Christina Angquico hails from Vancouver, Washington. She works at the Histology Laboratory at the Vancouver Clinic. Interested in art starting as a youth, Christina discovered photography as a creative outlet for herself. Her breathtaking landscape work has garnered awards. Christina talks to atlas this week about her love of photographing nature and her talent for taking viewers on a journey through her images. (Editor’s note: As summer marches at a fast pace, we wanted to slow it down and revisit one of our favorite posts to showcase nature’s quiet beauty. Enjoy!)
How did you first get started in photography?
Christina Angquico: Thank you for interviewing me for atlas. I use to watch Bob Ross paint happy little trees when I would get home from school. I tried my best to emulate the scene but my versions never resembled anything happy or anything tree like for that matter. I remember the first time I saw an Anne Geddes book. I fell in love with her creativity. I guess portrait work was what originally sparked my love for photography.
You capture predominantly landscape/nature images. What about photographing landscape/nature resonates with you? Do you see yourself expanding to other genres?
Living in the Northwest I have access to some of the most stunning scenery in the world. When my life starts to get chaotic, nature has a way of re-charging and de-stressing my mind and body. Portrait photography has the opposite effect. Ask any landscape photographer about their last experience shooting a wedding! In all seriousness, I have handsome children and gorgeous nieces and nephews that model for me when the inspiration bug bites.
What is your approach to photography?
My approach to photography has changed from when I started. I would spend exorbitant amounts of time studying and researching every composition. When I composed my shot, I made every effort to come away with something unique to distinguish myself from thousands of other shots that came before mine. You can imagine what a fruitless effort this is considering the amount of photographers who visit or reside in the beautiful Northwest. Of course, everyone strives for originality but you would have to be photographing some pretty remote off trail scenes to come away with anything original nowadays. From my perspective, I see the majority of photographers distinguishing themselves from the crowds with stylized processing techniques. I love looking at the popular page on 500px and being able to tell who took the photograph without first seeing their name. My approach to photography has been much more lax the past couple of years. I don’t feel the need to research every composition, to weather watch or to pressure myself into coming up with something original and distinguishing myself from the crowds. I enjoy nature and how it recharges you when you take away the competitive aspect of comparing yourself with others. Do what you like and what ultimately makes you happy.
How do you see your work evolving over the next few years? Are you working on any new projects?
I have a bucket list of places that I want to see before I die so I will definitely be working on that. Maybe I can re-train my brain to not detest taking portraits and expand my skill set and make good on the reasoning I gave my husband to buy me a camera in the first place. After my grandfather died, I learned that he had a portrait studio so expanding into that genre doesn’t seem so far-fetched.
While there are growing numbers of women now, photography is historically a male-dominated field. Do you have any thoughts about why this is so? Can anything be done to increase the number of woman photographers in the industry?
I think female landscape photographers are increasingly growing in numbers and this trend will continue. What is more disconcerting to me in this digital age is photography as a profession. How many professional photographers can provide for their families needs living solely off of their art? Making ends meet while being a photographer is certainly a hard feat regardless of your gender.
Are you self-taught or did you attend formal photography classes?
I have never taken any formal photography classes but I have had excellent mentors along the way. In 2009 I was perusing a site called Flickr and fell in love with landscape photography, particularly waterfalls. I decided I wanted to learn how to shoot waterfalls and started emailing people in hopes for a response. I got really lucky and have met and made some pretty wonderful friends through that site. After I learned the basics about exposures, everything else I have learned has been through reading and watching Youtube videos.
What do you look for in terms of composition when you are taking an image?
Having a focal point and elements that support that focal point is essential. You want to take your viewers on a journey as if they were standing there right with you — an escape from all the hustle and bustle where they can feel and absorb the beauty or mood you are trying to convey. I love when you can just feel the warmth of the sun exude from a photograph or smell the salt in the air from an artists rendition of a familiar place.
If you had one piece advice for a novice photographer, what would it be?
You don’t need expensive gear or to get the best of the best of everything. You need to be there, practice, practice, practice and shoot raw.
For more information about Christina, visit her website. All images © Christina Angquico.