Phill McDonald

When did you start taking photos? How did it begin?

I started taking photos when I was 15. My first camera was my dads old pentax k1000 film camera. I was always intrigued by the ability to freeze a particular moment in time through my own perspective. Soon after that I bought my first dslr. I never really started pursuing photography until my junior year in college. I took a digital photo class and it set me on the path to where I am now. From there I began to try and hone my skill.

How much time do you spend taking photos? Is this your job or a hobby?

Most of my free time is spent taking photos. If I'm not busy with school or work, I'm most likely out shooting. It's primarily a hobby of mine. I would like for it to become a more prominent source of income, but it's never been about the money.

What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?

I travel to a lot of different places and my work reflects that. I'm a student on a budget and I make it work because it's what I love. My hope is to inspire others to get out chase what they want. So I guess the main takeaway that I want people to receive, is that regardless of your situation, you can make things happen for yourself.

Where do you find your inspiration and how do you keep yourself motivated?

Most of my inspiration is derived from different artistic mediums: music, movies, books, photos, etc. I believe that most art has a common thread running through it, and that thread is what I pull inspiration from. The essence of an individual's perspective portrayed through their medium of choice. I think the thing that motivates me most is that I have the ability to get out and see the world around me, and share that with people in a unique way. To me that's significant.

Do you take photos more for yourself or for others?

Most of the photos that I take are technically for myself. The end goal of most of my photos is to create a conversation of sorts with whomever is viewing it. Most of the time I’m traveling, and shooting my experiences with the hopes of inspiring others. I do shoot for different companies, and people; but I think it’s necessary to make time to shoot for yourself and create art that you enjoy creating. It’s all about keeping a balance.

What’s one of the favorite photos you’ve taken recently? What’s the story?

Recently I took a trip out to Colorado, and during that trip we stopped at Great Sand Dunes National Park. We had just got done driving 20 hours, and were hiking around the dunes. It was around the time of sunset and I was racing to the top of the dunes. I looked to my left and saw someone hiking along one of the dunes. The sun had just fell behind him and created a silhouette. The contrast between the dunes and the sky caught my eye and I snapped the photo.

What are some tips/advice you would give to yourself if you started photography all over again?

I wouldn't give myself any tips. My work is what it is due to the trial and error. Let the boy learn.

Name a few photographers you get inspiration from.

The current people that inspire my work are Andrew Kearns, Kevin Russ, and Christian Watson (1924us).

What’s your photography plan for the future?

Just keep shooting, and making art that I’m proud of.

LocationNashville, TN, US

Subscribe to get notified when we add more interviews!

Brought to you by Iso100mm. Create your beautiful portfolio website.
Learn More