them behind.  Other than that, I’m pretty light on the gear. I use either a reflector or one light for about 99% of all the pictures I take.

You have assisted quite a few photographers. Do you think this is a crucial step in the industry? Are there any important lessons from assisting experience that you can share with us?
It was definitely a crucial step for me, but I don’t know that’s the route everyone needs to take.  I’m largely self-taught when it comes to photography. I think that working as an assistant exposed me to many different sides of the industry that I was unaware of.

In all fairness I think I should mention that there are times when assisting is just a paycheck. There isn’t too much to be learned from holding a reflector all day.

The time I’ve spent assisting…  showed me the realities of working as an editorial photographer

I think there are photographers who skip the assisting stage and go straight to shooting, but the time I’ve spent assisting helped me to clarify the type of work I want to do, and showed me the realities of working as an editorial photographer.  I’ve also met a lot of people in the industry through assisting… connections like those always come in handy when you’re looking for someone to help you out on a project.

What is your approach to marketing and social media? 
I update my social media pages way more often than my actual website so I think it’s a way of always having something new to show people.  To that end, I have both a Facebook Fan Page and a Tumblr that I use to post tons of images and share little stories of life out on assignment.

In terms of direct marketing, I like to do both emailing and and physical mailing.  It’s really hard to know the most effective way to reach any individual editor or art director so I think you have to try different angles.  I like to send emails out to all my contacts each time I update my website to give them a reason to look at my work again.  I try to personalize the emails in some small way for whichever magazine I’m contacting, but honestly if I’m sending out 250 emails it’s hard not to do some cutting and pasting.  I try to print up a physical mailer anytime I have a new series completed as well.

What projects are you working on right now?
In the fall I shot a series on female bodybuilders for Culture Map, and I’ve always wanted to go back and shoot more, but I was so busy in the spring that I didn’t get a chance. I finally got back out there and finished up the project this summer.The second project that I recently wrapped up is a series on burlesque dancers here in Austin.  There are quite a few troupes here in town, and I had wanted to do photos of them for some time.

At the end of August I’ll be heading to Orlando, Fl to shoot portraits at Star Wars Celebration.  Essentially it’s a four day Star Wars specific convention that only takes place every 3 years so I’m really excited to have gotten media access.

How much of your time do you spend conceptualizing a shoot before you get there?
That depends.  If it’s a personal project then quite a bit. I like to do a lot of research.  I’ll read or watch anything I can that pertains to the subject before shooting just so I can have any idea of the Who/What/Where/When of any subject.  It definitely helps to do your homework.  It comes across in the way you interact with your subjects.  They can tell that you’ve put a lot into the project and that you’re genuinely interested in their world.

With editorial subjects it’s a little trickier.  You might not have any idea what the setting will be or what the person will look like.  Having said that, I still try to think about what type of images I want to create as I’m headed to the shoot.

Do you have any mentors? 
I’ve assisted for a lot of photographers, so I will say that in some way each of them as taught me something valuable about photography.  I don’t think I’d describe any of them as a mentor but certainly many of them have been teachers.

What is your favorite thing about shooting in Texas?
Texas is huge and diverse, geographically and culturally. As an assistant and photographer, I’ve traveled all over the state and there are plenty of great stories to tell here. I think Austin is a good home base for an editorial photographer because it puts you in a position to cover events in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio (and Austin) very easily.  When you think about it, those four cities provide a lot of subjects to photograph.  Music, business, sports, technology, etc. and a combined population of roughly 10 million people means that some magazine is always doing a story here.

Any favorite photo books?
I’m an avid collector of photo books so I have quite a few.

- The Hyena & Other Men by Pieter Hugo

- Studio by Paolo Roversi

- Olympic Portraits by Annie Leibovitz

- The Park by Kohei Yoshiyuki

- True Norwegian Black Metal by Peter Beste

- Gentlemen of Bacongo by Daniele Tamagni

- Daido Moriyama: The World through My Eyes by Daido Moriyama

- Olaf Otto Becker: Broken Line by Olaf Otto Becker

How do you distinguish yourself from the competition?
I guess that would be my style and subject matter.  I think it’s important to have a defined photographic style because when an editor is conceptualizing an assignment they need to people able to visualize how you would shoot it.  I want people to think, “Evan would be great for this one because we love the way he shoots environmental portraits.”  There are so many great photographers out there that finding a way to stand out is hard.  You definitely need to be hardworking and reliable, but I think you also need to showcase your unique photographic voice.  Essentially, your style is the product you are offering to a client.

How do define success on a particular shoot?
For a particular shoot, I think it’s easy.  I want to walk away with an image that I’m proud of…something that captures the subject well and looks good artistically.

Favorite breakfast taco?
Wars have been started over this question in Austin.  I think I’ll just narrow it down to a couple.  In now particular order:  Black bean and Cheese from Taco Deli, Migas Taco from Torchy’s, Potato Egg and Cheese from Wheatsville Co-Op.

Favorite libation?
I’m mostly a beer man. I love trying any type of IPA.  I used to live in Missoula, Montana and they have a great brewery there called Big Sky so pretty much anything from them or Real Ale.

Do you collect anything? Any hobbies outside of photography?
I love cycling. I’m out on a bike as much as I can be until the weather hits 100 degrees.  I’d love to say that I collect bikes, but I’m not really at a point where I can afford that.  Interview me again in a couple years and maybe I’ll have a bigger bike collection to tell everyone about.

Jeremy Cowart ©

Jeremy Cowart ©

Nashville and LA based photographer, Jeremy Cowart is coming to Dallas THIS THURSDAY, August 16th. WELD is hosting his LifeFinder Tour.

Go here to purchase the package ticket!

The Day will be broken up into to two parts.

First half begins with:

Jeremy’s Story and Background - He’ll walk you through his background in painting and graphic design, the early choices he made, the mistakes he made and stories of pure luck. Everyone’s path is different but there is certainly some good and bad lessons to be learned.

Vision Toolkit - Everyone ideally needs to have a unique visual style. You’ll discuss what it takes to build your own and why his early visual style kickstarted his career.

Personal Work - Personal work is more necessary than ever. He’ll discuss his personal work and how it’s translated into real-world commercial success but also how it remains more important to him than commercial success.

Inspiration and Staying Creative – He’s going to dive deep into the artists and ideas that inspire and motivate him and he’ll share how they did it all with little to no gear or expensive equipment. You’ll also discuss the steps to staying fresh and out of creative ruts.


The Second part of the day includes:

Having a guest client that is going to give him a secret, impromptu assignment that he’ll have to execute live in front of the class room. From beginning to end, you’ll see him execute a photoshoot on the spot. I’ll cover lighting, lighting equipment, composition, working with the subjects, RAW processing, photoshop tricks and whatever else the assignment might require of him.

You’ll be doing this because it’s real life. You have to learn how to improvise on the spot and make magic happen.

After you wrap our shoot, you will conclude the day with Jeremy talking about humanitarian work and the bigger reasons why he does what he does.

Address: 2410 Farrington, Dallas, Texas

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