Cameron Mehl is a US based commercial photographer who happens to have varied worldly interests. We got a chance to talk to him and know his story. He tells us how his family/friends encouraged him from the beginning in following his heart and pursuing photography. They continue to be the constant pillar of support.
Cameron believes that science and photography can work together. He worked for CURE, an NGO for organising and empowering the poor. In his work at CURE, he documented the lives of children suffering from physical disabilities. We are reproducing the conversation below and we hope this will inspire a lot of aspiring photographers.
(Check out his complete portfolio at cameronmehlphoto.com )
1. Tell us something about your journey as a photographer. Did you always want to become a photographer?
Without the encouragement of my friends and family, I probably wouldn’t even have a photography website. My journey has been filled with wonderful experiences, alone and shared, which I consistently want to convey, as a story, in an image. I’ve always wanted to show my father, who has excited and supported my interest in photography, that my work has meaning, is powerful, and speaks silently of what the moment captured in an image holds inside. Similarly, for the last few years my lady love has encouraged me to delve further into photography, to expand my portfolio, and to find the uncommon perspective. I try I think to myself, “what is the most curious way I can see this, the most imaginative,” which comes from her influence. Back to the question at hand, I’ve always wanted to become a photographer and rarely thought I had what it takes. Now, I see that photography is powerful enough to take me anywhere I want to go.
2. From one of the post on your FB page, we gather you’re equally interested in science. Given a choice, which one would you choose – science or photography?
I don’t think that science and photography need to be mutually exclusive. Look at National Geographic. I don’t believe there exists a better example of combining science and photography. Likewise, my work with CURE combined medicine and photography, allowed myself and others a glimpse into third world medicine. Both science and photography will always be a part of my life.
3. Your portfolio has photography from many different genres like landscape, portrait, events, etc. Which genre do you identify with the most?
When I became interested in photography just before I started college, I found the idea of approaching someone and asking to take their photograph somewhat intimidating, so landscapes were my first passion. That said, I’ve always found that once I connect with someone, I’m able to feel comfortable almost immediately. My job with CURE obliterated my previous discomfort and enabled me to realize that everyone has a struggle, a story to tell, and that experiences in life can be seen in the eyes, the wrinkles, and the smile. I love photographing people most because of the authenticity, the honesty, that can be found in a person’s expression. I love landscape because of the places it has taken me and continues to take me.
4. What kind of equipment and lenses do you use?
I’m a Nikon guy. I’m sure all the Canon folks will scoff briefly and then realize how silly such a rivalry is at heart. My dad was a Nikon guy, I learned on a Nikon, it just makes sense to me. I use a D7000 and mostly a 50mm f/1.8G or the kit 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6. It’s served me exceptionally well over the three and a half years I’ve had it. I love natural light, but use an SB-700 when the situation calls for it, usually against my desire.
5. How important do you think is to have an online presence for photographers and other creative professionals such as you?
I’m still pretty young at 25 and when I was about five or six we got one of the first computers, which at the time was rare. I (we all) now live in a society where, more often than not, a computer in some form or another, is part of my (our) daily life. Without a doubt, it’s vital for a creative professional to have an online presence. While it is difficult to get significant exposure due to the amount of photographs on the internet, in its vast entirety, it’s now easier to recognize something special, a great piece of work. Sharing and interconnectedness among peers and friends of friends is only growing – you never know who will know the connection that could provide you with an amazing opportunity, a significant business connection, or the love of your life for that matter.
6. Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers who would like to work in such an exciting but difficult field?
Follow your heart, feed your gut feeling, hone your intuition.
7. Finally, tell us about your experience of building your website using Pixpa.
I’ve really enjoyed the ease of using Pixpa. I wasn’t much for writing any code, it doesn’t much interest me, and I wanted a platform that would allow visitors to purchase prints. I wanted a simple expression that brought my work foremost into focus. Pixpa provided me with exactly that.