I recently had the pleasure of interviewing one of my all time favorite landscape photographers, Marc Adamus. Marc is an award-winning landscape photographer based in Corvallis, Oregon, whose images have been featured in countless publications, including Outside and National Geographic Adventure.
Tell me about your life pre-photography. How did you first get into photography? What did you think you would be when you grew up? I heard you worked as a chef at one point, is this correct?
When I was in my teens and early twenties my entire life revolved around the next outdoor adventure, particularly in remote places, winter, and in the mountains. I got into photography seriously in 2001, after carrying a camera with me on mountain and wilderness trips for several years, just to document my adventures. My greatest influence at the time was the late Galen Rowell; a world famous climber/photographer, whose work inspired me to dive into the art of photography. I did have a job as a chef in a past life and did the culinary arts thing for awhile, hoping I’d be able to move to whatever beautiful places I wanted and find a job. That job experience was mixed with many others that ranged from a camera store, an outdoor store and wildland firefighting, all so I could continue to plan and finance my next escape to the wilds somewhere.
If you are comfortable in saying, how many kids do you have? As a new dad myself, I am really experiencing the challenges of balancing family and photography. Do you ever bring your family on photography trips?What has your experience been like, and what advice would you give to someone like me?
My son, named Galen, came along in 2009 four years after I had met my wife, Anni. We have taken dozens of trips around the country and the world together and are off to New Zealand soon for 3 weeks. Despite all the family adventures, I keep photography trips totally separate, as they consume about 200 days out of my year. The camera doesn’t come out during my treasured family time, although recently my son has shown interest in helping me ‘scout’ for trips, hiking and flying around in helicopters in Alaska and such, and is keen towards escaping outdoors. For a dad who’s away a lot on his own shoots, I could have probably picked a worse profession. I am doing what I love, and I think of all of our time together as being high quality time. I am able to provide well for them so they can live their lives to the fullest, and we keep in touch always.
Tell me about your most exciting project this past year and what you are most excited about coming up in the next year.
In three days, I leave to spend 3 weeks backpacking in the Kharta Valley in the Tibetan Himalaya near mount Everest, a place few Westerners ever get to see. I also have major expeditions planned to Greenland, Alaska and a different part of Tibet in coming years.
Do you ever feel burnt out and if so, how do you re-inspire yourself?
I keep it moving all the time so I rarely feel burned out. The world is an enormous place. There are always new adventures, new challenges. To feel like it has ‘all been done’ is silly and just shows a lack of imagination and desire. The only time I feel burnt out would be if I was in a place filled with other photographers, which is never a problem for me.
What are your top 5 personal favorite images?
A ‘personal favorite’ image is hard to pick, and is so often for reasons that go beyond what meets the eye, but these are some I am very fond of. Feel free to use these with the article.
More of Marc’s work can be seen on his website.
Chip Phillips began his relationship with photography in 2006 when his father gave him his old Pentax Spotmatic film SLR camera. Chip was immediately hooked and soon made the transition to digital. Given his lifelong love of the outdoors, he naturally made the progression to focusing on landscape photography. A professionally trained classical musician, Chip also performs as Principal Clarinet with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, and is Adjunct Professor of Clarinet at Gonzaga University. Chip resides in Spokane Washington with his wife and son.