We have been wanting to feature Bobby Earle as our Guest Photographer Judge for quite some time. His photography is moving, poignant and definitely tells a story. He was the perfect fit for our Photojournalism theme this week! While he is also a wedding photographer, photojournalism is a strong part of his career as well.
He writes: I enjoy life on an insane level. Married to a rad chick. About to have a son. Travel the world. Shoot weddings. Blog too much about nothing. I believe in being kind to all people you interact with and interacting with people who think opposite of you.
Bobby’s Photography Journey:
I found photography by accident. Lindsay and I went all over the world for non-profit work (which is how we met) — so we always loved traveling. Our first year anniversary, (after setting money aside from donating plasma twice a week for a solid year) I surprised Lindsay with a two and a half month trip all over Europe. I told her Christmas morning and we left two days later. Having some Christmas gift money, we bought a little film rebel. I was shown how to load film and figured the rest out while backpacking. It just all fell into place from there 🙂 If you want a much more detailed story, you can check out my interview with Totally Rad Actions — I blab on and on and on and on about it.
Bobby’s Favorite Face Photos:
I love this image so much. The lake village at Tonle Sap (near Siem Reap, Cambodia) was pretty dried out so we were able to walk around. I’ve been to this village several times and love it. It’s just a lifestyle of such simplicity — I can’t help but love it. This little girl was just sitting here. I clearly involved myself in the image by having her notice me — but her reaction is so genuine. I love it.
It’s hard to beat a portrait of a man hours out of town — in the middle of the Chinese countryside — who lives on the Simatai section of the Great Wall (the unrestored section) and rolls his own cigarettes.
Sometimes faces can be seen without faces. I love this image because if you know these two — you know Dug, their bulldog, is their life. It’s a different kind of portrait that I enjoy 🙂
The orphanage that Lindsay and I worked at years ago — and now visit as often as we can — is a little slice of heaven. This boy’s portrait is a perfect example of that.
I like how obvious this image is. Just a girl in a foreign country (that happens to be my wife :).
Another out in the Tonle Sap (Cambodia). These two had no clue I even existed. One completely naked. Fishing in the shallows for little shrimp — just everyday life for them. I love it.
Frank Black. That is all.
I love these guys. I mean that in the most literal sense. I love and care about these guys so much. They’ve taught me so much about life. I did an entire blog post dedicated to them 🙂
Do I even need to say anything? Katie’s expression just shows how amazing life is when you’re washing elephants in a river out in Thai countryside.
Fun Q&A with Bobby:
- What do you love most about capturing faces?
It might sound incredibly narcissistic, and it just might be, but I love shooting people with the idea in mind that when they see their image later they’ll think “freaking awesome!!!!!!” I also have a goal that after the person I’m shooting has past on, that people will look at the photo I shot with fondness. Pictures can remind us how incredible life was — and still is — so I love that fact when shooting faces 🙂
- What do you find most difficult about capturing faces?
The goal is to do a screen grab of the person’s soul, you know? And sort of paste that screen grab into my memory card. I know… deep, isn’t it? 😛 Sometimes that process can get a little challenging. Some people are harder to break — harder to get them to drop the wall. But those people can end up being some of the most rewarding to shoot.
- What is your favorite photo shoot?
It was in the jungles of Cambodia during monsoon season — absolutely pouring down rain. Some local kids were out playing in a pond in front of Angkor Wat — having a total blast. I set up my tripod and let them take photos of me and Lindsay — their first time ever using a camera so they had a blast — and then I got some awesome images of them living it up. Every trip to Cambodia, I’m reminded of how simplicity makes for the best childhood.
- What was your most stressful, most embarrassing or most fun photography moment?
I’m never stressed or embarrassed — and I’ve had plenty of reason to be embarrassed! I just lack the ability to feel that way, I suppose 🙂 The funnest photography moment… oh, that’s SO hard! One that comes to mind is being out in China and shooting Stephen and Shelby’s Beijing engagement photos. Shelby is my translator for my trips out in China — and a great friend. Having gone to China regularly over the last ten years (and her living there for many years now) we both LOVE the culture — so trying to squeeze “China” into their images was such an incredibly fun experience 🙂
Bobby’s Helpful Hints:
For starters, I think it’s so important for photographers to be lovers of life first — and photographers second. I get nearly every ounce of my inspiration for photography from my love for life, my family, friends, the outdoors, different cultures, and so on. That, in my opinion, is so much more inspiring than checking 15 photographers’ blogs every day.
Second, I think it’s equally important for photographers to be genuine first and original last. To put it bluntly, not to even bother with being original. I wrote an entire post about that here if you care to hear me babble on and on about it 😉
Aside from that, I love helping photographers however I can! I know that’s cliche to say, but I genuinely do — as I was helped so much when I was getting my feet wet. Whether it’s on my FAQ posts, my Before and After Wednesdays, if you join me on the Raddest Photo Trip Ever in Thailand and Cambodia this December, or if you’re in the neighborhood and want to grab Chick-fil-a with me (our FAVORITE place!)… I genuinely enjoy being around people — and photographers are people, so they count 🙂 I’m never sure how much I actually help but I sure do love trying 🙂
Bobby’s Camera Gear:
I shoot with 5D Mark II’s and lots of primes and tilt shifts. I am a total lover of Totally Rad Actions & Presets! I’m surprised everyone isn’t using Showit Sites — the best web design software alive! I use the living daylights out of my Shootsac (even more for travel than weddings!). And Smugmug keeps me afloat with the best value around for online back up and image sharing/selling. And none of those people pay me to say that… not yet 😉
Find Bobby Here:
Was that not the most amazing and interesting interview ever?! We are thrilled to have you here with us this week Bobby!
Please feel free to write Bobby a note or to ask him a photography-related question in the comments section below.
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