We had the good fortune of connecting with Will Fenwick and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Will, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk is the ultimate gamble of destiny and happiness, a necessary gamble to discovering our purpose in life. I personally see risk from the adrenaline junkie’s perspective because the only real risk is death, and not exactly in its most literal form. Sometimes we need to face death in a metaphorical sense to step away from our pride or ego and find out who we really are and what we really want. At the end of the day if our liveliness isn’t part of the equation then we have every reason to jump. Losing is always a possibility but even our losses carry lessons that will prepare us.
Risk practically becomes an adventure within ourselves as we clarify our impulses with mitigation, balance fear with our concept of happiness, and break free from our complacency for necessary growth. You can even think of risk as a brick wall. A new chapter sits behind each wall, some walls are easy to break through but you’ll always face some length of resistance, and you can certainly decide that a wall isn’t worth breaking through. Some may even break you and some may be too thick to break down, so you’ll have to take the Andy Dufresne way and chisel your way through.
The entire foundation of who I am today and my artistic career is based entirely on the outcome of every risk I’ve taken. The pandemic definitely threw a fork in the road as I decided to invest in my business full time right before it all started, but I’m only twenty-two years old with an entire life ahead of me. I realized this is one of the walls I may have to chisel through over time and there may be risks to come that I’m not even aware of yet. Regardless of the success of my business I’ll still continue to create because at the end of the day creativity and expression will forever be stitched into who I am.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Well, the interesting part about being a photographer is that our view of the world is what makes us unique in the first place, so we have to find something within our vision that sets us further apart from each other. I feel like what sets me apart from the crowd is my constant desire to connect with emotion in each moment, it’s almost like an addiction. There’s emotion in a group before they take the stage, an action shot that passes in a matter of seconds, or even a landscape tucked fifty miles into the backcountry. It’s my unspoken duty as photographer to capture the beauty of life in a way that you can look back fifty years from now and rediscover exactly how you felt when looking up from the viewfinder. Just talking about it all makes me feel some type of way.
With emotion being the backbone to my work it can seriously weigh down on the business side of being an artist, so learning to separate emotion from business or personal work from professional work is probably the hardest lesson I’ve learned. Along with business you have to understand your actual worth as an artist too because unfortunately not everyone will value your work like you do, so learn how to stand up for yourself. Keep in mind photographers are the purest form of entrepreneurship and being an entrepreneur isn’t supposed to be easy. With this being said, I want to add that a Gary Vaynerchuk type of confidence will take you exactly where you want to go but don’t get confidence mixed up with ego during the process. Gratitude and kindness are key to building your success.
If there’s one thing I’m proud of though it definitely has to be publishing my first book back in February! Right now I’m also in the process of moving to Washington which is still kind of crazy to wrap my mind around. Needless to say all of my projects are on pause for the moment. The pacific northwest is so perfect for anyone in love with the outdoors and from what I hear Seattle has a lively music scene of its own. I do have several ambitious goals for myself once I’m out there including a few summits and long distance treks but I’ll be taking it one day at a time.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Off the bat I have to say Kentucky is the most underrated state without a doubt!
I used to start my days off with a visit to Highland Coffee, a local joint that recently closed after twenty-two years of business due to the pandemic, but a few other local spots like North Lime and Sunergos are thriving and worth a visit. Louisville is known for being a foodie city so don’t stress about where to eat. Vince Staples once left a five-star review on Royals Hot Chicken here in the city and I can second that. Louisville even hosts a few annual events worth checking out like the St. James Art Show and WorldFest depending on the time of year. Eastern Kentucky has many outdoor opportunities for camping or rock climbing too. If Kentucky just isn’t your vibe then you can find Cincinnati, Nashville, and Indianapolis all within two and a half hours of Louisville.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
So many people have helped me throughout my journeys, but I obviously have to start with my parents for backing up my pursuits 100% when I started taking serious leaps of faith. My journalism teacher Mr. Bradley and art teacher Mrs. Williams both helped me channel my artistic vision in a more professional sense which I didn’t exactly realize as a teenager but as an adult I have so much gratitude for everything they shared with me. Everyone involved in our local scene deserves so much love, but I have to give special thanks to Ben and Trey for keeping me motivated on a personal and professional level since day one, Logan, Gaven, and Shane (Boa Boys on Spotify/Apple Music) for taking me under their brotherly wing early on, all my friends in Bendigo Fletcher, White Woolly, Houndmouth, and so many more for believing in my vision as well. I also want to give a shoutout to Madeline of Cults for inspiring me to dive into live music photography in the first place and artists like Kevin Parker, Glass Animals, Fleet Foxes, Portugal The Man and My Morning Jacket for creating music that continues to inspire me on a daily basis.
Trey Shapanus, Noah Long