Interview with landscape and outdoor photographer Darwin Wiggett.
You seem to be in love with the Canadian outdoors and especially the Rockies; how did this all start?
As a six-year old I spent time one summer with my grandparents in the Canadian Rockies in an area known as the Kootenay Plains. That time was a huge influence on me and stamped me with a love of nature and the outdoors ever since.
Some photographers have a moment where they know that photography will be their future job and love affair. Have you had such a moment and how did it affect your life?
That moment came in the early 90’s when I captured this image. For me this image of a busted up fence in the prairies told me that, if I could make such a plain subject look beautiful, given the right light and photographic techniques, maybe I could do this hobby as my living.
Working as a professional photographer, what are the pros and cons you come up against on a daily basis?
The biggest con working as a professional is that I shoot only about 25% of the time; the rest of my time is spent on the business of photography. In the past, in the glory days of stock photography, I was able to shoot 50% of the time and the stock agencies did all the work of marketing my photos. Today, photographers need to be everything; marketers, web designers, writers, software gurus, social media experts, accountants and videographers. This leaves little time for actual photography. But, in the end, having your own business and doing creative stuff as your job still makes it all worth the while.
To what degree are your own emotions reflected in your pictures?
I always consider myself a documentary photographer of my emotions. My photographs are not a document of nature but of my head and heart space.
I noticed that you have used a “Gold and Blue” polarising filter on some of your pictures. Can you tell me a few things about this filter, the pros and cons perhaps?
The Gold-n-Blue polariser can make scenes with ‘mundane’ light, e.g. grey overcast, look colourful and inviting. The Gold-n-Blue polariser colours reflective highlights in hues of blue and gold and really makes the image pop. But quite easily it can be a filter that gives garish results; it needs to be used with restraint.
Besides your main interest, landscape photography, I see that you experiment with other genres of photography, portrait, animals, nudes and so on. Please tell me about your philosophy on this; is it just for financial gain, or maybe for fun?
The images I made of kids, dogs, frogs, nudes, still life, etc., were spurred by the need for financial return from stock agencies, but in the end I find I rarely can shoot anything well if I am only doing it for money. If I love the subject first and foremost, I can make images with feeling and creativity, and that will translate into the photographs. My kids’ and dogs’ photographs were best sellers in stock, and I believe it was because I had so much fun making the images. The nudes were a creative, personal challenge, to combine the beauty of the landscape with the human form, both male and female.