We had the good fortune of connecting with Keith Coleman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Keith, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I made a decision to be a photographer during my sophomore year in college. I was lucky Northeastern University was a Co-Op college. I had the opportunity to work at a ad agency during a Co-Op and quickly gravitated towards the art department and the work they were turning out. I made the decision to make photography my major that year. I always had a interest in photography growing up, I should say cameras. I was intrigued during high school years you could freeze time and liked the different perspectives lenses could provide. I’m talking basics here, wide angle and zoom. I was naive in regard to the technical aspects and was happy to just take photos. Now looking back at my decision I think I was attracted to being my own boss. When I was at the Co-Op jobs and any other job I had I was a spoke in the wheel. I never felt comfortable in those situations.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Getting to this point has been hard. I put myself in tremendous debt to graduate University. I got comfortable being a assistant to photographers because it paid my bills and it was steady work. I’m still pushing to achieve my goals to this day. I can’t imagine being a photographer and not cutting my teeth shooting film, loading 4×5 and 8×10 film and printing in the darkroom. It’s such an amazing experience to process film you shot and print the images. The multiple decisions you make along the way contribute to the final image. Today those decisions are bundled in filters and layers in computer software. I’m not saying one is better then the other. I’m just happy to have experienced “analog” photography and being able to transition into digital. With the birth of digital came a increase of photographers. Photographers are able to show their work daily to the world now. The birth of Instagram has changed the game of photography. Like anything there’s a good and bad side to this technology. The good is reaching a worldwide audience, the bad is young photographers will do a job for next to nothing. The rates and expectations of delivery have become polar opposite. Your being paid less and supplying twice as much content, sometimes including video too with complete buyouts in a lot of cases. Those unfortunate jobs become hardened lessons but until that changes all photographers suffer from those who under bid jobs. It’s not all doom and gloom, I still love what I do. I hope my years of experience and my passion to deliver strong photographs will attract clients for many years to come.
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?
California offers a lot! I’d recommend you spend a week on a off road capable motorcycle or 4×4 so you can get off the main roads. The trip I’d do is up The 14 to high desert to explore for a few days then continue on up 395 into the mountains of Bishop and Mammoth. The key here is to get off the main roads and explore trails and BLM land. You can always explore the coast anytime of year. If the time of year is right nothing beats the desert and mountains. Food and beverage is what you bring for campfire cooking. Watching the stars is icing on the cake.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The photography book “Cyclops” by Albert Watson changed everything. I asked for it as a gift upon graduating college. The reason was it was diverse. When I first saw it I thought it was a graphic design book. The cover wasn’t a photograph, it was typography. When I opened it I saw every kind of photography. There was portrait, travel, still life. Here was a Photographer doing it all and doing it right. University made you pick a type of photography to focus on, I struggled with that and here was proof you can do it all.
Linkedin: Keith Coleman Photography
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