“To develop your own voice in photography you have to be working on something you feel you MUST be shooting. You will never get there by shooting what you assume others want from you. Pay no attention to what is expected of you.”
Nathan Pearce (born in 1986) is a contemporary photographer from the US, currently based in Fairfield, Illinois (USA). He’s self-taught when it comes to photography. Nathan Pearce is currently working on turning his body of work about home and identity into a book. More information about his “Midwest Dirt Project”.
“There is a certain feeling in the middle of America. I try to find it.”
Interview with Nathan Pearce
Nathan, what was your most memorable moment shooting pictures?
Shooting in Oaxaca Mexico during the day of the dead was so surreal. I will never forget it.
Why did you become a photographer?
I have loved taking pictures since my youth. My love of photography gradually evolved until eventually it was something that I couldn’t do without. Now I couldn’t put my camera down if I tried, I’m happy about that.
What does photography mean to you and what do you want to transmit with your pictures?
I think photography is fascinating in a way that other forms of art can’t be. In my current project I want to show what my native Midwestern United States feels like to me.
Which photographer has inspired you most?
Your favorite photography quote?
“Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.”
David Alan Harvey
How would you describe your photographic voice and creative process?
I strive to show what my life and home looks like to me in this part of my life. I am simply living my life with a camera. Hopefully I am successfully saying something about what it’s like to be in my life.
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic voice? To develop your own voice in photography you have to be working on something you feel you MUST be shooting. You will never get there by shooting what you assume others want from you. Pay no attention to what is expected of you.
What do you consider to be the axis of your work – technically and conceptually?
I shoot close. That is the main thing for me both conceptually and technically. I am in the lives of the people who I am photographing.
What qualities and characteristics does a good photographer need?
They must have something to say.
What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes?
I don’t know how to describe it but I know it when I see it. If it is truly great it will stick with you, it will be unforgettable.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
When shooting my project I draw inspiration from everything around me. The endless open land around me, a country song on the radio, Memories of my family playing bluegrass at my great grandmas house and even my job in the auto body shop.
What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?
I try to use as little gear as possible. Recently I have had a few different Canon DSLR’s and a Panasonic GF2. When shooting I mostly take only one camera and one lens.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
I have many but I must say that the newest favorite is surely “The Art of Creative Photography”.
What photography book would you recommend?
I will never get tired of Larry Towell’s book “The World from my Front Porch”.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a (professional) photographer?
Go shoot every day. Show off what you make to anyone who will look at it, online or otherwise. See what is said, take the criticism no matter how harsh and hopefully take a few compliments as well. Then go out and shoot some more.