“Where most see the strength of a lone survivor, I see the result of a strong community.”
Victor Ellison

Today's interview subject is Victor Ellison, a fine art photographer living and working in Western North Carolina. Victor is passionate about his work and his life and it shows. Find out more about Victor and his latest work on his web site at victorellison.com.

How did you get started in photography?

Victor: My interest in photography was there from an early age. The idea of capturing a moment in time that you could carry around ignited my young imagination. I didn’t actually pick up a camera until many years later but I always spent a lot of time outdoors, and wanted to share my adventures.

“Beauty can be found everywhere if we’re only willing to look.”

You have spoken at length about your love for nature, saying "I'm only truly happy when in nature...I'm home" How did you discover this connection to nature is a necessary part of your existence?

Victor: I think the NEED for nature was discovered after finding myself unfulfilled by everything else the world had offered me. I was depressed and disenchanted. We’re told to work hard, build credit, buy a house, start a family, live, and die. That’s our purpose, or so we’re told. These things are important, but they’re only a means, not an end. No one’s destination in life is to own a big house with a white picket fence.

One of the things I appreciate most about your work is how varied it is. Many photographers struggle to find their style while you seem to move effortlessly between several styles, producing beautiful minimalist images on one day and brilliant explorations of color on another. How do you do it?

Victor: When I started in photography, I had very little time to pursue it. There were times when I could only get out once or twice a month due to other obligations, and even then I had little choice on the location or time of day. I was forced to make do with what I had.

I believe this led to my varied interests in subjects. If the only time I had to shoot was high noon on a clear day, I figured out how to make it work. I couldn’t shoot a grand, sweeping landscape in those conditions, but perhaps I could find an equally beautiful fern tucked in the shade beneath an old tree. Maybe this is why I’ve never been a photographer that can plan a shoot well, or maybe it makes me opportunistic. Beauty can be found everywhere if we’re only willing to look.

“It takes a special kind of crazy passion to be a good nature photographer.”

I like that idea, that your weaknesses can be your greatest strengths if you use them well. If that’s your secret, it’s working well. Your love for the land shows in every shot. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring landscape photographer, what would it be?

Victor: Don’t pursue it for money or fame, you’ll find little of either. Do it because it’s all you can think about. It takes a special kind of crazy passion to be a good nature photographer. If you don’t have that passion then no amount of seminars, workshops, or fancy gear will save you. There must be a love of photography, yes, but the love of the land is paramount.

To see more of Victor’s work and support this talented local artist, visit his web site at victorellison.com