Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Changing With The Times
How a landscape photographer reinvented himself for the digital era
A lot can change in 30 years—just ask landscape photographer Carr Clifton. He has endured a turbulent stock-photography marketplace and revolutionized workflow to find himself, creatively speaking, right back where he began. As a newbie photographer in the early 1970s, Clifton simply wanted to photograph beautiful places. Today that same desire pushes him a little farther into the great outdoors.
“America’s changed a lot,” Clifton says. “Our culture has changed, and the population has changed; the regulations have changed. The amount of photos out there has changed. All of that has an effect on someone like myself. Some places have been overphotographed, and so some of the photographers who have been around a lot don’t visit those areas any more.
While the younger Clifton was simply happy to photograph beautiful landscapes wherever he could find them, the seasoned Clifton needs a bit more of a challenge. When you’re just starting out, every vista is new and exciting. When you’ve seen it all before, you tend to look for something different. And that could be just about anything.
“I’m absolutely looking for something different,” Clifton says, “trying to get the experience heightened, no doubt about that. I need new material. I need to see something I’ve never seen before. A type of tree maybe that I’ve never seen in person. Just a new place. I love going back to places and rephotographing; that’s a learning process all on its own. But boy, having new terrain to explore is really a creative starter. It really gets your creative juices flowing.”
The most important thing for Clifton these days is getting those creative juices flowing in a way that personally pleases him. It sounds simple, but there was a time when many stock photographers were beholden to their agencies. The landscape shooters learned what sold well, and like Pavlovian dogs, they knew what to shoot to make a buck.
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