“Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.” – Oscar Wilde
In this series we shine a light on artists expressing their individuality, documenting what they love, working hard on their craft, and sharing it with the world.
We spoke to Joel McDowell, a Taupo based photographer who aims to evoke emotion in people through his work, and capture the hidden gems our beautiful country has to offer.
How do you stay inspired?
That is a good question. Surrounding myself with other creatives, in all mediums and experience levels, is a good way to bounce ideas around. I also use platforms like Pinterest to cultivate fresh ideas.
What do you do when in a creative rut?
Put down my camera, take a step back and find my roots. When I am a little lost with my work I research photographers alike, and seeing their work will often reinspire.
How did you get started in photography?
Well, it was partly by accident. I bought my first camera on a deployment overseas when I was enlisted in the NZDF and started to document our travels. From there I quickly fell in love with the medium and here I am 5 years on.
What are your favourite or secret spots in New Zealand?
I wouldn’t call it a secret - Tongariro always steals my heart. Tongariro is home.
What does a typical day (outside of quarantine) look like for you?
When I’m not in the office working on commercial jobs I am out exploring our beautiful country - always trying to blur the lines between life and work.
What advice would you give photographers starting out?
Avoid falling into social trends. Shoot what makes you happy and keep striving to create new, out-of-the-box ideas.
What's a photo you’re most proud of? Can you tell us the story behind it?
This trip has to be one of my favourites so far. We hiked Mueller Track in Mount Cook National Park, and spent the night perched on a ridge looking out towards this view. When it came to sunset the light shaped, and cast colour over our tallest mountain that I had never seen before. This quickly became the most peaceful moment I have had in life.