The first place you ought to publish your pictures is in your life—the light that’s coming out of your eyes, how you treat your family. It ought to make a difference!
In the beginning
My first camera was an Argus C3 that my Dad had during WWII. People told me that I had a good eye, but it really wasn’t until after college that I got really into photography. I started out as a filmmaker. I had a Masters in film from UCLA.
I was in Yosemite doing a film on John Muir, and I saw a guy walking in front of the Visitor’s Center. He turned out to be a Geographic writer. I said, “What are you doing?” He said, “I’m doing an article on Muir.” I made a phone call, and even though I’d never published any pictures anywhere, they gave me the assignment. So, my first published pictures were in National Geographic, which was totally nuts!
If I look at when I am happy, I am happiest when I am full of gratitude. Photography makes me stop, not only to big vistas, but to a leaf on the trail or a dew drop on a flower.
All of these pictures are little visual prayers. I think it’s important that we articulate that out loud. So, I wander around my garden in the morning saying "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you." That’s exposing my soul; that’s feeding me at a very deep level.
Affect on life
I published an ebook recently called, Art in My Life. I was getting at the idea that art and photography are a way of seeing; they are a way of looking at the world. The photograph is the residue of that; it’s what’s left over. It’s really good residue, and I like it. But if I don’t have the experience, if I don’t go out and connect with something, if I don’t see more deeply, then what was the point?
My iPhone is with me all the time. It’s there as a little way to just stay more ALIVE.
I shoot all the time with it. I shoot things that I never would shoot with my big-boy cameras, because it would be too much of a hassle. All the tiny things of life, I shoot with my iPhone. Those images are now always with me, reminding me of what a cool thing it is to get to be conscious on this planet.
Follow the passion, because that not only is what’s going to give you your eye, but it’s also going to expose your soul, and that’s the whole point anyway.