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Interview with:

Eric Hatch [ekhphoto] 

Where can we view your portfolio online?
You can see a broad selection of my work at http://ekhphoto.smugmug.com Just keyword the subjects that interest you and you'll see a selection. For panoramas, try my "panoramas only" gallery here: http://ekhphoto.smugmug.com/STOCK-PHOTOGRAPHY/Panoramas/Panoramas-Only/9107488_rLBRD Panos can be printed to 4 feet by 12 feet or larger, depending on the image. Other work can be seen (and purchased) through my Etsy store: http://etsy.com/shop/scenix
What is your favourite type of customer?
Wealthy people with impeccable taste! Seriously, I do travel photography and fine-art nature photography with an emphasis on BIG prints and panoramas. Customers tend to be travel editors / resort owners and high-end interior designers. I am a writer AND photographer, so people who need both skills are my best customers.
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I've been a professional writer since I was 28. I have nearly 70 articles, essays, features, travel stories, speeches and industrial film scripts to my credit, along with a couple of books (one of them on business writing) and one in the hopper. I have been a board member of Corporate Communicators of America and have won a Gold Quill award for essay writing from the International Association of Business Communicators. I won the Communicator of the Year award from the Aviation/Space Writers Association. Today I write travel stories, articles on photography, and have a book project going forward.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
I like short-form stuff, mainly essays. You can read some of my stuff at http://hatchphotoartistry.blogspot.com, or write to me for tear sheets or copies of articles. I'll be glad to send you a complete bibliography if you're interested.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
Depends on the topic / audience expectations, but in general I write in the first person but in an unobtrusive way. Again, it depends on what's appropriate to the work and audience at hand.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
Good editors are worth their weight in gold and platinum together! A good editor makes you work harder and makes your work better. Unfortunately, I've known very few such editors (and bless every one of them). They are rare critters. I try to tell my early reviewers what I want them to review FOR -- continuity, sanity-checking, or copy-editing.
What has been your experience with publishers?
I have been blessed with a 90% acceptance rate over the years. But publishers are under the gun, want to get more and spend less to get results, so self-publishing is on the rise.
What are you working on now?
I'm working on a book based in my 15,300 mile roadtrip to Alaska and Canada last summer. Here's the query: GET OFF YOUR ASPHALT: REAL-LIFE ADVENTURES IN THE WORLD OF GRAVEL ROADS, non-fiction Travel / Adventure, 80-100,000 words plus photos You don’t have to be rich, famous, crazy or young to add meaning and adventure to your life. You just have to get off your asphalt, be open to what happens, and the rest will take care of itself. At the age of 65, I and my dog Ginger undertook a 15,000 mile road-trip through northern Canada and Alaska. Two months later I had met many extraordinary people with even more extraordinary stories. GET OFF YOUR ASPHALT tells these folks’ stories and my own. Think Travels with Charlie meets Coming Into The Country (McPhee). GET OFF YOUR ASPHALT speaks to armchair travelers and real-life adventurers alike. Baby Boomers, RV owners, photographers, and nature-lovers are all likely readers. And for a cool state, Alaska is very, very hot right now in terms of public interest.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Show them to someone or burn them.
For how long have you done photography? How did you begin?
Been a pro 10 years, amateur 55 years. Started with a brownie Hawkeye and some tutelage from Connecticut photographer Guido Organschi.
What has been your education as a photographer?
Studied under Guido Organschi and Skip Schiel. Also many courses and workshops through PPA and PPO (Ohio), too many names to list.
Please list any exhibitions in which you have participated.
Professional Photographers of America Regional Exhibits: 4 times Montgomery Ohio Photography competition (grand prize winner) Minneapolis Photo Center Landscape competition exhibit (74 pictures hung out of over 4,000 submitted) Various venues around Cincinnati
Please list any awards for your work.
Montgomery Photography Competition (overall winner) 2003 Various Merit Awards, professional photographers of America (Midwest Regional Competition) 2004-2008 Buckeye Award, Mid States Regional PPA competition, best landscape, 2004 Dumbauld Award, same show, for best work by 1st time competitor Minneapolis Landscape Competition, 2010. One of 70 artists (out of several thousand) selected to hang.
What is your favourite type of photography?
Motivational, story-telling landscape and nature photography. Waterfalls, ruins, mountains, are favorite subjects. Environmental / situational portraiture another good subject for me.
What do you try to express through your photography?
My work invites viewers to react from their hearts (or guts), and invites them to see or tell a story based on what they see.
How do you choose your subjects?
Sometimes go hunting for them, sometimes in the right place at the right time. I travel a lot and shoot everywhere, on commissions or for love.
What type of preparation do you do before undertaking the photo session?
I no longer do portrait work. For nature or wildlife, I consider which camera to use, which filters are useful, which lenses to bring along, whether to use monopod or tripod. I plan for the appropriate time of day. Sometimes there's lots of waiting involved til conditions are right. Other times, you make do with what God sends your way.
Do you normally photograph with a purpose already in mind, or do you let yourself go with the flow?
Both. My usual process is to see something that moves or intrigues me, capture it, then go into the "lab" and refine it til it does what I intend it to.
Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sigma, Olympus, Sony, Pentax...which do you place your bets on and why?
Nikon D700 for general use and Mamiya 645AFD with a P25 digital back for landscapes. Kodak Pro SLR/N for backup. The D700 Nikon shoots in lousy light, does a great job most of the time, but for ultra pure landscape work to be shown at 24x36 and larger sizes, it's the Mamiya every time.
Describe your current equipment: cameras, lenses, computers, accessories...
Nikon, Kodak, Mamiya cameras. CaptureOne Pro 6.1 and Photoshop CS5 running on a monster Mac with Drobo back-up. HPz3100 24" bed printer. Why does anyone need to know this stuff?
What software and plug-ins do you use to retouch and manage your photos?
See above.
What measures do you take to protect your work against Internet piracy?
Copyright in the metadata, and only publish unprintably small images on the web. If you want rights, contact me. If you want TERRIFIC hand-crafted prints on fine art papers, contact me.
Are you a good salesperson of your work? In what should you improve?
Not the best salesman because I don't circulate enough in the appropriate contact circles. I'm working on it. But the work speaks for itself. My preferred customers are travel editors and the associated PR firms. I also love to work with high-end interior designers for boardroom art and lobby art.
Which past masters of photography do you most admire?
Obviously Ansel Adams. Ken Brown (though we fight about pix a lot). Rod Brown (no relation to Ken). Guido Organschi.
Are technology and digital retouching reducing the gap between professionals and amateurs?
Depends on your definition. Professionals have to be able to turn out consistently good work on time and on budget. Amateurs don't have to do that. Otherwise, the distinction between the two is blurry at best -- but I'd say that gifted amateurs and most pros aren't too different. The real difference lies in the vision of the pro shooter, and in his/her having the technique, patience, and opportunity to make the vision come to life. The technology is available to anyone, but the vision and skills are not. There's some amazing bad taste out there!
Do you consider yourself more technical or more artistic?
Photographers have ALWAYS been technical people. But the technology and technique are only tools to express the vision.
What have you learned about the art of framing and composition?
I assume you don't mean encasing the picture in wood! My work is exceptionally design-oriented, and composition is the core of design. It's one of the things that sets my work apart -- it relies on good organization, diagonals, "swoosh" curves, S-curves, repeated forms, and strong geometrical patterns to tell the story. The reason my work is so "design-y" is that I have lousy eyesight, and naturally see patterns instead of details.
How does one develop the instinct of knowing when to press the shutter release button?
Go shoot sports! I'm not a sports shooter, but have done my share of volleyball games and parachute landings. If that sort of thing doesn't teach you how to anticipate, you will never learn it... and many never do.
When should one use film, and when should one use digital?
There is no film.
Does photography have the recognition that it should have in contemporary art museums?
Absolutely not! That's because the prejudice lingers that "anyone can do it, you just press a button and that's it." There's far more to it, of course, than a simple click. But the prejudice lingers, reinforced by the over-photoshopped "canned" image-making softwareso prevalent. Unfortunately, the flood of images from amateurs who shoot 1,000 to get 1 keeper (but who think 900 are keepers) degrades the art. It's true that ANYBODY can capture a "miracle shot." There are tons of Pulitzer prize photos shot by rankest amateurs who were in the right place at the right time. So the amateurs DO produce occasional fine work, but it's buried amongst the piles of horse poop. But the total number of excellent images available because of the web means that great stuff is actually abundant, and museums and galleries have a tough time making rational choices about what works to hang.
Is there any particular technique that you could share?
See my blog at http://hatchphotoartistry.blogspot.com. I have posted articles on cropping, resolution, composition, exposure and more. Help yourselves!

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Eric Hatch
Cincinnati USA

[ekhphoto] Eric Hatch
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