Winner, Young Travel Photographer of the Year 2015
You can buy this and other Travel Photographer of the Year prints online here.
Chase Guttman is an award-winning travel photographer and drone photography expert who three times won Young Travel Photographer of the Year. Guttman was also named a 3 Best Travel Photography Blogger by USA Today, a Top Travel Photographer by the New York Institute of Photography and a Rising Star by Instagram. He has travelled to more than 50 countries and every U.S. state and is currently authoring a pioneering book on drone photography.
1. Where are you from?
I was born and raised in New York City.
2. What first got you into photography and how old were you?
My father, Peter Guttman, is an extraordinary travel journalist and I’ve had the distinct honor to not only evaluate his imagery, but also observe his artistic process since I was an infant. As a result, cameras have always had an incredible role in my life. In the beginning, I was the one in front of the camera – whether it was the moment I came out of the womb or the day I entered elementary school.
As they say, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” and I too have had a camera in my hands for as long as I can remember. As a toddler, I fiddled with a bright toy camera. In my early grade school years, I upgraded to a point and shoot camera (losing, dropping and damaging an assortment of these point and shoot cameras in a remarkably short stretch of time). However, I finally got serious about photography with my first DSLR, a Nikon D50 that I received when I was twelve years old.
3. How do you look to approach and capture your next best shot?
There’s a healthy mixture of preparation and luck that goes into every artistic endeavor. Going to a place, I often have specific compositions or images in my head (gleaned from research) that I try to execute, but there are so many surprising moments of immense serendipity that you must embrace as a photographer.
4. What has being involved with Travel Photographer of the Year done for your photography career?
I am incredibly grateful to the Travel Photographer of the Year Awards and its amazing cast of judges for the profound impact it has had on my photography career. It was in 2010, when I was first named Young Travel Photographer of the Year that I realized that I could pursue photography in a professional capacity. The awards helped me to discover that there was a bright future hiding behind my passion. They have pushed me, they have inspired me and they have elevated me and I deeply appreciate the essential role the competition has had in my life journey thus far.
5. Tell us the story of your profiled picture
These images were taken in the frost-laden foothills of Lesotho – a surreal southern African nation, rich in so many enchanting and otherworldly sights. One batch of photographs was taken in front of this phenomenal waterfall near Semonkong. Around sunset, I came across a group of incredibly mystical characters as they converged on the jagged basalt cliffs of Maletsunyane Falls, donning these almost balaclava like masks and beautifully woven traditional blankets. In another set of photos, I documented these mountain dwellers in the comfort of their own mud abodes high above the “Kingdom of the Sky.”
Semonkong, Lesotho | © Chase Guttman. You can buy this print online here.
6. Where is your favourite place you have visited, and why?
In my travels, I have ridden ostriches and dove with sharks, consumed everything from whale blubber to a drink that features a severed human toe and have slept on swamp platforms and in ice hotels all along the way. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to more than 50 countries and every U.S. state. Ultimately, each adventure is unique in its own way and asking me to choose one is like asking me to decide on my favorite child.
7. What piece of advice would you give someone starting out on their photography ‘career’?
If you want to do or be anything in life, you have to just go out and do it. You cultivate the greatest amount of knowledge by taking that leap of faith towards your dreams. Furthermore, be curious about the world around you. Curiosity not only makes for the best individuals, but it can lead to the best images too.
8. What do you most enjoy photographing?
Moments – whether they’re tinged by action or by emotion, the power of the camera lies in its ability to capture singular points in time. In particular, I search for compelling moments that may tell a larger story about a person, a relationship, a culture or a nation.
For more information on Travel Photographer of the Year or to enter, visit www.tpoty.com
For more information on Chase, visit www.chaseguttman.com