Kerry Tasker is an Anchorage-based editorial and portrait photographer. He graduated from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon with a degree in Fine Arts. Kerry’s passion for photography arises from his deep love of the wilderness and vast landscape found in his home state of Alaska. He has freelanced for numerous organizations, including the Invision/Associated Press, Alaska Dispatch News, and the First Alaskans Magazine. He has a masterful eye for style and composition whether he is shooting the Chugach Range, stranded murres or a live music show. This week Kerry speaks to atlas about how he got his start in photography, what makes his work a “success,” and what he is working on next.
How did you first become interested in photography?
Kerry Tasker: I first really took an interest in photography when I was in high school. My first camera was an old Canon AE1. Looking back, I wish I still had that camera.
Are you self-taught or do you have a formal education in photography?
I have a BFA in photography from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon. The school had three different darkrooms, including one just for color printing. It was great. I spent a lot of time in those rooms trying to get just the right print. I guess it might be a little ironic that I have not been in a darkroom in ten years now.
From the photos on your website and Instagram, it looks like you shoot across various genres e.g., people, landscape, nature, etc. What do you enjoy photographing the most and why?
This is an interesting question, because I think it is kind of strange to categorize images like this. I try to approach photography the same way regardless of what it is I am photographing. My goal is always the same, which is to convey what is in front of me in a compelling way or at least not in a boring way. I consider it a success if my work is, at a minimum, not boring. So I guess to answer the question, I would have to say my favorite thing to photo is the interesting, however that manifests itself.
Any areas in Alaska which are particularly scenic to you that you find yourself coming back to over and over again?
One location that comes to mind is Hatcher Pass, which is about an hour from where I live. It is full of dramatic mountains and views and as far as I know, there are zero bears up there.
Any photographers whose work you admire?
I have always been a huge admirer of artists who can create their own narrative, who construct meaning by literally building an image. Jeff Wall and Gregory Crewdson come to mind as perfect examples. The way they create is inspiring.
What kind of camera equipment do you use?
I alternate between digital 35mm and medium format film cameras depending on what I think I can get away with. I jumped on the Sony train a while back with the a7R, but found myself fighting the camera so much that I quickly sold it and went back to Canon. The Sony was the only camera that would actually crash while I was shooting — like full-system restart crash.
If you could go on a photo shoot with any photographer (living or deceased), who would it be and why?
This is a tough one! There are so many interesting people doing amazing work right now. Maybe Alex Prager? Her work is awesome. I would love to see just how she puts an image together.
Are you working on any new projects?
I have a few things in the pipeline. I am working on a show for next year and a personal film project. The day- to-day assignments from newspapers and magazines keep me pretty busy as well.
Thanks for being our featured photographer of the week, Kerry!
For more information about Kerry, visit his website. All images © Kerry Tasker.