We had the good fortune of connecting with Ira Meyer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ira, how do you define success?
A teacher of mine once said: Even if you win the rat race… You’re still a rat. Success, to me, is more a matter of of being content within myself (and in harmony with the world I live in) than it is any physical/ external measure.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I never touched a camera until I was 40 years old. So the fact that photography has become my livelihood still leaves me amazed. What sets me apart: I’ve made nearly 40 trips to Antarctica and a handful to the Arctic. As such, I have been extraordinarily privileged to have been able to explore the polar regions, as well as capture snippets of their otherworldly beauty. What I’m most proud of: Two highlights of my career have been: ~ A photograph I took of a mother polar bear and cub on a small iceberg in Olgastretet, Svalbard gracing the cover of National Geographic magazine’s Climate Change special edition. ~ An image of mine of a rim-lit dripping iceberg arch framing another distant iceberg in Hall Bredning, Greenland receiving a runner-up award in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards. Has it been easy: I don’t believe any roads in life are pothole and speed-bump free. Though my work always received ample praise at the art shows I exhibited it at, sales did not necessarily follow suit. So I struggled to keep my life afloat in the material world with the income I was generating. Fortunately, I am not much of a consumer, and live fairly simply. So I always managed to get by. And my work from Antarctica and the Arctic has brought increased sales in the past 15 years, especially since having begun printing it on aluminum several years ago. The path I’ve chosen ultimately seems to suit me. But I would never recommend anyone follow in my footsteps. Lessons along the way: ~ Life is 10% the cards you’re dealt… And 90% how you play them. ~ from Desiderata: “Whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There is no doubt about it, nature’s creation allures me more than man’s. So a week long trip might find us heading through Nevada’s Valley of Fire to Utah’s Zion National Park, then on to Bryce Canyon, Capital Reef, Canyonlands and Arches National Parks… or up to California’s Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks; also including stops to see the ancient bristlecone pines in the White Mountains, Mono Lake, and the giant redwoods in Humboldt County.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Having lived 73 years, the list is long. A very abridged version: ~ My parents (for not having killed me when I was growing up). ~ Countless friends who’ve supported/ encouraged me along the way. ~ The folks at One Ocean Expeditions, Heritage Expeditions. and G Adventures; who opened the doors to the polar regions for me. ~ Prem Rawat; for showing me the key to find all things of true value within myself… and in life.
Photo of me: ©Natalia Prokhorova All other photos: ©www.irameyer.com/ Ira Meyer