strayfoto

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Photographer Interview: Quinn Hall

There’s something magical about Utah. I call it America’s Surprisingly Beautiful State, just because the two times I’ve been there, I didn’t know what to expect. Photographer Quinn Hall captures the American southwest perfectly.

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Quinn Hall - but I go by “strayfoto” across most social media. I work in environmental consulting doing GIS (geographic information systems - mapping) of fossils in and around the western states. Photography, although it’s paid a few bills in the past, is mostly a hobby, albeit one I’m quite passionate about.

How did you get started in photography?

I always had a point and shoot growing up, but I bought a Pentax ZX-50(?) in about 1997. A few weeks later I bought a Pentax ME Super at a pawn shop and I was hooked. Over the years I’ve worked my way though the Pentaxes, Leicas, bigger Pentaxes, and Hasselblads. I had a wet darkroom in my basement for about six years, but I moved and had to let it go. I’ve been about 90% digital since 2009.

What do you like about your photography?  

I usually hate my own photography… Not really, but I can find things to complain about. I like the creative process most. It hardly matters what I’m shooting as long as I’m creating something. I like the post too - culling and editing, looking for something I may not have noticed in the field. Photography keeps me busy. I love a good project.

Your work really shows off the American southwest. Where do you get inspiration for your style/ideas?

I lead guided tours of Arches National Park during the summers and it’s interesting to see how people from all over the world photograph the park. Sometimes someone will look at a feature in a way I’ve never even thought of and I’ll use that and try to expand on it. Sometimes it’s the opposite - I’ll think “I’m going to go shoot over here just to avoid that crowd…” and it works because I end up seeing something most others don’t.

“For me, a camera is my way to…”

Stay busy. Create more, consume less.

What kinds of themes do you explore with your work?

I went through a Leica - lots of old cameras and Tri-X film. I spent a lot of time on “street” photography forums. In rural Utah there’s not a lot “street” style photography, but I think that time influenced my taste. I don’t mind people in my landscape/nature photos, and often find they add to the scene - in a national park a shot with people in it is more honest. I often go for form or composition over ultimate subject.

Any upcoming projects or shoots you’re working on?

I recently completed shooting a couple projects and I need to move those closer to a final product. I’ve been working on a project of shots I’ve taken while running and hope to push that a little further this year.



Follow more of Quinn’s work at @strayfoto, or on his Instagram account.