First guest post on the blog is by landscape photographer Brandon Born. A constant globetrotter, I met him while visiting a friend in Norway last November. In the meanwhile, he’s been featured on National Geographic and the Matador Network. This is the first in a series of posts that will feature the various careers of friends I have from around the world. He is Canadian so spelling will be different, but don’t worry. A photo is a photo. Be inspired.
Photography for me is a wonderful opportunity to share the beauty of this world. To be able to take a location or a moment and share that with so many people across the globe, is a wonderful privilege. This privilege is something that I take to heart and I want to be able to influence people in a positive way; to explore God’s creation and live a healthy lifestyle full of adventure. My name is Brandon Born. I’m a Canadian-born photographer and adventurer. I love travelling and exploring new places, whether it’s in my hometown or an entire new country, I’m game. Photographing places that have been seen by very few eyes is something that drives me to seek out and find beautiful hidden locations.
I don’t want just another photo of the northern lights, I want something that pops out to the viewer and brings them onto the scene.
I want to make them feel like they are standing underneath the magic aurora borealis, or standing above a cliff, hundreds of feet up. I would like people to see my work and want to go out and explore the world for themselves. There is so much beauty that is simply in nature and many people never have the urge to go out and see it firsthand. I don’t want people to just see my pictures, but to also be influenced by them to go and experience these wonders firsthand.
A Change of Heart
Photography is kind of a funny thing for me. I got into it for the wrong reasons, to show off and make people jealous of my lifestyle. I wanted as many likes and shares to fill the hole in my life.
It was only in the last 2 years that I realized how much of an influence the stories and pictures had on people. I then began sharing with a new heart. I hoped that people would start to engage with my work, ask where it was taken, ask the story behind the shot, and just be excited that something so beautiful could be taken in such simple places. My favorite story that has come out of my photography was just the simple fact that so many people can’t believe that 80% of my work comes from my hometown, Cold Lake. The locals in Cold Lake are proud of the nature that surrounds them and to see it recognized internationally has been gratifying for many of them. Many have been supporting and encouraging me by helping find new locations to shoot, displaying/buying my work or simply following my work through social media. It’s been such an honour to have so many people, locally and abroad, believe in me and live vicariously through my travels and work.
This is not my most technical shot, nor is it my most proper, but it’s still one of my favorites. It was about a month after I got my first DSLR camera and I was still learning how to use all the buttons labeled AV, TV, M, P, etc. This particular morning my entire family, except my sister and I, had left to go to the city early in the morning, before I woke up. Luckily, my sister had gotten up to say goodbye to them and saw the sun rising. She was so excited she ran downstairs to my room, shook me awake saying, “Brandon, Get up! The sky is hot pink!” I was a little wary at first, but I soon got out of bed to see this sunrise, and it was no joke, the best sunrise I ever witnessed. We both jumped in the car and rushed down to the beach to see if we could try and capture it with the new camera we both cherished. We played around with the buttons, using every setting there was with no luck whatsoever. So to try and at least get a shot, we decided that we would switch to the auto landscape button and see how that worked, and “tada”. My favorite shot admittedly was taken with an auto feature.
After seeing the cool influence I can have with this hobby of mine, I try to present a new view. I don’t photograph for my own needs, but rather to help influence those around me and help them get motivated to explore and enjoy life. I love bringing people along on my adventures to share the experiences firsthand and to see what goes on behind each shot. One thing I try hard not to do is force the shot. I almost always bring my camera with me, but I only shoot when I see something beautiful coming. Oddly it takes a really special moment for me to want to take my camera out and set up a shot that I think will be worth sharing. Because of this, the vast majority of my work is 100% real. No Photoshop, no gimmicks, all real events in real places. If people are inspired by my work, they can go out and seek these places out and try to see similar sights that I have photographed myself.
Just around the River Bend
A trip to Norway just wouldn’t be the same without being able to visit the famous Geiranger fjord. It’s certainly famous for a good reason, the sheer size of the cliffs on the side of the fjord are just incredible. I was lucky enough to visit here 3 times, once with my photography class, once on my own, on a boat and a third time camping with the famous Michael Matti who came to visit Ålesund, the city I was living in at the time. The sun was slowly setting and I was set on catching a sun star off the side of the mountain, but a little cloud had prevented that. Luckily just as I was packing up a ray of sun came off the side of the mountain and lit up the cruise ship at the bottom of the fjord. It was like a giant spotlight and man was it ever magical. After shooting, we all climbed into our tents set up on the edge of the cliff, and fell asleep knowing we were just a few meters away from rolling off this beautiful cliff face.
Beautiful Moments are Meant to be Shared
A fun story from when I was in Iceland. I met this old guy who was out shooting with a film camera, he was very weather worn, but his eyes still seemed so youthful, just like how he talked. Always bouncing his words up and down like he just could barely get the words out of his mouth fast enough. He told me the reason he loves photography so much is because it captures the world in a single moment,from a single point of view that will never be the same again. Every image, no matter how similar, will always be slightly different, but with that, it’s my job to try to capture something that is unique. Something that will excite the viewer to visit this spot or meet this person. This was very inspiring for me, it never occurred to me how special a photograph really is. There is nothing else in existence that does the same thing as a camera.
Now I photograph beautiful moments to savour them. Not just myself, but also for those who aren’t fortunate enough to see sights like mountains, northern lights or even, for some people, stars. It’s crazy when you think about what’s in your own backyard. The simplest things to me, like stars or mountains, can’t and won’t ever be viewed by many people. If my photography can capture a moment and share that moment for someone, then that is the greatest privilege ever.