Photographer Spotlight – Chris Edwards
Tell us about yourself…
Born in Texas but moved to Ohio when I was 2. Still claim Texas. Grew up riding my bike everywhere. Like, everywhere… I was always on my bike or fixing my bike. I lived in a suburban neighborhood in Ohio and there was a truck that would drive through the neighborhood spraying a foggy insect pesticide on summer evenings. I used to love to follow it on my bike, riding through the dense fog. Might explain a lot…
How did you discover your love for photography?
My brother, grandfather and uncle were all photographers, so I grew up around it. My brother is 10 years older and he would take me with him on photo excursions shooting steam powered trains with large format cameras. I’d stand in the dark red light of the bathroom of our parents’ house and process the film and make prints. I was hooked. My brother bought me my first camera for Christmas when I was 10 or 11, which was a Nikon EM, I think.
Who are some of your favorite photographers? (Past or Present)
I’m drawn toward work that gets deep into the subject. Irving Penn (duh) had a real gift for that and it didn’t really matter what the subject was. On the contemporary side, I really like the work of Nadav Kander for similar reasons.
You have a broad portfolio of subject matter, architecture, food, people. What would you put your finger on as the key to your success?
In a smaller market you have to be a little broader in subject matter to make it. If I were in NYC, I think art buyers might think I’m too scattered. I don’t think so! The key to my success is that I show up, do the work like it’s all personal and be laid back and kind. Once I get in the door with a client, I tend to hold on to them.
Has your method for approaching and obtaining clients changed over the years?
I feel like these change daily! It’s so much easier to get the work out there than when I started, when you had to pound the pavement dragging your book door to door like a vacuum salesman. It’s easier for everyone though, which has inundated the market with imagery. It’s harder to stand out. Much of my work is word of mouth and referral based. My clients know I’m reliable and there is something about the work that’s different even if they don’t really know why.
How would you describe your approach to your lighting style?
Practical! I don’t want my pictures to look “lit”. We don’t walk around with Rembrandt lighting washing across our faces all the time. My lighting should have a practical motivation out of frame that makes sense to the mood and the narrative I’m trying to achieve.
What is your favorite underrated photographic tool? Why?
I don’t know how underrated this is, but I have a Hasselblad 110 f2 lens that I have dragged from system to system for 20 years…Hasselblad, Canon, Contax 645 and now I can put it on my Phase One XF!
With so many great digital camera systems to choose from today, why Phase One?
It’s critical to me that my work stand out, have a quality that makes the viewer perceive that something is different than the thousands of images we look at every day. Having Phase One in my tool kit gives me the ability and the confidence to do just that.
If you were behind your camera and could choose anything you wanted to be in your viewfinder, where would you be and what would you be looking at?
Something, somewhere that I don’t even know exists yet. Someone said once that to make more interesting pictures, you should lead a more interesting life. I’ll keep exploring with my camera to see what amazing things are there that I have no idea exist. Maybe in 10 years I can answer this question in the past tense!
Why did you select Capture Integration as your equipment partner?
The same qualities that keep my clients coming back to me. Expertise, reliability, kindness and fairness. I told Steve Hendrix when I first started working with CI that I wished they sold groceries too, so I could buy everything from them!
Connect with Chris Edwards