Interview: Photographer Nate Zoeller
How did you get into photography and decide to stick with it?
My uncle was big into photography and gave me my first DSLR for my 15th birthday. It collected dust for a few years until I started going to a lot of hardcore punk shows, and decided to see what it’d be like to try and capture the moments that I thought were so cool. Once I got the hang of it, I was hooked.
How would you distinguish your style?
I would describe my style, for the most part, as warm and reminiscent — sort of a romanticized take on reality.
Where do your ambitions and aspirations lie with your work?
My main ambition is to create something that I like and to evoke some kind of thought or emotion in the viewer. I’ve got a lot of thoughts and I’m better at expressing them through pictures rather than words. As far as aspirations, I would love more than anything to use photography as a means to travel. I want to photograph new faces in new places and experience different cultures and ways of life.
What has been one of the most defining moments in your life?
Last summer I got fed up and quit my job, with nothing to really fall back on. My uncle called me that night and said “well, I guess you’ve got no reason not to come visit me,” so I got a few hours of sleep and hit the road early the next morning. All said and done, I drove 3,500 miles round trip on a whim. I gathered more inspiration in 56 hours of driving alone through new places and I haven’t lost it since. A road trip might not seem like much of a big deal to most, but I think about the sunrise I saw over the mountains in New Mexico almost every day.
How do you get yourself out of a rut?
I have two methods for getting myself out of a rut: the first being sitting around and daydreaming until something comes to me. The other, more effective way is to force myself to get out there, spitball ideas and collaborate with people. The vision is always there, sometimes you just need a second set of eyes around to help you see it, you know?
What has had the greatest influence on you and your work?
My friends, always. I know so many good, creative people and I draw inspiration from their work or personalities or our experiences together very often. I guess you could say that I’m heavily influenced by my surroundings at times.
What do YOU see and feel when you look back on your work?
I see growth, both as an artist and as a person. Whether it’s looking back at an old edit or remembering what I did the day that I took a photo, it’s cool to look back and see that progression.
What is something you’ve heard or learned that resonates with you?
My good friend Parm Masuta always says “Get out there!” I tend to get very set in my ways for any amount of time and when I need to break out of that and go do or create something, I always hear his voice in my head.
Is there anything, anything at all, that we didn’t ask about that you’d like to share?
That’s about all I got!