Artist Fellowship | Features

Meet an Artist Fellow: Photographer, Ian West

Towards the end of last year, we hosted photographer, Ian West, at Getaway Beaver Creek outside of Pittsburgh and Cleveland, so he could disconnect from the noise and reconnect to nature. Here’s what he had to stay about his creative process, his connection to nature, and his Getaway.

Fill us in on your background—personally and in your creative practice. 

At a young age, I started playing around with little digital cameras. Whether it involved taking some silly pictures or actually taking them apart, I found myself fascinated by cameras. Fast forward nearly a decade to my family trip to Europe back in 2011. That trip to Europe changed my life forever by fiercely igniting my passion in photography through all the beautiful mountains and thrilling sights that the area has to offer. The very first day I got back home from the trip, I bought my first DSLR with a kit 18-55mm lens and the rest is history. 

As for my creative practice, some of my best work is made when it is something truly exciting and fun. It’s hard for me to be creatively inspired if it’s not something I particularly want to shoot. My methodology involves making time behind the camera a moment for relaxation (which can show itself in the form of intense focus for me at times) and happiness, which in turn translates to better art! In summary, take a moment to clear your head and don’t be afraid to try something new or from a different perspective. 

How does your connection to nature influence you personally, and how does it influence your art?

I am deeply tied into nature through my art. Through nature, I’ve learned how at times, you need some symmetry, simplicity, even cluttered scenes depending on what you’re shooting. Just like if you have a messy room, you’d have to navigate it differently than if you  had a pristine clean room. The clean room gives you a chance to mess with various perspectives. For the messy room however, you have to work with what you have and learn how to make the best of an otherwise undesirable shot. Sometimes the conditions are bad or unexpected, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make beautiful art! Challenge yourself!

How was your Getaway?

My Getaway experience was absolutely phenomenal! I finally got to take some cute steaming coffee/other cute coffee poses like I’ve seen across billboards and media for years, so that was totally a new thing for me. The time in the cabin really enabled some deep introspection and time to allow my creativity to flourish. I cannot express in words how much I want to go back there, or just build a tiny home of my own someday on a plot of land in the woods. 10/10 highly recommend!! Without a doubt, I will be returning for another Getaway trip as soon as my schedule clears back up!