Say hello to Dylan :
Where are you from? Where have you been?
I was born and raised in western Colorado. What many people don’t realize is that the western part of Colorado is desert, and Utah is not far away. I have a love affair between the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains and the wild canyons of the Colorado Plateau (southern Utah). Pretty much all of my decisions to move have revolved around discovering new mountains or wild places, minus a move to southern California that only lasted seven months. And my travels, well, they typically take me to the mountains: Himalayas, Andes, Alps, etc.
What’s your favorite place in the world?
I’d have to say Ladakh in Northern India is my favorite part of the world because it’s like Colorado stacked on top of Utah, quite literally. Leh, the capital, is at 14,000 feet and is one of the driest places on the planet. It is surrounded by ragged peaks that rival all the mountain ranges I have ever visited. Plus, it’s a Buddhist region, so the people are wonderful, beautiful, and enlightened.
What’s on your “bucket list” of ideas to create?
I’d love to capture the human beauty in the beauty of nature, with an emphasis on the nature. There are plenty of beautiful people going into nature, doing shoots and coming back with an amazing frame or two. But many times, those frames are dominated with a half-naked body. That’s beautiful and all, but the focus is still on the person. I want the focus to be on the landscape. The person is there for context.
How would you describe your visual style?
It’s constantly changing. I started out in journalism, so the emphasis was always on faces and being able to identify the person. Then came body language. I’ve since veered away from faces, as I think body language is so powerful! I like simple photos – less is more so to speak, and I’m not afraid to use negative space.
What was the moment you decided to become a photographer?
I won first place in my high school art show for my second black-and-white photograph ever taken. That was pretty cool, but I never thought photography would become my career. I just thought I’d always have a camera to use as a hobby. After I nearly flunked out of university, mostly due to my skiing and partying habits, I started along the path of photojournalism with the idea that I could document my friends skiing and get them published in mags. When that didn’t quite pan out, I started looking at newspapers. I then realized the power of the camera and what change it can make. That’s when my focus really began.
What is the strangest situation you’ve ever faced as a photographer?
When I worked as a photojournalist, I was faced with many graphic and intense situations. One of the first snowstorms of the year, a young girl was struck by a car in front of our office. We heard the call on the scanner. I was eager to get something powerful, to make a name for myself so to speak. What I encountered was a crowd of gawkers, angry at the driver. As I snapped photos, the mob soon turned on me: spitting on me, calling me names, etc. Later that evening, I broke down and cried. I was flooded by emotion. The camera has the ability to capture and show everything: the cruel and disgusting to the beautiful and loving. I choose the latter.
What has been your biggest setback as a photographer?
My biggest setback was taking a job as the online editor for Bike Magazine. It was the wrong fit, but at the same time, it was in a dream industry. It was what I’d been striving for my whole life. It took me seven months to finally get up the courage to quit. It was terrible. I let many of my client contacts lapse, and ran off on a personal exploration to India, furthering my distance from my clients. I’ve since had to start anew.
What was your most memorable photoshoot?
On my personal exploration in India, I came across a group of plantation workers deep in the Southern Ghat mountains. They didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak their language, but I took portraits of them, showed them on the camera, and everyone got really into it. It was magical.
What’s your philosophy when it comes to being a great photographer?
It’s all about collaboration. I can’t get a good photo if I don’t have a good model, and vice versa. I love the interaction between subject and photographer. There’s a certain, inexplicable bond that arises.
What is your most life-changing event?
I was on a path to become a sponsored mountain bike athlete. I was starting to take it very seriously, training a ton and convincing myself I had a chance to go pro. I then severely broke my leg, ending my dreams on the side of a mountain. That served as the catalyst to me taking photography, particularly photojournalism, seriously.
What has photography done for you as a person?
It has made me appreciate collaboration. It’s given me so many new perspectives on the world and relationships.
What will you be doing five years from now?
I hope to be immersed in the commercial photography and directing world.
For anyone that wants to get in touch with Dylan, here’s some contact information:
Dylan, thanks for taking the time to share your transcendent story!
If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.