An interview with adventure and lifestyle photographer Brandon Eckroth; who explains how the beauty of our planet inspires him to create images.
What inspired you to start taking photographs?
I didn't always know that I wanted to be a photographer. I'll even go as far as to say that I didn't even always know that I liked to take photographs. I have always had an appreciation for nature, but growing up I wouldn't have classified myself as a ‘creative’ type. I had some incredible life mentors throughout my teenage years who were photographers for a living, and I think they planted a passion for capturing this world and its people somewhere deep inside me. It wasn't until my parents broke the news of their divorce to my brother and I in 2014 that the passion that must have always been hidden there suddenly came to life. To combat the feelings I was experiencing and to take time to attempt to process what had happened and what lay ahead for my family, I bought a camera and took to the mountains of Montana for a month. I camped and hiked and allowed my mind to wander, all whilst capturing images of my journey along the way. To this day, it is the beauty of our planet that inspires me to create images, portraying its magnificence. Photography, to me, is a form of escape, an avenue to allow me to feel, and that is what keeps me going.
What is your favourite location to shoot?
Due to where my journey as a photographer began, I would have to say Montana is one of my favourite places to shoot. Although my multiple trips to Iceland mean it is a country which is becoming beautifully familiar, and yet forever mysterious, to me. The rugged, raw landscapes are unlike anything I've ever seen.
Which images would you say have been the most significant for you in your photography journey so far?
I don't think I'd say any image in particular for me has been significant in my journey as a photographer. For me, it's more about the moments surrounding the images. That's one reason why I love photography so much; it can be a beautiful inspiration to others, but to me, it's a beautiful, tangible memory. Every image has a story to me. Every image is part of this book called life.
How would you say social media contributes to your work?
It's crazy to think that five or so years ago, no one really knew what they were doing and social media was just a tool to show your friends and family what you were up to. Now, social media is that and so much more. Social media allows me to share my work with thousands upon thousands of people every single day, inspiring them to get out and see this incredible world we live in. I am so thankful for that. It also allows me to do promotional and marketing work for companies, giving me even more opportunities to continue my dream of being a full-time photographer.
What places would you like to photograph in the future?
Antarctica. It has been a dream of mine for as long as I've had a camera in my hands to make my way down to the frozen south and document the climate and the life (or lack of) down there.
What camera do you use and which lens is your favourite?
For work I use a Canon 5D Mark III with my trusty Sigma 35mm Art Series Lens. The lens is just wide enough for most of the shots I want, but also more crisp and clear than any other lens I use. It's magical. For fun, and when I'm out and don't want the distraction of the beast that any Canon 5D is, I bring along my trusty Canon AE-1 35mm Film Camera. It's a fun way to test your abilities and capture the world a little differently.
What kind of tools do you use for post-processing and editing?
I almost always only use Lightroom. If there happens to be something that Lightroom can't do, I'll throw an image into Photoshop, but that rarely happens. I'll also use InDesign for any print layouts that I need to do.
What reaction do you aim to inspire in people when they view your images?
When someone sees one of my images, I hope to instil within them a sense of adventure, of wonder. I hope that through my photography I can inspire others to get out and see this mysteriously magical world that we live in.
Whose work has influenced you most?
Alex Strohl and John Bozinov. They are two people that I constantly see pushing boundaries in what it means to be an adventure and landscape photographer. They explore this world with such a sense of wonder and amazement.
What advice would you give to another photographer?
You aren't always going to land the clients you want, sometimes you won't land any clients at all for a time, but it is vital that you get out and shoot anyway. Never forget that this is your passion, it is your craft. Produce work you are proud of and the clients will come.