Welcome to Classics, introduce yourself to our readers. Where are you from originally, Where is home now?
Hello Classics Magazine. Thank you for your interest in my work and for doing this interview.
I’m from Vancouver, BC, born and raised but I’m also a dual Can/UK citizen. Home is now North Vancouver. This is a great place to base oneself. I haven’t found a good enough reason to leave long term. I travel a fair bit and it’s always a great place to come back to.
How is the art scene in Vancouver?
The Vancouver art scene is alive and well but you sometimes have to dig to find the really good things happening. There’s a lot going on but with the lack of good venues and the expensive cost of living in the city now it’s pretty tough for artists, especially young and up coming ones, to make a go of it living directly in the city. But there’s still a strong underground art and music scene despite it all.
You have a cool name please describe “Atmospherics.”
Atmospherics is a name I’ve been using for a long time. It pretty much dates back to my high school days when I was shooting for bands, etc. After I got out of technical school for TV journalism / production I started my own graphic design company called Atmosphere Design. So it’s all part of this Atmosphere umbrella name I’ve been using for ages. I feel if there’s one word that encapsulates what I’m trying to do creatively that’s probably it.
You are an accomplished photographer. Who or what inspired you to shoot?
I’m not sure who at first but ever since I saw a film camera I’ve been drawn to photography. I’ve been drawn to visual art and music since I can remember. I think things really took off for me in my graphics class in high school when I was around 15 years old. I started in the film era. I was blessed to have great instructors and almost full time access to a darkroom in those days.
On your website atmosphericsphoto.com describing your style you state, “photography transports the viewer into the actual mood, silence and atmosphere of the environment.” Can you elaborate?
Yes, the goal in my images is to have the viewer be drawn into the subject. To hopefully feel yourself transported there for a few seconds while you take in the image. To feel what it might be like to actually be there. Ultimately I like for my images to be viewed on large screens or as large format prints as my landscape shots are all fairly massive, vast scenes.
What was your first camera and can you recall your earliest pictures?
My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic with the 126 cartridges of 35mm film. I’m not sure where it came from. I think maybe it was an old camera my mother had. I’d shoot anything. Family members, pets, streets near my house, etc… I remember the prints being squares with rounded corners. I still have a few around somewhere.
Tell us about your journey into photography. How would you describe your style and aesthetic?
My journey into photography would seriously begin in high school. From that point on it’s been a huge part of my life. I lived through the DiY punk period. If you had a desire to do something creative you just did it and hopefully people would like it. I’ve gone through a few basic style changes, especially when digital point and shoot cameras came in, but one constant thing for me is to try to isolate subtle light sources so there’s a large contrast of tones between the lightest areas and the darkest areas. That’s where the atmosphere is in my shots and I think probably a strong characteristic in most of my shots. I think I learned a lot of that when shooting live bands on film. I never use a flash so you’re always hunting for little areas where light falls on subjects.
Who are your favorite Cinematographers and Photographers?
I have a lot of favorite photographers, some old, some young, some famous, some not. I’m a product of the 80s, so some that have been a huge influence on me are Vaughn Oliver / Nigel Grierson of 23 Envelope, Anton Corbijn, Brian Griffin, etc. for landscapes, Olaf Otto Becker, pioneers like Walker Evans, etc.
For cinematographers, i’m just such a massive Kubrick fan so I’d go with John Alcott. Daniel Landin’s work is pretty amazing for someone more recent.
What is your favorite camera?
Tough question, I’m not really a gear hound, but I’ll list what I use for digital and film and I’ll call them favorites for now. I’m a pretty dedicated Nikon user. Love my Nikon D750 as my DSLR, for mirrorless digital I love my Sony a7r. I still shoot some film with my old film cameras, I have a Pentax LX from the 80s and Konica rangefinder from the 60s that I love. They’ve both been workhorses for me.
What inspires & influences you today?
Traveling to new places to shoot. Seeing the mind-blowing work of the generation of artists and photographers coming up. I’m constantly inspired and recharged by the work I see from others.
Where in the world would be your dream location to shoot?
Anywhere in the far north or far south. I’m drawn to vast, icy winterscapes. Maybe it’s because they’re disappearing and I feel a need to shoot them. But it’s also the quality of light in far northern locations. The long shadows. The way the sun sits low on the horizon. The long twilight times. I’d love to shoot in the Antarctic some day too.
Do you have a creative process?
Not a strict process but I’d say it’s shoot, organize shots, make initial selects then colour grade and edit. I’m never in a rush. It’s really important to go back on your work months and years later to look at images with a different perspective. I’m always seeing fresh new things in shoots from a few years back.
Who is you favorite filmmaker?
Stanley Kubrick without a doubt. For newer filmmakers, I quite like Jonathan Glazer’s work. Especially on Under the Skin.
What is your Favorite Feature Film?
2001 A Space Odyssey. It’s unparalleled. It’s so incredibly well shot, completely in analog, it still puts to shame most digital fx work to date, combine that with the story and it’s mind-blowing as ever.
Can you talk about your music project Montane District.
Yes, Montane District is an ambient music project put together by me and my good long time friend Paul McNeill. We’ve been working together with bands and record labels for a long time. We both love ambient music and we felt we could create music that fit well with the mood of my photography. We spent almost a year coming up with the 4 tracks on our debut. We have lots more in the works. I’m really excited and inspired with this project. It’s coming from a really natural place for both of us and there’s so many ways we want to tie the music in with my photography. We started a record label called Northsilver Imprint for this project and others we feel fit well with what we’re doing.
Any upcoming projects we can look forward to?
The big project is a book eventually. Unfortunately that takes a lot of resources to do properly in the way I want to do it. But it will eventually happen. Before then I have plans for my website to make selected works available for sale. We’d love to do a multimedia show eventually that ties in Atmospherics photography with music from Montane District.