filed under: art, miniviews, photography
i live in a major metropolitan city, which is not without rich history, architecture, culture and charm. regularly though, i find myself someplace that’s too crowded, tight, close, jammed, noisy, stinky or crammed. it is at these times i place my (imaginary) cone of silence on my head and daydream of wide open spaces. why not indulge a little with me right now and have a peek at this lusciously lit landscape photography from kansas artist jared may!
jared’s love of the medium began at the tender age of eight, and he has been drawn to it ever since. he has a unique point of view not only through his lens but also towards his art: he feels he has experienced enough trial (and error) to be able to identify his best shots. ever curious to know just a little bit more about the brains behind the operation, i asked just a few quick questionsâ€¦
q: where do you live and where do you create your artwork?
a: i live in the flint hills of northeast kansas. my favorite spot for shooting is the konza prairie, which is a research area/semi-protected grassland. they have a few trails that are open to the public, and it’s just about my favorite place to be any time of the year, but i’ll shoot anywhere. sunset/dandelion was taken in my front yard, for example. i also like to pull the car over if i see something cool on the way to work, or on the way home. if you’re driving near manhattan, and you see a guy with his car off to the side of the road and a camera in his hand, it sure might be me.
q: i see that the bulk of your collection was shot in the midwestern heartland. if you could shoot anywhere in the world, where would it be?
a: i haven’t been to alaska yet, and i’d love to spend a few months there shooting. the trouble i’ve had with taking photographs of gorgeous places as i travel around is that i’m not able to spend enough time in any one spot to really know the place, so the photographs won’t necessarily capture the essence of the place, like i try to do with my photographs of kansas. i like to think that if i travel enough, i’ll get to learn places even if i don’t live there, but i’m not quite convinced that’s possible just yet.
q: what type of equipment do you use? do you have any special techniques that you would like to share with us?
a: i got into digital photography for the first time a little over two years ago. i was introduced to flickr at right about that same time, and i ended up falling in love with both of them. i was shooting with a little nikon coolpix 4200 at the time. most of the photographs i have in my etsy shop were taken in that time period with my trusty little coolpix. i recently upgraded to a nikon d40x, my first digital SLR. i haven’t fallen in love with it just yet, but we’re still getting to know one another. i’m excited about the start of spring. i have a lot of ideas that i’m ready to try out with the new camera.
in terms of techniques to share, my major advice is to pay attention to your strangest ideas and give them a shot. with digital photography, even the worst idea can be attempted to your heart’s content, and in the end all you’ve lost is a bit of your time. the best way to come up with fun new photographs is to allow yourself to brainstorm ideas and then shoot shoot shoot until you get what you want.
when i was a kid, my mom convinced me that it was okay to go out for a photo shoot and just come back with one or two really cool shots. i continue to think that way. if i shoot 200 shots, and one of them is fantastic, i’m a happy guy.
q: which components of your composition style do you think are most unique?
a: this is a hard question for me, because my photography is really just me trying to capture what i see, so i can share it. my favorites of my photographs fall into two categories. either i’ve set up the shot so that the light is doing something crazy with the image that lends a unique mood to scene, or i’ve managed to find the beauty in something that is easily missed by folks as they go through their day. i genuinely believe that there is beauty to be found everywhere, and the trick is to learn to see it.
q: what do you do when you’re not taking photographs?
a: my favorite things are travelling and spending time with my family, so i try to do a lot of both of those things. travelling can be expensive, but luckily hanging out with the loved ones is free.
i teach math at an alternative high school, which i really enjoy, most days. i’m studying to be an administrator, but i haven’t decided how i’ll use my degree. i’m still working on the whole what-you-want-to-be-when-you-grow-up thing.
q: sunrise or sunset — your preference?
a: this one’s easy for me, despite the fact that my most popular photograph is a sunset. there is nothing quite like being out in a field, breathing in fresh morning air, waiting for the sun to peek out. the photographs just about take themselves.
thank you jared!