Inspire Speaker: Eric McCallister

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In this series of blog posts we are introducing people who are speaking at and attending Inspire 2014. Today we’d like to introduce you to Eric  McCallister of Eric McCallister Photography who will be leading a workshop on Dramatic Portrait & Landscape Lighting for the Wedding Day

Eric McCallister

We’ve all taken different paths along our photography careers. Although some of us may have taken similar journeys to get to where we are today, no two are exactly alike, and these paths taken are what define us as photographers. For me, the journey began photographing climbers. What started as a passion for the vertical world and being in incredible and unfamiliar places grew into a revenue stream. Not a lucrative one, but enough to encourage and support taking more steps forward, always poking my head around an unknown corner to see what I might uncover.

Shooting stock climbing imagery led to specific assignments and location shoots for various outdoor and climbing companies. The journey was exciting – shooting in the desert southwest, hanging from a rope 3,000 feet up El Capitan, or freezing on some icicle at the back of beyond – but still not lucrative. I maintained a day-job and shot as often as possible. But the experiences I was having – sunrises over Half Dome, epic descents in the middle of the night lost and cold, and so many breathtaking expanses with nary a sole in sight – were defining me as a photographer.

In 2008 my daughter was born and the need and desire to make photography a sustainable occupation really took hold. I had periodically second shot for a long-time friend (and fellow Inspire speaker!), so decided to not just dip my toe into wedding photography, but jump in head first. It was a bit of a rude awakening, to say the least, but I did find a similar excitement in the moments and beauty of the wedding day.

Now, years later, I see more of my previous climbing work coming through in my wedding photography – my desire to capture raw emotion; a need to convey the day on a grand scale. I didn’t know how to do this five years ago, and maybe I still don’t. Today, I’ve stopped trying to follow the path of others before me and to reconnect with my own path, one built by glorious mornings and long days in the mountains, long nights on cold ledges, and absolute reliance on, and camaraderie with, my friends. I like to think that these things are seen by my clients and come through in my images. At the very least, I feel as though I am back on “my” path, and I’m so excited to see where it leads me next.

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