We had the good fortune of connecting with Josh Patterson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Josh, why did you pursue a creative career?
Well, I’ve never been one for straight lines or authority. I’m easily bored, I hate routine and have always found more enjoyment in nature than in a cubicle. I was a terrible student, nearly flunked out of high school and topped that off with dropping out of college two years into a bachelor’s. On the other hand, I could easily entertain myself reading, writing, drawing or exploring nature. It was pretty obvious from the get-go that four walls and a glowing screen weren’t going to hold me.
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.
What sets me apart from others is combining my natural curiosity and passion for the natural world with photography and storytelling. This means taking deep dives into flora, fauna, geology, history – knowing the land in my bones. When that happens, you take portraits of a place, not pictures. An intuitive sense of an area is required to give insight to the viewer who might have no experience with the places you are photographing. I call it slow exploration. I’ll stick around an area for years; walking it in every season and weather, finding unexpected angles and intimate scenes of wilderness. You can’t do that if you just drive up, hop out of the car and snap photos of the most obvious things and leave again. That’s being a tourist, not an artist. In doing so, I’ve forged friendships with fascinating people, listened to their stories. I’ve stayed in remote, hidden cabins with desert old timers, I’ve shared ice cream and pie with people in a mouse-infested cabin with a pistol strapped to my hip, have stranded myself far from paved roads, run out of water, been visited by a curious mountain lion while I slept. Mainly because I’m not bouncing off the surface of the thing and careening to the next exciting vista. I’m there, I have roots, I’m invested, and that inspires trust in those who live in and frequent the wild places I work in. That’s where the depth and – I think – real beauty come from.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I do my best to spend as little time in the city as possible. If I wanted to show a friend a good time, I’d take them to the wild where there are no trails and the silence is deep and whelming.
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?
There were so many people in the photography community who shared knowledge and friendship with me early on. Laura Kicey was one of the very first who embraced my early, clumsy photographic efforts without judgement. I reached out to Nicole Goddard who was a friend of a friend when I realized just how over my head I was at one point. She generously allowed me to tag along with her on a fairly high profile shoot, and lug her lighting gear! Social media, in general, played a huge role in my learning curve. I found almost without exception that most people were open with their knowledge and willing to share their experience. Of course, there were a few that were curmudgeonly sorts and that’s fine too. So a shout out to all you generous and open artists sharing your experience!