When there are so many areas of professional photography to specialise in it is often difficult to decide which is best for you. TOR McINTOSH speaks to US adventure photographer TIM KEMPLE to find out what it takes to make a photographic career out of a passion for the outdoors.
If there’s one word that describes how Tim Kemple has managed to carve a living as an outdoor adventure photographer in less than a decade, it’s passion. “I love the outdoors and I actively do all the sports that I shoot. As an athlete myself there’s an authentic nature that I try to capture in my photos,” explains the 29-year-old American when I speak to him on the eve of the gruelling North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc, the marathon event he has photographed for the past three years. “Also, I love photographing people who are really passionate about what they do,” he adds. His daring and breathtaking photographs of runners and climbers taken in spectacular landscapes throughout the world for clients capture not only the subject, but also the atmosphere and mood of the events.
Growing up in the state of New Hampshire, in the north-eastern US, Tim initially focused his attention on climbing.With some of the east coast’s best destinations for the pursuit on his doorstep he quickly became an accomplished climber, teaming up with locals Dave Graham and Joe Kinder, who remain well-known names in the climbing world. His transition from climber to photographer began in the summer of 1999 when he set out on a road trip to Utah with Dave, Joe and other friends after graduating from high school. “I used the $200 I was given from my relatives for graduating to buy a Nikon N90 so that I could document the road trip,” he recalls. “I knew through reading some photography books that I should probably shoot with slide film if I wanted to take the best photos, to show people when I got back. So with little money left after buying the N90 I borrowed a 35-70mm f/2.8 lens from one of the guys at a local outdoor shop and was given a bunch of expired slide film.”
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Published in Turning Pro, Nov 2010.