Based in the heart of 'hipsterland', Portland photographer Dylan Howell ‘stumbled’ on photography after trying a whole lot of other stuff like bicycles, cars and motorcycles (he says. however, he probably isn’t going to be a musician - quelle domage!). He also reviews gear and presets on his Blog. When you browse through Dylan’s images, shot in the thick of Portland, you’ll see how fearless he is - and how he wears his heart on his photographs (and sleeves). See if you can spot Beans, a fur kid of Dylan - drop us a comment - Beans is also famous!
1. What is life to you? What it should be?
I really have no idea. I’m not sure we ever figure this one out, but it’s definitely something I ponder on a daily basis. It’s sometimes paralyzing when I think about how absolutely small and meaningless we are, yet how profound our experiences and lives feel to ourselves and the people we share them with.
After exploring the universe through a book on astrophysics or reading about the possible nonexistence of time, I often need to balance out mentally and emotionally by reading poetry or love stories.
So, to answer, life to me is a beautiful collection of experiences and encounters. We need to embrace that, spread love and happiness. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, go create experiences.
2. When did you find your calling in photography?
I remember assignments from my 7th grade photo class, I was terrible. I picked up a camera a bit in high school, still terrible. Myspace profile pics? terrible. I was mildly obsessed with viewing photography, I’d spend countless hours browsing Flickr in awe. A few times I decided to stop being a viewer and go make a photo or two but I didn’t have the technical skills to pull off the shots I wanted, at all. I had many hobbies at the time and photographing them was a constant.. cycling, car culture, motorcycles, outdoors. Then, I realized photography was my real hobby. I quickly turned that hobby into a profession. I was charging people for work within months of getting my first “real” camera. After that, it was just making sure every shoot was better than the one before it. Shooting every day. Not being afraid to share my work, really push it out and put it in front of as many eyes as possible.
Right now I’m in a spot where I love what I do, I’m so emotionally invested in creating beautiful and meaningful images for my couples.. and I get to do that in some of the most inspiring parts of the world. That being said, my favorite images are the ones I create for myself and the people I love.
3. Do you have a “second profession” or passion?
Passions, yes. I often think I have too many, I’ve spent the past year trying to narrow in on what is really important to me and get rid of the rest. I’ve found a good recipe. A quick list: travel, outdoors, cycling, motorcycles, coffee, surfing, and music (just listening, I fail at every instrument I own.)
5. Is/Are there any project(s) you wish you could do or might do?
I have a personal project planned, but I can’t talk about it. I just need to go do it.
6. Is there a big difference between your personal work and commissioned work?
Not really. I don’t really see a difference between the two other than the fact I keep photography a distant second to real life when I’m not getting paid my personal photos are just snapshots. When I’m being paid, I don’t need to worry about enjoying or living in the moment as much just documenting and telling beautiful stories.
7. Do you shoot with your left or right eye?
My right eye. Using rangefinder cameras have taught me to keep my left eye open and viewing the scene while composing with the right eye through the viewfinder.
8. Are there any unseen experimental images in your attic you’d like to show us now?
I need to do more. I have images in my head that I haven’t made time for. Just realizing what I’m saying just bummed me out.. maybe I’ll grab my camera today and just do it.
10. If you were to start all over again, is there anything you would do differently? Why?
Can’t say I’d change a thing, wouldn’t want to risk being anywhere else with my life than where I’m at now.
Bonus: What do you think the photography industry will be like in 5 years' time?
My favorite change has been the race away from “technical” photography, towards capturing emotion and feeling. I see it more and more all the time and it makes me incredibly happy. If you value those things, your work will last. The world will always value an image that captures a moment, scene, feeling. Technology will progress, but my favorite photographers only require a basic level of technicality, the rest comes from the heart.