We’ve been waiting for this gem of an interview for awhile and are excited to share it with everyone. Meet Rob Woodcox a creative photographer that we stumbled upon through Facebook and 500px.
Tell us a little bit about you?
I am a 22 year old recently graduated and making the transition from a part-time to full-time photographer. I crave adventure and long to tell stories and help people.
Where do you consider home?
I call Michigan home, the strange city of Ypsilanti to be exact!
Usually an interesting question is the Education one. Did you attend school for Photography?
I attended school for a 2 year Associates in Photography.
How long have you been a photographer?
I picked up a camera with the intent of creating art for the first time about 3 years ago.
How long have you been into surreal portraits and manipulations?
My interest in surreal portraits began quite early in my photographic career. I have always been fascinated by theater, movies, dance and written stories, and I wanted to convey similar styles in my photographs to the styles you see in performing arts.
What or who got you started in photography?
I have always been creative, but it wasn’t until college that I started considering photography. I credit my mom’s obsession with always capturing family moments, and my love of being on the yearbook club in high school for initially triggering my interest in photography.
How would you describe your style?
My style is magical, adventurous, emotional, captivating, and yet human at the same time. Although I love portraying the surreal, I like audiences to still feel connected to my work on a personal level, as though they could be a part of the story I’m telling.
What is your current gear setup?
My current setup is pretty simple, I use a 5D mk II with a 50mm 1.4 and a 24-70mm 2.8. Most of my images are either taken using natural light with reflection or using rented strobes.
What is your favorite lens and why?
My favorite lens is the 50mm 1.4. It is the perfect portrait lens for what I do and the depth of field is gorgeous. I would love to get more experience with the 1.2 and some longer focal lengths.
What lighting equipment do you take on a regular shoot if any?
When I use lighting equipment I prefer to use profoto equivalent power packs and soft boxes, but I can work with any setup, simple or complex. Because most of my work is on location, I prefer simple lighting setups.
How important is Photoshop in your final images?
Photoshop plays a large role in many of my images. Although I like to shoot as much as I can in camera, some things can’t be done without a little aid from photoshop. No matter how simple or complex an image, I tend to expand many images (merge multiple images into one to make it larger) and I always work with the colors and contrast selectively to my liking and style.
Are you a Mac or PC lover?
Do you plan on buying any new equipment in the near future and if so what do you have your eyes set on?
I would like either a new lens or a set of portable strobes!
What gives you ideas and inspires you to create such amazing imagery?
My inspirations come from a variety of places. My life experiences, dreams and beliefs often formulate into strange visions and then become photographs. I truly am amazed at how my brain works though, I could be staring at a pattern on a wall and suddenly I imagine myself floating into the sky with leaves floating around me, mimicking the pattern. Although many ideas are based around real life, many formulate out of complete imagination; I credit God for my gift of imagination!
What has been your most memorable or favorite project and why?
My most memorable project to date was definitely the circus series I did with my church. My church has 25,000 members and therefore has the capability to present messages in captivating and unparalleled ways. For a series, I got to collaborate with a videographer to build an entire circus set, filled with performers that we spent a whole day photographing- in character and in full time period costume. That day felt like I was transported back in time! Here is a link to the video that was created: https://vimeo.com/40794115
Is there a particular project that you would like to go into small detail of the creation of such a portrait?
Well I am currently developing a photo project to raise $30,000 in funds for foster kids to attend a summer camp and year round mentoring program. The project involves 20 photoshoots of entirely children, that will tell foster kids’ stories for them, using surreal and cinematic environments. All of the shoots involve large sets and multiple models, requiring a large team and loads of support. I have been fortunate to enlist some incredible makeup, hair, and wardrobe assistants as well as some great kid models. It is the largest project I have attempted to date, so to follow along or find more information on supporting the project, check out: indiegogo.com/projects/Stories-Worth-Telling
Is there a photographer you would love to say you got your photograph taken by?
There are a few I’d be thrilled to model for: Annie Liebovitz, Tim Walker, Joey L, Brooke Shaden, and Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison
Do you have or ever use an assistant/2nd shooter that accompanies you on an projects?
I almost always have an assistant or a team on shoots. I could not do what I do without incredible support!
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about being an artist?
I find one of the most difficult things about being an artist is having the drive to perform all the roles that one must perform to succeed. Being an artist means being a businessperson, social butterfly, and creative problem solver all at once. Sometimes it can be exhausting, but the triumphs of creating artwork and inspiring others never get old!
What do you think of the current state of the photography industry and where do you see it in 5 years from now?
I think photography in 5 years from now will still be very much similar to what it is now, with even more emphasis on digital rather than print. I don’t foresee the need for it fading anytime soon though!
If I wasn’t a photographer, I would have loved to have been a writer or dancer. What would you have been?
If I hadn’t fallen into photography like I did, I would have loved to pursue acting, environmental work, or humanitarian work, although I have been doing some of those on the side anyhow!
Is there a particular person in your life that you could say has taught you the most out of anyone you know?
I would have to say my parents taught me the most I know. They taught me to have a love for life and others that I couldn’t have learned in any other way than experiencing it firsthand from them!
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
The greatest love of my life is The Lord, I have been in much darker and less successful places in my life, and coming to know that there was hope for me was a life changing experience to say the least!
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is being alone. Not in a temporary sense, but more of a long term relationship sense, I want to always have close strong relationships.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
I would start by buying a property for all my artist friends and I to live together and collaborate in, and then I would invest the rest to start a charitable organization helping foster children and victims of human trafficking.
What would you like to be doing in 5 years from now?
I would like to be traveling the world teaching photography workshops and photographing for large clients on a regular basis, while doing humanitarian work on the side.
And the last question, if you had one wish…
It may sound cliché, but I’d wish everyone in the world lived in peace with one another. I always love seeing people that enjoy life, and it would be my wish for everyone to experience that joyful state!