by Alyssa Laube
About: Chris Collacott is an award-winning photographer who specializes in panoramic images. Among his most successful pieces are the photos of our very own Vancouver. For more information on Chris, go to http://www.avision.ca
How did you get started in photography? Did you instantly have a passion for it?
I think I’ve always loved taking images with a camera – since I was a child. It was in 2008 when I purchased my first DSLR, and my passion grew with the fact that I had creative control over the end results of the image capture. My passion really grew from that point.
What do you consider your “big break”?
My big break would have happened in 2010 at which time I started to sell my work in volume. That allowed me invest in better tools and recognize that I should continue to pursue my passion more seriously.
How have you developed as an artist, both professionally and personally?
Honestly, I still have difficulty calling myself an ‘artist’. I grew up excelling in math, science and technology – and even garnered a 17 year career in technology. My passion is capturing our amazing landscapes and cityscapes to the best of my ability. I don’t spend much time thinking about myself and how I am ‘developing’ as an artist. I just go out there and do it.
What was the last artwork that had a lasting effect on you? How so?
Unlike a painter who may spend months on a single piece – my work is a progression of images and features of locations and moments in time. I see them as a collective group for certain areas and places that I capture, and therefore don’t have a specific “work” that affects me more than another. I do know that in order to capture my images, I have experienced and been to amazing places that are beyond words – the experience of being in those places are what has a long lasting effect on me. It affects me by reminding me that our time is very small compared to geological time.
Recently, you won a 2013 Epson International Photographic Panorama Award, among others. How does that feel?
Like any art, there are people who like it, and don’t like it as art is highly subjective. Therefore, always feels great to know that other peers in my industry recognizes and appreciates my work.
What is it about this city (Vancouver) that inspires you?
As a landscape and cityscape photographer – everything! Honestly, I don’t think I would have found this passion or career unless I lived in Vancouver. It is the natural beauty of our city and geographic surrounding that has inspired and pushed me to get out there and do what I love to do.
How has the development in technology impacted your work as a photographer?
Yes, of course. Having worked in the technology sector for 17 years, I am a technical person in how I perform most of my daily tasks. I am often a early adopter with technology and that also influences my passion of photography. I don’t think I would have gotten into photography unless it was digital – I could never consider using film cameras. So technology is an integral part of my tool kit in my work.
Your use of panoramic photography is well-known. What motivated you to start taking panoramic photographs, and why do you believe that they are so stunning?
I’ve always love stunning and ultra-wide landscapes. When I started taking photos long ago with a point and shoot camera, I just felt I could never fit everything in a single shot, so I simply moved the camera over a bit, and took another photo to “extend” the view. Also, I felt that taking a single shot did not capture all the detail I wanted in the landscape as my eyes saw. That motivated me to start taking panoramic images – and by taking more than a single photo, taking multiple images increases the overall detail of the image and resolution. What makes some of my work “stunning” is simply the clarity and detail when printed large. Some of my panoramic are gigapixel sized images – so even if printed 12 feet wide – the detail and clarity is still there. Which would be impossible with a single shot. The images I capture also exceed the image quality of a single shot from a medium and large format film cameras – hands down.
Where do you get inspiration for your photography?
I get my inspiration for my work from hiking and being outside. Our location here in British Columbia is saturated with beautiful landscapes – and it does not take very far to find inspiration.
Have you ever gotten “Artist’s Block” and if so, how did you deal with it?
I have yet to experience this. My problem now is lack of time to get out and shoot! I have a young family which I love spending time with and is obviously my main priority :).
What was the first piece of art you sold?
The first print I sold was in 2009 called “Urban Reflections” – a single shot of False Creek.
What is your favorite (and least favorite) thing about being a photographer?
The favorite thing about being a full time photographer is that I get to enjoy doing what I love as a career. Getting outside, hiking mountains and capturing amazing scenes. The least favorite part is having to wait for the right light and weather to get those shots ;).
With two small children at home, it must be challenging to balance work and family! How do you go about doing it?
Time for me is the limiting factor in everything – there just is not enough of it in the day! From there, my family is the priority for my time spent (obviously) followed by my passion of photography. While there are challenges – it all seems to work out in the end.