While it is not a big part of our Photography Camp, Photography campers in 2014 will get a chance to “pick the brains” of our professional photographers concerning how exactly they have gone about earning all or part of their living with photography.
I have been most fortunate in getting to know many professional photographers. Some have have become my best friends, hence the creation of the Columbia Gorge Teen Photography Camp. Some specialize in weddings, portraits, corporate or travel photography. The sky seems to be the limit with photography. In terms of earning a living doing what you love, photography seems to be king! Outdoor photographers often specialize in action sports they already participate in at a high level: These would include surfing, kite surfing, windsurfing, snow skiing, snowboarding , water skiiing or wake boarding, or rock climbing or mountaineering, among many other sports and adventure sports. This stands to reason! A surfing photographer will get much better surfing photographs if he is an advanced or expert surfer. He will know who the best surfers are to photograph, the best surfing beaches to shoot, the best wind and tide conditions to be present, and would also know the lingo and the ins and outs of that particular action-sport. Many photographers shoot a bit of this and a bit of that, to keep broadening their horizons, to replenish their bank accounts and to broaden their customer base. But many end up specializing in shooting the sport they love the most and actively pursue.
Ski photography is something that is very close to my heart as I have worked as a skier for professional photographers, and even photographed some excellent skiers, myself. High level, adventurous alpine snow skiing, particularly powder skiing, has been a very big part of my life for over 45 years. I have had the good fortune to have skied with some of the best skiers in the world, and with some of the best ski photographers of the world. These guys earn their humble living, let me tell you…
When renowned Alta Ski Photographer, Lee Cohen, recently brought me a signed copy of his book, “Alta Magic,” I was stunned by its overall beauty, and by his uncanny ability to capture some of the most spectacular moments of this surreal-high action sport of deep powder skiing. While there are lots of ski photographers who shoot powder skiing, no one to my knowledge has ever captured these sublime moments as subjectively and captivatingly and authentically as Lee. Please enjoy the following interview with celebrated ski photographer, Lee Cohen as he is interviewed by backcountry.com. Learn how he got started, and how he gets absolutely amazing photographs again and again of the famous deep powder skiing of Alta, Utah. Special thanks to Lee Cohen and backcountry.com for allowing us to reprint this fascinating interview. Enjoy
ALTA MAGIC: AN INTERVIEW WITH LEE COHEN, LEGENDARY SKI PHOTOGRAPHER
posted on December 2, 2013
I grew up within the tight-knit community of Alta, Utah, and the walls of my bedroom and most of my surroundings were covered with photographs taken by Lee Cohen—everything from the iconic white-room powder turn somewhere in the Cottonwood Canyons to a triple-rigged raft engulfed in the powerful rapids of the Cataract Canyon River. If you’ve ever taken a moment to look through an outdoor magazine, or a Patagonia or Columbia clothing catalog, chances are you’ve seen one of Lee’s photographic visions.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in New York. I skied a bunch as a kid, not as much as families that had ski houses. My dad had skied during the ’40s, so he took me to the old school places—this little place Silvermine that doesn’t exist any more, Bromley, Mt. Snow. I had some friends who had ski houses near Hunter and Stratton. I got to go with them sometimes.
How did you get your start in photography? Were there any specific
motivations or influences?
I liked shooting pictures, so I started shooting my friends skiing. There wasn’t really anybody around Alta doing that, and ski photography was in a considerably earlier stage. There were a few ski photographers then, but it wasn’t as big of a deal as it is now. There wasn’t any kind of scene like there is now, and there wasn’t even such a thing as a pro skier in the sense that there is now.
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