Taylor Michael Burk is a Canadian photographer that has rose to prominence with his outstanding photographs. Using the social media sharing platform, Instagram as a way to market himself, he has used the platform as a way to help him secure sponsors and share his work.
Taylor’s minimalist approach to editing coupled with his cinematographic composition leads to some fascinating (and breathtaking) shots. His emphasis on scope evokes a sense of awe in the viewer and showcases the raw beauty of nature. Having traveled to several different locations, Taylor has shot in various terrains and climates, allowing us to have a peek into a particular culture by way of their landscapes. To me, his work is not only a representation of his skill, but a testament to the deep affinity for nature he possesses.
Taylor was kind enough to allow me to ask him some questions about his work, inspirations, and how aspiring photographers can improve their marketability.
Prox: Tell us about yourself. Where are you from and how did you get into photography?
Taylor: I was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta but have recently moved to Vancouver, BC. A few years ago I was traveling and came across Instagram. I wasn’t really into social media; I didn’t have Facebook or any other social apps. I was happy without it but I thought I'd give Instagram a try because I had all these photos from my travels and I wanted to inspire my friends to get out and see the world. When I got back home I ended up getting an iPhone and I was amazed by the quality of photos it could take.
From there I just had fun shooting my everyday life: going for walks, going to the mountains, going here and there. I enjoyed trying to capture different angles and perspectives. From there, photography developed into more of a hobby and eventually some friends convinced me to buy a DSLR. I wanted to capture high quality memories. I bought a Canon Rebel T3i and haven't looked back since.
Prox: Who were some of your earliest influences? Have you always been drawn to photography or were you interested in other forms of expression?
Taylor: My earliest influences would have been people that I followed on Instagram. Some of them include, Callum Snape, Alex Strohl, Chris Burkard and Paul Nicklen.
Prox: What is some of your preferred gear and software?
Taylor: I personally shoot with Canon gear and use Adobe software to edit, very happy with both.
Prox: What does a great shot consist of your opinion? What are some elements that you consciously try to inject into your work?
Taylor: A great shot will make people stop, stare and think. I like to incorporate foreground and include people in my photos to help give a sense of scale and how we interact with our surroundings.
Prox: Where are some of the most captivating locations you’ve been able to shoot in? What do the shots that you captured there say about these locations and you’re work as a whole?
Taylor: I was recently on assignment in one of the largest wilderness areas in North America, the Muskwa Kechika located in Northern British Columbia. It’s remote locations and basically untouched landscapes really inspired me. I feel that my shots captured how wild the region is and how we were interacting with it.
Prox: Many of your shots look exceptionally natural. How do you go about editing so that you improve image quality, but still maintain that kind of realism?
Taylor: I don’t like to edit my photos very much, just enough so that it looks how I felt it did at the time of taking it. Shooting RAW you lose some of the colour and contrast, so just filling that back in.
Prox: Could you tell us about the first photo that you sold? How should beginners go about getting clients, sponsorships, etc?
Taylor: My first photography gig was for a local restaurant in Edmonton, I took any opportunity I could to get paid to shoot and learn more about the commercial side of things. Seeing my photos from that day in magazines and billboards made me feel confident and assured me that I was making the right decision.
Put yourself out there, make yourself known to them, share your work. They may not want to work with you at that time but who knows what doors could it open down the road.
Prox: Favorite Hobbies?
Taylor: Backpacking, hiking, kayaking, watching documentaries, traveling and Cooking.
Prox: Tips for aspiring artists?
Taylor: Post your best work online, social media is a free tool to help expand your business. The more eyes that see your photos the better, companies will find good work.
You can learn more about Taylor and follow him, here.
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