MEET. Scott Lorenzen


© Scott Lorenzen

Meet Southern California-based photographer and member, Scott Lorenzen.
“I hold onto the stream-wading, tadpole-collecting curiosity of my boyhood, and am driven by a desire to connect with and convey big feelings and big ideas.”

Do you have a favorite podcast?
No, but I do listen to a lot of audiobooks.

Who are your top 5 favorites that you’re following on Instagram?
@initiumphoto
@lakeflato
@andyandersonphoto
@motzburger

What 3 words describe your photography style?
Graphic, Emotive, Structured

What do you listen to when you’re shooting? 
Quiet

What’s your favorite thing about being a photographer?
I love having control of my schedule, being able to work with the rhythm of my own creative cycles and being able to swing from brief domestic stints to big extended road trips, camping all over the country while driving to and from jobs with my dog. I love seeing the west and being out in it. I also like being independent; being self-employed feels more natural. Going from feast to famine, living close to the bone when necessary, and looking at my financial life like that of a farmer who know’s that any year may bring drought or locusts. It’s not easy being independent but the benefits of having that bit of liberty outweigh its costs, especially as a creative person.

Describe your daily or weekly work habits. (Pre-Covid and currently)
When I am not on the road for work, I move between work-related marketing and admin tasks and going outside to build, fix, BBQ or just re-focus.

Who were your biggest influencers?
Growing up within sight of the Sierra Nevadas and a couple hours from Yosemite my original photographic influences came from landscape photographers like Ansel Adams and Galen Rowell; later on, architectural photographers, landscape painters and writers.

What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out?
I don’t know that I have ever been ‘given’ any big advice. But one thing that motivated me to make the decision to do this for a living was realizing that professional photographers weren’t these super photographers, and that you didn’t need to attain ‘super photographer’ status in order to become one. Having the belief that the growth and development really happens after one becomes a photographer is what gave me a pathway into the field.

What are the current challenges that you face as a photographer?
I think I am facing the same challenges as any photographer or artist- the ongoing challenge of connecting to the market while also trying to focus on creating.

What have been some of the highlights and challenges of your career so far? 
I would say that for me, the highlights have also been the challenges- the art of photography involves trade-offs and the practice of photography has also had its trade-offs. When it’s raining and I’m busy it’s great, but I tend to focus my all energy on one thing at a time and that means that the busier I get the less energy I am putting into the business of actually getting more work.  

What were you doing before you became a Photographer?
What wasn’t I doing!?  When I look back on everything I did before finally going into this full-time it’s almost like I was coming up with anything I could to not be a photographer- even though that’s all I ever wanted to be. I have been a wildland firefighter, a restaurant worker, a laborer, a pre-law student, a graphic designer, a commodities trader, a real estate developer, a 7/11 cashier, a restoration project manager even an environmental analyst. All a waste of my time in one sense, and yet everything I else I have done has added a depth of perspective and value to my photography career.

If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing?
If I weren’t a photographer I would need to be involving myself in creating a living off the land or I’d just sit around sulking. I could never go back to something that wasn’t creative or something that was under someone else’s control.  

What do you do when you get stuck?
I don’t worry about it. It happens. If something isn’t turning me on I try not to sit on it, I just move to another interest and follow what’s giving me energy. The inspiration follows.

What is your best advice for your peers?
I don’t know if I’m old and wise enough to answer that, but I guess I would say to just pursue whatever is motivating you and don’t get too attached to anything.

What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years?
I would tell myself to go for it, stop beating around the bush doing things you know that you don’t want to do.

What is a photographer’s role now that technology has made it so much more accessible to the masses?
Technology and accessibility haven’t changed the photographers true role of visual story teller any more than cheap paint has changed the painter’s role or online publishing has changed that of the writer’s. Expression through visual communication is both innate and learned, there are always people who are doing it well and people who aren’t. If anything, technology and accessibility have just added a longer list of tasks to the job that take away from the creative experience side of being a professional photographer.

What do you see yourself doing in five years?
In five years time I hope to be doing more or less what I am doing now, but for more clients with whom I have been nurturing mutually beneficial relationships that help us both grow creatively and financially.

Check out more work from Scott Lorenzen.