Would you mind introducing yourself? Not at all. My name is Joe. I’m a 25-year-old photographer living in Seattle, Washington. I’m originally from the Midwest, which is why I think I gravitate towards taking photographs of the sky - I grew up in a place with big, beautiful, ever-changing skies.
Joe’s Instagram - @joeduffy_
How would you describe your style of photography? I’ve always struggled with that question, but I try to take photos that you can feel. As if you were right there in that same moment. I take a lot of pictures of the outdoors…well, because I like being outdoors. Especially now that I live in Washington State, I’m kind of obsessed with heading into the mountains and seeing what all is out there.
When did you first fall in love with taking photos? I was probably about 10 years old. My grandparents used to take my brother and me to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee for a long weekend. They’d give us each a disposable camera to document the trip. I still keep those photos in a box at their house. I loved seeing the world through those cameras.
Do you have a favourite photography related memory, whether it be in front or behind the camera? My dad gave me my first DSLR. It used to be his, until I broke my nose playing soccer and had to have surgery. I was bedridden for a couple of weeks but once it started to heal, he gave me his camera to make me feel better. I remember taking it to a local botanical garden near my house at the time and just experimenting with it. Photographing everything. It was my first time out of the house in weeks and my first time with a real camera. I love seeing the photos someone takes when they first get a camera - I think they’re often some of the best I’ve ever seen. Because when you first start out, there are no rules - there’s just you and the camera and wherever you are. You start to see things differently - and those photos are evidence of that transformation.
What inspires your photography? The outdoors mostly, but also everyday life. Most of the shots I share are from hikes or backpacking trips, but some of my favourites are just random moments where I was paying attention. Someone waiting for the bus or people hanging out at the park. My favourite photos are almost always candid - rarely posed.
What kind of camera do you use? I shoot with a Nikon D610 primarily. But I’ve also been known to throw my drone up from time to time. I love seeing the world from different perspectives, and a drone is perfect for that.
Are there any tips you would like to give to anyone out there who would love to create similar style photos to yours? Ha, it shouldn’t take much. Just go outside and bring your camera. Try to live in the moment but don’t forget to pay attention to your surroundings. It’s also good to go out by yourself or with just one other person. Sometimes those quiet moments are the most creative.
Who are some of your favourite photographers? Ansel Adams is my number one. I just can’t. even. imagine. what his adventures must have felt like. Not to mention the fact that he wasn’t just a photographer but an environmentalist as well. I also really enjoy Scott Kranz’ 50 Peaks Project. I love the way he captured the North Cascades. It takes a very unique person and a special level of dedication to not only commit to a project like that but also to capture it so magnificently. And then there’s Joe Greer. I don’t like to use the term ‘legend’ but the man is one. And he will be for a long, long time.
Are there any photographers here on Instagram that you wish more people knew about? Jeen Na (@hwajeenna). I’ve actually never met him, but we went to the same school and he shoots beautiful film. Lindsey Wasson (@lindseywasson). She an incredible photojournalist (you might have already seen her work). I met her when I first moved to Seattle and she was working for the Seattle Times. I shot out a few emails to the photographers on their website hoping to connect with other photographers in the area and she was the only one to meet me for coffee. I think that says a lot about her personality. I love the way she shoots, especially events - she’s an expert at capturing the little details perfectly. Kevin Chong (@thekchong). I met this young lad while I was on a solo trip to London. We were hanging out in the same tunnel making photos of Big Ben (he was actually making a time-lapse if memory serves). We got to talking and I’ve been an avid fan of his photography ever since. His work has that same natural feeling that I try to capture in my own photography.
Which time of year is your favourite for taking photographs? Summertime. Especially, in Seattle, when it’s daylight from 6 in the morning until 9 or 10 at night. While I enjoy golden hour as much as anyone, I try not to limit myself to shooting an hour a day. There's a lot of very interesting, worthwhile things happening during all of those other hours, summertime especially.
What would be your number one dream destination for a photography adventure? I’ve always wanted to go to Africa. The only trouble is that I couldn’t pick one particular spot - I want to see all of it. From Egypt to Cape Town. That might take me awhile.
Joe’s Instagram - @joeduffy_
Joe’s Website - https://joeduffy.co/