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My Story

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

I wrote this for my Facebook page and have since adopted it for my bio on my website, but I thought I would reproduce it in a blog complete with images. As I say in the original post, I'm not much of a writer, but trying new things is fun.

I have been interested in photography since I was a little kid and my older brother had a camera. I think I was interested in a lot of things because my older brother thought they were cool, but photography stuck. I pursued photography as a hobby some in high school and college, but fell out of taking pictures midway through college for several years. Gosh, I guess about ten years. Now I feel old.

In 2016 I got married for a brief period (a story for another time), and our wedding photographer, Bradley Hanson, was great! I was so impressed with how he worked and with the quality of his work that I decided to get back into taking pictures. With some generous advice from Bradley, I bought my first digital camera (an Olympus OM-D) and started carrying it with me everywhere I went.

Around the same time, Bradley was co-hosting a podcast called Outerfocus with Ian Weldon, a British wedding photographer. Through the podcast, I was introduced to a ton of contemporary and historical photographers that started to really open my eyes to different ways of seeing the world. I don’t know how to say it except that listening to these photographers talk about photography (as opposed to gear or whatever) helped me see that compelling pictures can be taken just about anywhere in just about any way. That kind of blew my mind and helped me start just shooting and not worrying about technique and composition so much as making a compelling image. I still listen to Outerfocus and find Ian’s discussions with contemporary photographers in different genres to be inspirational.

I guess photography to me is kind of like jazz in that way. You learn the technique, the “rules” of composition and exposure, how to make a technically correct image the same way you might learn classical musical technique. Then you break them and just...shoot (play). That’s probably a little reductionist vis-a-vis jazz, but you get the idea. Maybe. Like I said, not a great writer.

A girl framed in front of a Jackson Pollock painting at the Met.
A girl framed in front of a Jackson Pollock painting at the Met.

Speaking of finding inspiration through other photographers’ work, my brother turned me on to Stephen Shore early in my recent shooting revival. Talk about an example of compelling images of just about anything! The guy would take pictures of his breakfast, the bathroom, street corners, whatever he found interesting, and man it really works. Jazz. I guess between Shore’s Uncommon Places and the podcast, I started to look for opportunities to shoot everyday life and make compelling pictures from it.

A guy lying on the steps to the subway platform, just waiting for his subway.
A guy waiting for the subway like any normal person would...

I tend to like the images I take the most when the people in them don’t notice me, and are caught just interacting with one another, doing whatever they do. I started looking for opportunities to shoot weddings and events because they provide so many opportunities to sneak around and get shots of people being themselves, letting loose, not posing or feeling awkward in front of a lens. Plus it helps that the guests expect a photographer, so nobody really looks at you funny if you walk up and take their picture. I love shooting weddings and events for these reasons, and I love creating images that will be cherished for years to come. I guess that’s a little egotistical, but I get the warm fuzzies when a client of mine is happy with their pictures, and that doesn’t seem like bad motivation for somebody who is hired to shoot a wedding.

A couple dancing at their wedding reception.
A couple dancing at their wedding reception.

I still carry my camera with me most of the time, and I am still actively looking to shoot more weddings and events. If you like my style, like the images I’ve posted on my Instagram and website, please reach out and say hi; let me know what you think. If you’re looking for a photographer for your own wedding or event, definitely contact me. I would love to be a part of it.

My dog and me posing for our holiday card.
My dog and me posing for our holiday card.

Tags: #nathantonerphotography #coloradophotographer #coloradospringsphotographer #weddingphotographer #eventphotographer #streetphotographer #blackandwhiteisworththefight #justgoshoot

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