Friday, September 25, 2015

creative chat: photographer Finlay Burrage

I'm very excited to share yet another interview here on the blog as part of my creative chat series. 

Today we are talking to photographer and adventurer Finlay Burrage about his creative journey and the inspiration behind his work. I'm excited to have Finlay here today not only because his work is stunning, but also because his story is so completely different from my own. His photos attest to both the wild beauty of his surroundings (mostly Canada's West Coast) and his own creativity in capturing that beauty. Disclaimer: he's also my cousin :) You can find him on Instagram here and here

And with that, let's dive right in to my chat with Finlay: 

1. If we were really able to have this conversation in a coffee shop, what would you be drinking? Are you a coffee or tea person? (or both?)

That's a tough question.  I love both coffee and tea so I guess it would depend on the time of day.  If it was the morning I'd definitely be drinking a latte, but if it were later in the day I'd most likely have a Rooibos Tea, like I do most evenings.

2. Tell us a little bit about what you make/do. What led you to choose this path?

Most of what I do artistically is focused on photography. More specifically, I get super excited about photography that has a hidden or deeper meaning or that has anything to do with adventure and the outdoors. I am passionate about nature/adventure photography and conceptual photography.  I began my photographic journey at the age of 10 when I bought my first camera on a week long trip to Portland OR, for the remainder of which I could rarely be found without camera in hand.  Throughout my childhood I spent a lot of time traveling with my family and because of that I was given a lot of opportunity to try and capture my adventures on camera.  

When I got to High School I became friends with two inspiring filmmakers/photographers who fed my passion for capturing and creating beautiful images. From there my interest grew and I began to experiment with conceptual photos using photoshop as well as different techniques like long exposures (which I absolutely love) and time lapses.  I find myself enjoying places and moments more when I have a camera and can try to find a way to take the idea from my head or the stunning beauty of what I see and copy it onto my camera's sensor so I can remember and share it. To me a view is never complete until I have photographed it.

In the past year I have also started to create using a pen. I wouldn't call myself an artist by any stretch, but I love taking a blank slate and trying to make it into a piece of art.  Inspired by that interest, I started to sell some of my paintings and drawings done on reclaimed driftwood, which is an effort currently in the beginning stages that I'm really excited about for the future.  

3. Where do you go for inspiration?

Being outside and exploring new places is where I most find inspiration.  Whenever I embark on a new adventure my mind starts to churn with new ideas and an excitement for creating.  If I sit at home and try to "be creative" I find myself just getting frustrated, but when I go out, plan trips, and step out of my comfort zone, it feels almost like second nature to take out my camera and capture what I see.  I also find a lot of inspiration in looking at the work of some of the incredibly talented photographers and artists on Instagram and other social media.

4. In your mind, what is one of the biggest challenges of being a creative?

For me, the biggest challenge of being a creative is the uncertainty.  Unlike some other areas, there's no place in either photography or art where you've "made it" or learned all there is to learn, because you're always learning.  The challenge for me is being confident enough in my art to keep photographing, keep creating, and keep sharing when I know I still have so much to improve on.

5. Can you describe your creative process/routine for us?

My creative process is based a lot on the talent of others. I'll spend a lot of time looking through other people's photos and art, then I'll try to figure out what makes me love their creation so much- whether it be the lighting, the subject, the perspective or something else.  I'll then take those aspects of their photo/drawing/painting and try to apply it to my art.  It feels almost like I'm building up an inventory of individual skills that, as I get more comfortable with I can slowly combine and alter and turn into something my own.

6. Where do you most like to create/make?

I most like to create in nature, preferably in the mountains or by the ocean without too many other people around.

7. What are you currently working on? Anything new/exciting coming up? 

I have two current projects that I'm really excited about, the first of which is a series of multiple exposures which I'm hoping to use to tell a photographic story. The second is something totally new for me. Throughout the summer I've been learning a little bit about videography and have been working on creating a few videos that I'm really pumped to experiment with and learn from.

Thank you so much Finlay for taking the time to chat and giving us a glimpse into your work and creative journey. Don't forget to stop by on Instagram to view more of his spectacular photography and artwork, to keep updated with his future endeavors, and of course to say hi.

All photographs courtesy of Finlay Burrage, except for top photo of Finlay, courtesy of Adam Combs 

Note: this interview is part of a series featuring various makers and creatives. You can read past interviews (and a little about the idea behind this feature) here.   

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