Today we’re going to talk to a photographer whose creativity and capacity for work astonishes at first sight. So, please welcome Tony Sweet. He’s a many-sided personality who has achieved success in various spheres of life (that includes music, lectureship, photography, authoring). He’s one of these great guys that you would call a self-made man. And this experience is reflected in his photos.
Tony is known as American nature photographer who likes travelling and finding new camera-catchy landscapes. His portfolio is filled with amazing pictures from locations in Iceland, Cuba and USA among others. His photographer’s eye captures things that ordinary people are more likely to miss.
And now we offer you to get to know Tony Sweet. After the interview you can view his photos and say how much you like them.
1.Tony, you used to be a musician and a magician. Now you’re a photographer whose photos are well known worldwide. Do you have any secret key which opens all creative doors for you? We’re sure there are many inspired people who will be glad to follow you on this path.
Well, obviously, there is no way to quantify one’s life, but being an only child, I had a lot of time to study, develop, and pursue various hobbies. The problem was that all of my hobbies became careers! I guess the key is to not limit oneself and worry about when one starts something. It’s never too late. I became a professional jazz musician at age in my late twenties, a professional close-up magician in my thirties, and began my photography career at age 44!
2.Do you remember your first photo? Was it a great shot that determined your future career? Or was it just a shot which makes you smile now?
I actually do remember my first nature photo, taken at the Cincinnati Nature Center of an early morning reflection in the lake. It was a slide and I cannot find it in my files, but have the next few that I shot from the area. I’m not sure where it led, but I remember being very excited at how the image looked after developing it. Back in the day of slides, there was no instant feedback. We had to create the image in camera using filters and had to know about exposure (aperture and shutter speed). That is why photographers needed to shoot brackets: there was no digital technology to “fix” a mistake, hence the art of photographic craftmanship was much more evolved.
3.You started as a film photographer. Now that the digital cameras rule the world, do you still use your old film camera?
God, no! Whenever I have to scan slides for a publisher, I notice has very noisy transparencies are. And, unless drum scanned, slides really can’t hold a candle to a properly exposed digital file.
4.Tony, it’s hard to find any people captured on your photos. But at the same time you actively communicate as a photographer, lecturer and workshop holder. Do you consider people to be too destructive elements in photography?
I’ll photograph a human element in a scene when it adds interest to the composition, but am not a people photographer or a wildlife photographer, per se. Although, light is used in the same way with all subjects, I prefer scenes without people in most cases.
5.Your photos are used by such giants of photography industry as Nikon, NikSoftware, Singh Ray, Alien Skin, Lensbaby, and others. Please tell us what does the photographer feel when his reputation rises so high?
I appreciate the question, but to me, this is just a job and getting published is part of the job, however, it does take some work and showing up at trade shows, etc. to cultivate relationshops with vendors, just like in any other business. In terms of one’s reputation, I guard it jealously. Our reputation is really all that we have in this, or any other business. Maintaining an unblemished reputation is critically important to me.
6.Tony, you’re such an active person: you’re a photographer, a lecturer, a books author, a blogger a the god knows what else. Does your day have more than 24 hours?
Well, obviously we all have 24 hr days, although they seem to speed up as the years go by! The speed with which time passes motivates me to be as productive as possible for as long as I’m able
7.It’s well known that inspiration is one hell of an unstable thing. So where do you take yours from?
I really don’t rely on inspiration or I would take about 6 pictures a year! As a professional, it’s the job to always find pictures in the best light possible, and to have the ability to help the light a bit in post processing. But, when inspiration does strike, I am immersed in the moment and don’t really realize it until the light starts to fade.
8.Tony, can you please describe your regular workday? Sometimes people think that photographers capture shots all day long and that’s all. Is it true or is there something bigger than simply ‘flicking around’ with camera?
When home, I am on the computer all day. Occasionally, we’ll wander out for some local photography, but most of our photography is done on the road, before and after workshops. During workshops, I’ll shoot a bit with the workshop clients, but photograph very little uring the weeklong events.
9.Do you work on some interesting projects/books at the moment? Ok, we know you do :-) What are they?
A couple of books are in the pipeline (e books and hardcover). We’ll discussing another location video within the year. And have iPhone/iPad apps in the works. My Betterphoto classes are starting up again in November.
10.And the last question. Imagine you could ask a fairy to present you some photography gadget or something like that. Perhaps even a fictional or an imaginary one. What would it be? Is there something that you’re dreaming of?
I’m actually hoping for a professional (high resolution) mirrorless camera system to replace my very heavy backpack full of gear. The Fuji XPro1 and the SonyNX both appears to be on the forefront, but not quite there, yet. But, it’ll happen soon.
My dream?? To win the lottery and get a $2million converted motor coach towing a state of the art ATV. And to live in the greatest places in the country at the greatest times of year, and, of course, work on non stop book projects!
We’re glad that Tony found time for interview in his crazy day. And now you can enjoy his photos.
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