A History of Ian the Photographer


So I had this really unique idea a couple months ago and it went a little something like this: What if I created a blog so I can write things down about the photos I take? Well, here we are a couple months later and it still doesn't sound like a terrible idea so here goes nothing. So for my first post I wanted to give everyone a little background on who I am as a photographer. I figure why would you come back and read more of my gibberish if you don't know a bit about me right? So lets start from the beginning.

Caveat: I am not going to claim to be anything resembling a writer so be forewarned, but I will try to sprinkle in enough pretty pictures to at least make this thing bearable.

My earliest memory of wanting to be behind the camera comes from a family vacation to the Grand Canyon ca. 1995 (parents might need to help me out with the dates). I remember my dad letting my older brother Adam take the camera and snap off a couple frames of the family and I was so jealous. Adam got to do all the cool things (thought 10 year old Ian)! After that I decide to be the troop historian for the Boy Scout troop in Cincinnati, which consisted of taking a few shots on a disposable camera a few times a year and then never sharing them with anyone. Finally, as a sophomore in high school I took a photography class, got my first camera (Nikon FG) and took a bunch of photos that I had to share with people. I liked it so much that I took another photography class in high school, and probably would have taken a third if my teacher didn't up and move to California. Unfortunately all of those negatives are still in my mom's house (sorry mom) so we can't look at any photos I'd taken up to this point.

When I moved away to North Carolina to become a marine biologist (and goshdarnit I did become a marine biologist; aside: Yes, the George Costanza as a marine biologist episode is my favorite, I just eat it up) photography was still just a hobby. I was still shooting film but I had switched to color at this point. I will always remember going down to the beach to take photos of friends surfing, me standing on the pier in the wind, usually on one of the very rare crappy weather days but at least sometimes I got visitors.

I took a lot of photos in college, most of which revolved around trips traveling with the club Ultimate Frisbee team (STMLB) or on spring break. Spring break my sophomore year a group of us drove down to Florida to play in a beach tournament, but when we got down there the tournament was cancelled. So like any group of responsible young men with their friend's parent’s conversion van we made the most of it by promptly getting deported off and island for being upstanding citizens!

But not before I was able to snap these frames off.

Since this was in the era before iPhones, and maps are just for the elderly, we totally got lost one night in the middle of Florida. After driving for a while and deciding the back lot of an abandoned trailer park was a fantastic place to set up camp and go strait to bed (yep). The next morning is still one of my favorite morning shoots. I woke up before everyone else and wandered around for a bit, scoping out the alligators 10 feet from the tent, looking at birds, and just generally having a fantastic morning shooting the scenery.

The next year the frisbee team went out to Stanford for a tournament the second week of spring break. A handful of us decided to fly to L.A. and then drive up the coast, which turned out to be a fantastic idea.

In 2010 I got a job out in Boulder, Colorado (because moving as far away from the ocean as possible is the best move for a marine biologist) so I packed up everything I owned and drove from North Carolina to Colorado. Out here is where the love of photography came on strong. I don't know if you guys were aware, but Colorado is a fantastically beautiful state. Living 45 minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park is amazing and driving up into the mountains puts you in a whole different world.

Colorado is a great jumping off point for road trips to other National Parks and amazing scenery like Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and pretty much all of Utah.

In Colorado I was able to really work on my landscapes in a way that I never had before. In the same vein, when I decided to follow my girlfriend to Shanghai, China for a year I was exposed to something totally new, street photography. I was a little hesitant at first, but the more I walked around, shot people in their daily life, and picked up a bit of Chinese the more comfortable I got. Some of my favorite shots were from 3 days before we packed up and moved back to the States.

While in China we took full advantage of being in Asia (and working 10 hours a week). We traveled as much as we could around China, as well as Japan, Cambodia and Thailand. The combination of the landscape skills from Colorado, the street photography skills from Shanghai and the general natural beauty of these places was a great recipe for taking some of my favorite photos.

Now I'm back in Colorado trying to figure out what it means to be a photographer. Most of my future posts will probably be about hikes I'm doing around here, something to keep me shooting, and posting new work. But, I do want to write about and show photos from the past so maybe we will get some throwbacks as well. If this didn't bore the crap out of you please signup and get updates when I get around to posting something new. Lastly, shameless plug, most of the photos from these posts, along with many others, are for sale on my website ianliptonphoto.com. Check it out and if there is anything you see here that isn't available there get in touch and I'm sure we can work something out.

Until the next time,

Ian

If you are interested in purchasing any of these prints, you can find most of them HERE.

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