Camera:5d MK II.
Hotel:Grand Hotel, Mackinac, MI.
Rob Woodcox is a surreal portrait and fine artist hailing from Portland Oregon. He exercises his talent for photography with a passion that is unquenchable and contagious. His interest in photography began in the fall of 2009 and he started pursuing a full time career in the fall of 2013. He brings his natural sense of adventure, innovation, and youthful spirit into every interaction, and incorporates these facets into every image. Rob thrives on sharing his imagination and dreams with others; in the fall of 2013 he had the opportunity to have an image turned into a film as a part of Project Imaginat10n with Ron Howard and Canon.
Over the last year, he has had the privilege to excel teaching other artists through interactive portfolio and technique building workshops. He has taught in over 10 cities around the USA and Canada and looks forward to expanding horizons to other cities and countries around the world in 2015.
Rob Woodcox is also passionate about raising awareness for those in need and in 2013 used his photography to raise funds for foster kids to attend camp and to further knowledge of the need in the foster care system. His collaboration with 4 others artists, Stories Worth Telling, raised 12K for foster kids in need.
When he is not creating photographs, Rob mentors children and artists, travels, cooks, and longboards.
-How did you first become interested in photography?I have been surrounded by photographs my whole life. My mom has always been that one mom that feels the need to take pictures of the family constantly. It wasn’t until high school that I started playing with a camera while participating in the yearbook club. I’d always loved art, and when drawing and painting didn’t work out, I figured I’d try photography as an art form in college. I quickly became addicted to telling a story through the lens and makeshift shoots quickly consumed my time with friends.
-What is your typical camera setup on a shoot?My setup is pretty simple, I use a 5d MK II with a 50mm 1.4 lens the majority of the time. I use portable lights when necessary but half the time I rely on natural light and reflection. I’d like to invest in the Sony A7S for its incredible low light abilities.
-What words best describe your style of photography?I’d say the best words to describe my style are surreal, dream-like and conceptual.
-You also mentor other photographers. How has teaching informed your own creative practice?I thoroughly enjoy mentoring other artists. I’d say teaching informs my own practice by keeping techniques in the forefront of my mind, and by challenging me to see my concepts through the eyes of others. Spending time encouraging others helps me to continuously encourage myself. Being an artist can seem impossible without community, and my students support me as much as I support them.
-What is your post-production workflow like?Post-production will vary depending on the image, however my process tends to always span the course of 2-3 days per image or set of images. The first day is always focused on piecing together the entire image or set of images; many of my photographs are many images stitched or composited together. On day 1, I will typically complete the merging and colouring/toning of an image or set. Once my eyes have bled enough, I usually save the fine-tuning and re-evaluation of colour/tones for day 2. On extreme edits, a third day is sometimes required.
-What is your dream project?My dream project would be photographing one of my favourite musicians or actors for a campaign benefitting a charitable organisation combatting child abuse or human trafficking. If the campaign had the budget to create on a Tim Walker or Annie Leibovitz level, my creative and humanitarian desires would both be met in one project!
-Do you ever suffer from creative blocks and if so how do you overcome them?Creative blocks are a natural occurrence I’ve found. I find escape from these blocks by simply turning down the volume of my daily commitments, be it social media or plans with friends and colleagues. I often like to give myself “thinking sessions” where I find my breath and let my mind wander. I may relive my childhood and journal the ideas that develop, or I may listen to music and find inspiration in the lyrics that stand out. Sometimes I just take a stroll through the forest, and as my mind wanders I sift out the ideas that are most vivid.
-You work on both personal and commercial areas of photography. How does your approach to creating change depending on what you are working on?Creating for clients and commercially certainly requires the most pre-planning and production. With clients I always want to give multiple options for the creative outcome; the complexity of the request certainly changes each time, but typically more conceptualising, scouting, set building or prop gathering, and post production time is needed. I like my work with clients to be collaborative so that it can best fit their image and needs, so a high level of communication is key.
Personal work may also require a decent level of pre-planning, but can also be very spontaneous. There is never that pressure to create something specific or to deliver a product, and my mind has more freedom to experiment through the process. Things don’t have to be as solidified in advance for a specific outcome.