Interview With Michael Bollino

For nearly twenty years Michael Bollino has explored the mountains, deserts and coastlines of the Pacific Northwest. In this exclusive interview he reveals his past experiences from travelling and photographing the world, as well as his present and future plans

You grew up in Maryland, and during your college years, you began photography to record your outdoor trips. Were you inclined towards landscape photography back then and is Maryland a photogenic place for landscape photography?

My college experience in Maryland was a turning point in my life. I met a great friend there who was a climber and wilderness junkie – meeting him really changed my life. He opened my eyes to all that the outdoor world has to offer, not just in the physical sense, but also how the adventuring in the natural world can transform someone on a personal level. We would go to New England for some winter climbing or out West into the Rocky Mountains whenever we had the chance. I took albums and albums worth of photographs on our trips. These visual reminders of these experiences were very important to me. I remember pulling out the albums in my college apartment and just thinking… “Wow, when is the next time I can get back out there?”

Maryland has some remarkably beautiful places. It’s a rather small state so it doesn’t offer a huge array of photographic opportunities for landscape photography. There are a few places which do come to mind: Chesapeake Bay, Great Falls National Park, and the rolling hill country of the Appalachian mountains. If you venture a little further out into West Virginia you have outstanding mountain vista locations in addition to some of the best waterfall shooting on the East coast. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to shoot these locations since becoming more serious about my photography. Hopefully this will change in the near future!

After college you moved to Oregon. Is this because you wanted to devote more time to outdoor pursuits or was this move due to photography? How involved were you with photography then?

I worked in Olympic National Park for two summers during college which inspired my move to the Pacific Northwest after graduation. Olympic is an enthralling place: huge trees, rugged remote mountains, a wild and undeveloped coastline, remote wilderness, and green everywhere. My roommate there was a photographer. Before I climbed Mt. Olympus he slipped a roll of slide film into my pack, telling me to save it for summit day. I couldn’t believe the level of clarity and detail the slides offered. After that I started ...

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