Interview: Todd Diemer
Rucksack Magazine Volume One contributor Todd Diemer provides a deeper insight into his photography and discusses why winter is his favourite season.
Photography: Todd Diemer
What inspired you to start taking photographs?
When I moved out to California in 2013 I was immediately awe struck by the natural beauty of the landscape. Whilst catching up with a good friend, he thought that using the landscape as a muse would be a good chance to re-engage with my artistic side. Since I had always dabbled in photography, California seemed like a perfect opportunity to dive in a bit deeper and see what I could make of it.
Where has been your favourite location to shoot so far?
That’s a tough one! If I had to choose just one, I think it would be New England in autumn. There’s so much changing hour by hour just with the colour and light that it keeps you on your toes as a photographer, whilst simultaneously giving you a constant sense of wonder and inspiration.
For Rucksack Magazine - Volume 1, your images were winter themed. What do you enjoy about shooting in the season of winter?
I'm definitely someone who buys into the ‘no pain, no gain’ mentality when it comes to my photography. Winter provides such a great backdrop for these kind of experiences to play out. When you are faced with those moments in a difficult situation, tough it out, and through that challenge, you become closer with the people you experienced it with. I find that, in those moments, you're almost never at a loss for things to shoot. On a lighter note, as many of my friends will tell you, I'm also a pretty big fan of the Christmas season, so I’m always looking for any opportunity to capture a winter scene that evokes the warmth and joy of that season.
Which images have been your most significant so far?
There’s a snowscape I took in Norway that has received a lot of attention on Unsplash, leading to numerous groups reaching out to say they used it for one reason or another. I feel pretty blessed to have had such a positive reaction to a piece of my work. Having said that, the works that I’m most proud of tend to be photos which have captured people or friends in their moments of happiness, whether that be them hiking to a beautiful landscape, enjoying their love of riding motorcycles, or a joyous moment playing with their children.
What reaction do you aim to inspire in people when they view your images?
It’s a bit utopian sounding, but I do believe an important aspect of a creative pursuit is to inspire others to keep engaging with the world around them. To raise a sense of wonder, intrigue, and interest in connecting with what is truly surrounding them. I really hope that my photography gets people out there, experiencing new things, people and places.
What camera equipment and gear do you use?
Since most of my work tends to be in a documentary style, I try to travel small and light. Currently I shoot with FujiFilm X-series cameras; their small size allowing me to feel like I can be within a scene or moment rather than an outsider looking in. My other gear; tripods, speed lights, reflectors, etc. all tend to come along with me from time to time depending on the kind of shoot I'm doing.
What are you excited to photograph in the future?
I’m really excited to get the chance to get deeper and deeper into the world of other people and capture their stories. Feeling connected with people and places and helping share that experience with a wider audience feels like I way of giving something meaningful back.
What advice would you give to other photographers who are just starting out?
It’s worth reiterating the age-old advice: just get out and shoot. This definitely still applies as you can’t become a better photographer if you aren’t photographing. Beyond that, I think it is important to surround yourself with a community of photographers who will inspire you and hold you accountable to keep pushing forward. It is good to become part of a community with both photographers who have skills you want to gain, as well as those who you can mentor. Some of my closest friends are people who I got to know because of photography, and I am forever appreciative of their help and encouragement in developing my craft. Of course, it is a great feeling to be able to provide that for them too.