When commercial photographer James Quantz Jr. was asked by his rep to come up a series of images using an Airstream trailer, she probably didn't expect that he'd create something like this! Quantz took his Nikon D700 and 70–200mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens and spent two days observing and photographing gorillas at Zoo Atlanta. Stories started to unfold right in front of his very eyes...
The photographer quickly went back to his studio and started adding props to his images - flowers, beer bottles, a chessboard and some fishing line. Then, using CS5, he started to craft his story. Spending 10-12 hours a day on a single image, Quantz wanted to get everything just right.
After a laborious process, he created these fantastic, six images. And, while we can appreciate them on many levels, mostly, we thank Quantz for giving us a rare, uncensored look into the secret lives of apes.
We got in touch with Quantz to ask him a few questions. Read that short Q&A after enjoying these fun photos.
How does working on these kinds of projects help you develop your own style and help land you professional jobs?
I think, when approaching a project like this, there is always that moment of panic where you ask yourself, 'Okay, how will I pull this off?' I could have chosen an easier concept but I thought the result would be worth the extra effort. If not so much in a stylistic way but maybe in an approach and problem solving manner. One where a prospective client can hopefully look at these and feel confident in using me to assist in creating something creative and visually unique. I also learn along the way while I work on something as extensive as this turned out to be and hopefully those skills will help in the future.
In this day and age, how hard is it to stand out?
It's pretty hard. There are so many good photographers it's almost like showing up to a dance with 100 of your guy friends hoping that one of the two girls there will feel inspired enough to ask you to dance.
What do you love most about being a photographer/digital artist and what's the most challenging?
I think it would have to be the sense of accomplishment when I'm able to overcome the obstacles to complete an image or project. The whole process of brainstorming and finding unique ways to approach a concept is pretty invigorating as well. The challenge is getting around to doing these interviews!
What advice would you give to others?
I would say that you've got to find the style of work that inspires you. Whether it's photography, retouching or digging a ditch, if you're not inspired you will never find the drive to put in the hours it takes to be successful.
Thank you for the interview, James, and for sharing your highly creative photos!
James Quantz Jr."