SmugMug Corner #94: John Roberts

As we inch closer to out 100th SmugMug Corner, we're not even close to running out of fantastic photographers to interview, as today's interview perfectly exemplifies. We've got 10 photos below as we meet and greet with John Roberts from the Seattle, Washington area.

Name: John Roberts

Town Lake

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is John Roberts and I was born in 1942. After graduating from high school, I joined the US Navy where I spent 8 years as a nuclear reactor operator on Polaris missile submarines.

I retired from a marketing career in the IT industry in 2001. My last 5 years of employment was spent living in Hong Kong and Singapore as the Managing Director of Asian Operations. I'm involved with relief work in Sri Lanka where I've been living and working in a village there for a month every year since the 2004 Tsunami.

My wife and I have lived in the Seattle area for the last 30 years. We have a daughter who is a missionary overseas and a son who lives in Austin with his wife.

Mittens, Monument Valley, UT

What is your background/training in photography?

In the 50s I took several high school photography classes. There I had the opportunity to shoot with a 4x5 Graflex (instead of the Kodak Hawkeye I had at home). We also learned to develop our own black and white film and prints.

I didn't do much with photography again until the mid-70s when a friend introduced me to Super 8 video which I shot for about 10 years.

I bought my first "serious" camera, a Minolta Maxxum 7000, in Hong Kong in 1986, when I began traveling extensively for overseas business.

I took an introductory photo class which was offered when I bought my first DSLR in 2003. Since then I have been essentially "self taught" via books and websites.


How long has photography been a passion for you? When, where and how did it start?

I'd say it has become a passion (perhaps a slight obsession) within the last 2 years. I spend a fair amount of time researching locations and organizing trips to visit them. I use Robert Hitchman's, "Photograph America" newsletter extensively when planning photo trips away from home. I've also set up a small "studio" in a spare room. OK, maybe more than a "slight" obsession.

Pennypacker Bridge

What equipment is in your camera bag? What piece of equipment will be added to the collection next?

Arches National Park

What are your favorite places/subjects to photograph? Why?

My favorite places/subjects are landscape locations. I most enjoy multi-day shoots in places such as: Skagit Valley Tulip fields, ghost towns, covered bridges, National parks, coast lines, etc. (That's why I'd like a medium format camera). In between trips I would say my subjects are eclectic and opportunistic.

Central Basin, Nevada

Who are your biggest photographic influences? Why? What about their work influences your work?

I'm currently studying the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson to better understand candid "street photography", a subject matter that I would like to feel more comfortable with. SmugMug contributor, Richard Kane, also is an inspiration in this area.

I also admire Freeman Patterson for the creative way in which he looks at everything around him as fodder for his camera.

Japanese Lantern

How long have you been Smug with your photographs? What features do you most enjoy with your SmugMug account?

I joined SmugMug in 2010. I had some previous experience with Picasa and Flickr but found SmugMug to be much more flexible and "customizable." I'm an amateur with HTML and CSS but am glad to be able to use my meager knowledge to personalize my SmugMug pages.

Presently, I'm considering upgrading my Power account to Pro as a few people have asked about purchasing prints.

Park Avenue

If you had do sum up in 50 words or less the impact SmugMug has made on your photography/photography business, those 50 words would be...

The Daily Photos community has made a significant difference in my photography. By viewing the work of others every day I get inspiration for my own. They also serve as reference for judging the quality of mine. I feel my work has greatly improved since I have been on SmugMug.

Forgotten Cabin

If you had to give one piece of advice to those wanting to pursue photography, what would you tell them?

Carry a camera with you at all times, think creatively, and shoot, shoot, shoot.


Posted by Tim L. Walker on Fri, 2011–05–06 15:42
Categories: SmugMug Corner