This week I welcome Glen Green, who is definitely one of my favorite photographers. His creativity, composition and use of light is brilliant,as is his passion for capturing images that are complex and stunning…Welcome Glen!
Tell us a little about yourself. When did your interest in photography begin?
Currently, I live in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. My interest in photography is tied closely with my interest in the arts. Ever since I was a child, I loved to draw and I followed that passion first into illustration, then into sculpture, then painting and around the time I was 15 or 16, into photography. I was fortunate, in high school, to own a Nikon (a gift from a family member) and to have the opportunity to take photography classes and to learn about development and dark rooms.
After high-school, I went to University for fine arts, where I studied drawing, painting and photography. But I always maintained a love of photography and film-making in general.
After college, I went into professional fields, and became involved in desktop publishing (then, in its infancy.) I taught myself Photoshop 1.0 and made my living for several years doing photo retouching.
My career has varied over the years, but has always tracked towards the arts and communication, particularly as they intersect with technology. The advent of modern DSLRs made it easier than ever to affordably experiment with photography.
Who are your influences? Do you have a specific photographer that stands out in your mind? Why?
I look to a broad range of visual artists for inspiration from a panoply of painters to sculptors, film makers and photographers. I can list names, but that seems limiting – It implies that I have a favorite. But, I don’t want to duck the question wholly, so I’ll say that I’ve recently been enjoying Trey Ratcliff’s photography and his approach to sharing, using Creative Commons licenses. I also appreciate the surreal nature of his landscapes and his philosophy of the democratization of photography. He isn’t overly ‘precious’ about photography.
What is the most important thing to remember to get a good image? What advice would you give to those just starting out?
I’m seldom comfortable with saying what is the most important ‘thing’. It implies absolutes where there probably aren’t any. There are lots of important things to remember and it almost certainly matters what you’re trying to accomplish. The most important thing when photographing a person is likely different from the most important thing with photographing a landscape. And even then, it’s not so simple: photographing an older person has different challenges than photographing children.
Perhaps, if I had to make an umbrella statement, I’d say: it’s important to have an idea but be open to happy accidents and new inspirations.
As for advise for those starting out, perhaps the best thing I can say is: know your tools, but don’t use their perceived limitations as an excuse for not getting a good photograph. There are some excellent photos being taken with phone cameras these days and some remarkably bad photos being taken with the best SLR cameras on the market. ‘Limitations’ can be springboards for creativity.
What is the most memorable response you have had about your work?
I like it best when people get their nose close to the work, back up and then get close to it again – you get the feeling that they’re really trying to take in the image. And I have to confess that it’s a habit that I have: I study the work I admire and it pulls me close and pushes me back.
Where do you find your inspiration? Do you have a favorite subject/theme you like to photograph?
Nature inspires me. That might not be a unique answer, but it is a truthful one. As for themes, they vary but I’ll say that I’ve always loved nudes and landscapes. I also love the surreal and I love nature reclaiming ruins. – There is redemption and hope and humility in that.
What kind of gear do you use? Do you have a favorite piece of equipment or software?
I’m a Nikon guy, but I’m not a zealot. Gear is gear. I won’t say that there isn’t value and even flexibility from a good piece of equipment, but it shouldn’t define your art. But, as far as one of my favorite toys, I’m a fan of the ‘Promote Control’ by Promote Systems. It’s very handy for long exposures, HDR and time-lapse. But, I also love my phone’s camera. It’s not even the best camera out there – not by a long shot, but it is light, portable and virtually always on me. – It’s been said that the best camera is the one you have with you. And playing with a camera phone takes the pressure off of fine tuning settings and allows you to experiment and to always keep an eye out of the interesting.
Can you tell us what is coming up for you and where we can find you online?
I want to explore pin-up photography, but I feel that I have my homework cut out for me and I need to teach myself a few lessons first. Other than that, no big trips planned in the coming months so I’m happy with summer at hand and the opportunity to catch some classic Americana in the hazy days of summer.
As where to find me: I’m online all over the place. My photography home can be found at GlenGreenPhotography.com, you can read my perspective on the digital frontier at GlenGreenPro.com and you can find a whole list of my sites and social networks on http://xeeme.com/GlenGreen. There you can look me up on Facebook, LinkedIn,Twitter, Google and more – I’m always happy to connect and share.
I would like to thank Glen for taking time out of his busy schedule to chat with us. Please take some time to check out Glen’s work, you won’t be disappointed!