Few know the truth in “A picture says a thousand words” like those in the profession of photography.
For Gary Alan Nelson, his career began after college, when he started doing newspaper work as a photojournalist. While he enjoyed the photography aspect, he didn’t enjoy the hours or the pressure of the industry, and after five years he transitioned into landscape photography. This is what he has been doing since 1993.
Somewhat unusual in this digital age, for the first 20 years of his career, Nelson used a 4x5 large-format field camera. This setup requires a tripod in every scenario and a dark cloth over your head to see through the camera, which displays an upside-down view when looking into the back of the camera’s body. Nelson says he got into the “digital world” in 2006, when “sheet film and processing was getting expensive.”
Transitioning to a digital camera greatly streamlined his process and allowed faster finished products to clients. He says in the past few years he’s also done a lot of abstract landscape photography, and images end up looking more like paintings. However, Nelson does most of his work in editorial, stock and assignment photography. He particularly enjoys projects that take him to the wilderness, national parks or, as he says, “anywhere out of the caterwauling of commerce.”
Nelson says with the influx of new photographers and the drastic increase in hobby and professional photography in the world, it can be harder to find new ideas. “A person just has to go farther out of the way for inspiration,” he says.
Those hoping to see more of Nelson’s photos can head to his website or see some of his work displayed at Gustaf’s Galleries in Lindstrom, Minn.