Getting to know @mrbrock21

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I’ve always been a huge fan of Brock Sanders’ works. Through the support of INK361, I managed to have a small chat with Brock about his photography adventure. He is a very friendly and supportive person, who is full of passion and enthusiasm. Brock Sanders was a landscape photographer who has recently fallen in love with shooting portraits. View his gallery of amazing works on Instagram – @mrbrock21, and give him a follow. He is also the founder of @thepostcarddiary, an interesting project about community. Go to www.brocksanders.com to read more about his photography journey, but here is the full interview to get you started.

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1. Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Brock Sanders (@mrbrock21), I’m a native californian and a self taught photographer living in the San Francisco, Bay Area.  I’m 34 years old and I’ve lived through the transition of film photography into the digital age.  You could say I’m a bit obsessed with Instagram, or maybe it’s just my main artistic outlet.

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2. When did you first take up photography?

When I was about 9 my parents bought me my first camera.  It took 110 film.  Basically a film format that was super easy to use and probably cheap to develop.  I remember going on a trip to Washington D.C. and snapping away with that cheap little black camera.  I still have a few prints, specifically John F. Kennedys grave sight, the eternal flame.  Since that camera I was hooked and have been taking photos every since.  Later on in High School I took all the photo classes my school had to offer and ended up being the teachers assistant in the dark room.  I was getting ready to apply for photography schools and my teacher told me not to waste my time and that I would never make money being a photographer.  Of course I listened and ended up going off to a University and majored in Political Science and History.  Over the years I sold off my photo equipment.  A few years ago I turned to my iphone to capture images and it was life changing.  Then about two years ago I downloaded Instagram and was hooked. Now many years after high school I’m finally doing what I always dreamed of doing, capturing images!

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3. How do you describe your style of photography? 

The word I use to describe my style is moody, which is how my girlfriend often describes me, but aren’t all artist moody.

     – Any particular things or places you always look out for before you shoot. 

As a landscape photographer I’m always scouting and searching for new places.  I love shooting fog, so being in San Francisco is a bonus.  I often have to take weather and seasons into the consideration to shoot foggy conditions.  To capture that perfect shot I usually end up visiting the same location many times.  When I’m not shooting fog, I’m usually searching for soft golden light.

Lately I’ve been shooting more portraits which has always been a dream of mine.  I’ve had the opportunity to work with many models over the past couple months and I must say I think I enjoy it more than landscape photography.  I love the ability and the challenge to create an image with a model.  Taking a person and putting them in an environment is something that I find exciting.   With landscapes I sometimes feel like i’m waiting for nature to create the moment I’m looking for.

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4. Whats your favourite tools or apps that you use for editing your photos? 

I do a lot of my editing on my iphone mostly because I like the ease of being able to edit on the go and whenever I feel like.  I’ve always been a VSCO lover and it is my go too app to edit my photos from both my Fuji gear and iphone5.  Lately I’ve been using a bit of SnapSeed because of its amazing ability to allow selective adjustments.

     – A certain style/look you always go for.

I use a lot of the same filters in my editing which makes many of my photos have the same tones no matter what the subject is.  I’ve always enjoyed the F2 and M3 filters available on VSCO.  These filters are described as mellow and moody.  I also really enjoy some of the new essence filters as well as the Hype beast presets.  Lately i’ve been doing some layering of filters, in which I edit a photo and save it to my library and then upload the edited image back into the app and apply another filter.

    – The workflow.

My workflow usually consists of importing my favorite images from the day to VSCO and applying similar edits to all the photos from the day to keep things consistent.  Then after that I will go through and fine tune images and sometimes upload to Snapseed if I need to adjust selectively.  Another secret of mine when posting to Instagram is using some of the adjustment tools they offer after i’ve done my edits through VSCO.  I really enjoy Instagrams ability to lower the shadows.

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5. Do you always keep in mind the consistency throughout your gallery?

I don’t think my gallery is consistent like a lot of galleries on Instagram. I would love to do something like a gallery all based on whites, but it would just put such a limit on photos I could post.  I feel like my Instagram gallery has a consistent edit that brings all my photos together no matter the image.

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6. Any other photo projects that you are working on right now or plan to do in the near future?

Right now I’m working on a blog project of all my model shoots.  I’ve been sharing series from each of my shoots that consist of uncropped full size images.  I’m also in works with a female model to capture all the possible emotions that one feels through music.  In addition I am working on a series in which I will capture a female model in everyday life around her home.

     – which brands or artists u want to collaborate with, the most.

I’m open to collaborate with any brand or artist, but I particularly want to collaborate with dancers.  There is something about ballerinas that I just find beautiful and graceful.

As for brands I would love to do something for Free People or Ubran Outfitters.  I often find myself having my models going that style route and it would be an amazing opportunity to shoot either of those brands.

      – Which other area of photography that you’ve always wanted to explore.

I’ve always wanted to explore nude photography more.  Not the gritty type stuff, but just natural beauty in the skin that we live in.  Capturing people how they really are, without much edits.  I’m not one to touch up skin much or edit out or hide imperfections.  I call that being human and thats what I want to capture.

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7. What are your other hobbies/interests besides photography? 

I’m a big sports fan, especially baseball.  In october you’ll find me in front of the TV watching the World Series.  I’m also a big movie fan and catch many flicks at the theater.

8. Are there any tips or techniques you would like to share with our new and aspiring photographers? 

I would tell any new or aspiring photographers out there not to focus of camera gear or editing tools, but to get out there and shoot.  Not just shoot, but shoot every single day.  Go out there and find your style and how you view the world through the camera.  Set a goal of shooting 10,000 images and when you do and you think you have your style down, go out and shoot another 10,000 photos.  It’s so important to find your own eye as a photographer.  As artist we are always growing and each day we have the ability to become better.  Don’t let yourself get stuck and think that their is only one way to be a photographer.  A lot of photographers didn’t accept social media playing a role and they were left behind.  Keep an open mind and don’t be scared of change.

      – What advice you wished you had known earlier that would help in your photography career

I wished I would have stuck with my dreams and not followed the advice I was given to not be a photographer. You’ll either end up not doing what you love and find yourself returning back to your passion down the road.  Or you’ll live life doing what you don’t enjoy and when it’s all over you’ll wish you would have made your life what you wanted it to be.

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9. Recommend some Instagrammers that inspires you.

There are so many good ones out there, but I’m constantly looking at the Instagram feeds of @basementfox, @jaredchambers, and @benjaminheath.  They are all true inspirations.

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Article by Hans Ding, who is an iPhone photographer from the tiny island city-state of Singapore. With curious eyes and keen awareness to his surroundings, Hans readies his trusty iPhone, standing by interesting pockets of light and awaiting to capture that opportune moment. His photographs are of personal moments in his daily commute and meetings. They highlight human interactions filtered through his eyes and introduce serenity to the usual hustle and bustle of his home city. For more of his work, visit www.hansding.vsco.co and follow him on Instagram @hanliang.
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