We had the good fortune of connecting with Ben Brashear and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ben, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
I’ve had the desire to create stories, whether written or visual, since I was 9 or 10. The journey to becoming a professional photographer has been anything but linear with setbacks and delays, but it’s one I really can’t imagine not pursuing. It’s taken me to Prague to study with photographer Jan Pohribny to working for Fort Lewis College to documenting pro athletes, business owners, bartenders and cooks. Steven Pressfield captured the dichotomy of this struggle well. Basically, that any creative or artist is on an odyssey or hero’s journey filled with struggle, turmoil and blood. That one must be crazy to do it, but upon return from the journey the hero delivers something that not only benefits themselves, but also the community. Often, it’s when I forget that what I create as a visual storyteller does benefit my community is when I am the most tempted to give up and close shop. Chasing one’s goals might be seen as tenacious, stubborn or even as wishful thinking, but it’s these very traits instilled within me from the generations that came before me that keep me in a relentless pursuit of my dreams. My grandfather fulfilled one of his lifelong dreams of earning a bachelor degree in his late 70’s, and my father chased down becoming a field biologist by working full-time as a mechanic, raising two boys with my mother, and finally obtaining his degree in his late 30’s. I don’t think fulfilling our passion or purpose comes easy, but being persistent is everything.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Ultimately, being a visual story teller is the best job I can think of. It hasn’t been easy and it still is a challenge every single day but the chance to get to know people and who they are is worth it. I like how the camera seems to break down barriers and grants me the opportunity to get to know who my clients are and what they’re passionate about. I like to keep things lighthearted on my photo assignments whether I’m building a complete asset library for a local start-up or content shoot for an athlete. No matter if I am shooting in studio, or on-location trail running, skiing the backcountry, or hanging from a climbing harness for hours on end, I’ll do what it takes to reflect my client’s unique character and story. I often choose to shoot with off-camera lighting and gels to augment each set. I really enjoy the way off-camera lighting can create a sense of mood and style to an athletic shoot or even a corporate headshot that you can’t easily get with natural light. Well, you can if you’re tremendously patient and wear a watch, but I struggle with both haha.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
For anyone visiting the Durango area, what we do and where we go is seasonally dependent. With winter here now, we would start the day off with my home roasted coffee, or if we were in a hurry we would hit up Bread Bakery for rocket fuel coffee. Then it would be off to the La Plata mountains or Red Mountain Pass for a backcountry ski tour; nothing says fun like type two fun. After the day it would be down James Ranch for a grass-fed burger and live music, or to Avalanche brewing in Silverton. After that, it would be off to the Bookcase and Barber and with the right password to gain entry into the speakeasy we would have a Hemingway or Faulkner inspired cocktail. Eventually it would be off to Eolus for some of the best food prepared by a fellow backcountry enthusiast and the to El Moro for a nightcap and charcuterie. No need to change out of your ski clothes, Durango won’t mind.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There have been many people in the community that have helped me along the way. My photography mentors and instructors Gunnar Conrad, Alan Cuenca, and Jan Pohribny. My writing mentor and previous poet laureate of Arizona, William Pitt Root. Fort Lewis College for my degree and years of work as lead photographer with the marketing department. And last but not least, my wife and my parents who have be unrelenting in their encouragement and support.

Website: www.brashearphoto.com

Instagram: benjaminbrashear

Linkedin: Ben Brashear Freelance Photographer and Journalist

Image Credits
all images are copyright ben brashear

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