There’s something about surfing that makes it so appealing to the eyes: the journey that belongs to it, but most especially, the love it gives us for what is surrounding us and the reminder that nature is bigger than us. This scary fact is a daily reminder that we should never forget because as we know, it may not last forever. There're certain destinations that are a pure delight to the soul and San Francisco is definitely one of them. Located in Northern California, San Francisco is the perfect mix of city life, cold water surfing, and big impressive mountains. For a photographer, it is a city that constantly challenges you to capture better photos of the great outdoors around you. For Adam Raymaker, it is a career he pursued to remind himself of the beauty he’s able to see every day and the endless adventures he has to jump on to witness it all.
Having the chance to understand his calling at a young age, Adam is working as a photographer at Myles Apparel, which allows him to be a freelance photographer on his free time and seek what he really likes. Without the need to take photos only for the money, he can get lost in beautiful destinations and remote places in search of something he will truly feel connected to. His photos are more than simple photographs and they’re inspiring in a lot of ways, but the one thing that truly stands out is the vibrant colors he allows us to see, which almost looks like a painting. It is easy to feel the passion he has for the world and how grateful he is to experience this kind of beauty, so we decided to ask him a couple of questions to see if his words would be as inspiring as his photos. Of course, it was. It is with wise words that he reminds us the true spirit of photography and give us a chance to understand him.
A worth-knowing photographer? Definitely.
Focusing your artwork on the outdoor, your pictures are a constant reminder that nature is beautiful and the need to explore is necessary. When did you get involved in photography? Were you expecting to live a creative career while growing up?
Thank you. That's definitely one thing I try to get across. I got into photography right after I graduated high school in 2010. I realized that studying at a traditional liberal arts university wasn't for me after just two short months. That's when I started studying photography and taking it more seriously. So I knew what I wanted to do when I was 18. Not only until then did I know I wanted to have a creative career.
Living in San Francisco, California, you are having the best of both worlds, waves & mountains. What are you looking for when capturing a photo? Do you have any specific ideas in your mind or you just go out, explore and find the beauty?
It's a special place to live, I'm thankful to be here! I think I just leave a lot up to chance when capturing a photo. Especially if it's just personal work. I might have a specific idea if it's any particular location that I'm familiar with and I have a photo in mind. But if you go in with a strict idea, then you won't be as willing to be flexible, which I think is important.
Where do you find the inspiration? It must be quite hard to constantly seek new landscapes and new ways to showcase them through your lens!
Most of my inspiration comes from some of the photography greats like Hiroshi Sugimoto and Henri Cartier-Bresson. It's hard not to gather inspiration from photographers like them. I don't want to completely emulate them though, I want to be different. I want my work to look different from everyone else's, but also be something that the viewer can relate to. So in that way, it isn't difficult to find a new way to showcase a familiar landscape. Just do something that nobody else is doing. I also gather some inspiration from painters Caspar David Friedrich and Caravaggio, mostly for composition and the way they use light.
How would you describe your photography to someone that never seen it?
I would describe my photography, mostly my personal work, as a simple way to look at something incredibly complicated: the environment and the world around us. Often times I'm trying to find a way to break something down into a simpler form, so it's easier to look at but also makes you think. The photos are meant to be simple, the process isn't.
Your go-to gear when you’re going on an adventure?
I like to shoot with Canon digital cameras and lenses. I'm often carrying that gear in my Aperture bag from Boreas Gear and wearing any jacket from Aether Apparel. You can find me moving around California in my Subaru Forester (has to count as a piece of gear for me)!
Who were the first photographers that you found inspiring and that motivated you to join the industry?
When I first got into photography six years ago, Jimmy Chin and Chris Burkard were the first people to motivate me. They still do today. Which sounds a little cliché given how popular they are now! Once I started to study the history of photography more a year or so later, Hiroshi Sugimoto became a big motivator and inspiration as well.
So, are you now practicing photography as a full-time career? Is being freelance something stressful or you manage to stay passionate still?
Yes I am! So I'm currently the Creative Associate at Myles Apparel in San Francisco (where my job is mostly photography). Then besides that, I do freelance as well. It's always been sort of a goal of mine to work in-house somewhere and then also seek freelance work. That way, you get a salary and all the benefits that go along with that while also working with numerous brands when you have time. So in that way, I'm not really stressed, and I stay passionate too! It also gives me more freedom to try new and bizarre things in my personal work. I'm not out photographing things to impress future clients or anything, I'm just out photographing what I like, and finding new ways to do so. Then it also feels super rewarding when someone connects with that work in some way.
What do you love most about being a photographer, and what do you find to be the most challenging aspect of the job?
My favorite part of being a photographer is sharing my work. I'm not really out searching for "likes" or anything, I just get super excited to show people something I did or saw! Maybe they'll get inspired to do something themselves, that always feels great. The most challenging part would have to be the personal marketing or time spent in front of a computer screen. It's okay though, it's necessary, and could lead to more opportunities to share photos with even more people!
You’re touching to a range of subjects, but mostly focusing your work on outdoor and the sea. What do you like about it, and especially, why do you like to capture them in photos?
I grew up going outdoors a lot with my parents and sister. Once I started to grow up more, I realized I had taken most of it for granted. By focusing most of my work on the outdoors now, my hopes are to show others that they shouldn't take it for granted. Water specifically is my favorite thing to photograph. Have you ever just looked at the ocean for an extended period of time and really thought about what you're looking at? It's crazy. I always think about how far one wave has traveled, just to crash into the shore. Or how a drop of water has moved all throughout the world, just to fall down a waterfall. I know that's not how water works, but it makes me think. That's the major reason why I like to focus on details within nature, and simplifying it into a photo that is easy to understand, but also makes someone think.
Do you have any projects coming up for you?
I'm going to Europe with my girlfriend, Victoria! I've never been out of North America, so I feel really lucky to be able to go to England, Portugal, and France with her. I guess it doesn't really count as a "project", but I'll certainly be taking lots of photos and taking in all of my surroundings. I'm excited to see so many new places and things, and I hope to learn a lot!