Inside this issue
Alfredo Mora – Portrait of a Photographer
An experience-driven approach to nature photography
Matt Payne is a landscape photographer and mountain climber from Durango, Colorado. He’s the host of the weekly landscape photography podcast, “F-Stop Collaborate and Listen,” co-founder of the Nature First Photography Alliance, and co-founder of the Natural Landscape Photography Awards. He lives with his wife, Angela, his son Quinn, and his two cats, Juju and Chara.
Landscape and nature photography often follows a familiar path for a lot of photographers. Today’s busy world emphasises economic growth above all else in life and instils certain cultural values in most of us, albeit mostly without us knowing or taking stock. Through school, we are trained to focus on results – to “get good grades” and achievement is rewarded more than any other accomplishment. It is part of our culture for athletics, when we get our first jobs and in almost every aspect of our lives. This cultural undercurrent is a constant reminder that results are of critical importance in every pursuit in life.
This undercurrent often weighs heavily on us, often without us understanding what the root cause is, and we seek refuge from it through creative pursuit vis-à-vis photography and by escaping into nature for peace and solace. For some of us, that drive for results sneaks into our passion for nature and photography and we lose sight of why we escaped into nature, to begin with. That is the story of Alfredo Mora, the focus of today’s essay. Like me, Alfredo grew up hiking and spending time in nature and developed a strong bond with it throughout his years. Alfredo pursued a career in Information Technology as a Systems Architect for the United States Space Program, where the stakes are certainly high, and he found that his need for spending time in nature with his camera was a high priority. He relocated his family to Denver, Colorado so he could be closer to the mountains and amazing landscape photography opportunities. Then the pandemic happened, and Alfredo found himself reflecting on his photography and his motivations for spending time in the outdoors. Alfredo did not like what he found.