Craigslist Guy

A month or so ago, I had responded to an ad that had a nice Nikon camera for sale.  The advertisement was bright and well written.  Pictures of the camera were very nice, and absolutely didn’t look like a normal thrown together add.  It was weeks later after the purchase that I realized this craigslist guy was a perfect candidate for my professional practice.I had contacted him, and asked for an interview over the internet. Setting aside a few questions that I personally wanted to know, and that also would be helpful for anyone in the Multimedia design world.

His name is Colin Houck.  A current student at LCC studying political science, also studing marketing and photo journalism at the University of Oregon.  Currently he owns and runs his own photography business from home, and goes on specific shoots for various clients.  My first question for him was; When did you fall for photography? “At about 9 years old, in my grandparents garage,” Colin replied.  His love for photography unfolded literally within a collection of National Geographic magazines.  These images and stories had opened up a whole new world for him and was the initial spark that remains to light his passion today.

Next I wanted a simple follow-up from the first question. Why do you love it?  “Well?” Colin contemplated.  “I love story telling, and the way we can captivate in a visual method.”  He explained that this was especially true in still imagery.  We discussed how video is very similar, yet so much different then photography.  That video does seem to dominate most of our media, but photography still holds something special.  “It offers us a frozen moment of time, where a viewer creates their own space, for a more meditative experience, ” he explained.  That quote in itself took me back, and I truly knew I was talking with an artist.

Who inspires you? I asked.  “People inspire me.”  He describes the articles from various magazines are what stand out the most.  It was their documentation and experiences of the world that drew him in further.  Specifically in the seventies and eighties, National Geographic had published a lot of articles and stories of rural america.  Those articles, and especially the images, really stuck with him.   “I can’t really put my finger on why, but salt of the earth types fascinate me to this day.”

At this point in our conversation, I had been transcended by the way he views what I thought was just a job.  It was and is, so much more!  He really loves it by the way he articulates every word.  I feel so much more inspired by our conversation, to truly push that harder in my own work. How about traveling and living abroad?  “I spent all of my late teens and twenties living a carefree life, galavanting around the country and half the world.” We both shared a similar upbringing and by our early adulthood, I suppose you could say, we just wanted to travel and live on the breaths of wind.   Floating around the world and back.  The only difference between our dreams of this lifestyle is, Colin, actually did!  But settling and establishing strong roots is the path he is taking now.  “Right now, I am focused on finishing my degree, and growing my business.” Colin said.

I wanted to finish this conversation with a very open and vague question.  Advice for people who want to become a photographer?  “As for advice all I can say is to keep at it.”  Don’t get discouraged when photo editors or clients don’t come beating down your door.  Keep putting yourself out there, network, attend workshops and conferences, apply for grants, scholarships, internships, competitions etc.  The more you put yourself out there, the more you’ll get back.  It was all this advice that really stuck with me from talking with Colin.  Of course I have heard all this advice many times, and from many different people.  But this time it actually stuck, I had seen his work, could feel the passion thru his words, and mostly he was actually, LIVING IT!  Letting his photography speak for him, and never stopping.  That relentless spirit is something I have always admired.  I am forever thankful for finding him thru craigslist, and stars do seem to align in the strangest ways.  His advice will stick with me forever, and inspire me to always push forward in life.