Awash in vibrant color, Ty Newcomb‘s contemporary landscape photography is at once familiar and surreal. By enhancing the hues of nature, he pulls out a kaleidoscope of colors that reminds views of the glory of the natural landscape. Also working in all aspects of commercial photography, Newcomb’s landscape photographs are a creative escape that allows him to translate his emotions into an image.
Mainly shooting in and around Colorado and the mountain regions of Arizona, the bubblegum palette pairs with his keen eye for composition, resulting in breathtakingly beautiful imagery. We had a chance to speak with the photographer, asking him about his influences and the role that color plays in his work. Read on for our exclusive interview.
Can you tell us a bit about your background in photography?
I started photography nearly 13 years ago when I was around 12 or 13 years old. I started filming my friends skiing and that eventually turned into me filming professional skiers and snowboarders for my own video production company I started in my parents’ basement. I eventually went on to go to college at the University of Colorado at Boulder and largely stopped filming skiing due to time issues with school and all, but I maintained filming and photography as a huge passion of mine and did a bit of photo work throughout college.
Senior year of college I quit my hourly job and began doing photography full-time building my portfolio with everything that I loved, as well as everything outside my comfort zone because I wanted to be a better and more well-rounded photographer that could cover anything from landscapes to weddings (which I do professionally today).
What drew you specifically to landscape photography?
I always loved landscape photography because I could take a beautiful scene and make it exactly how I saw it or replicate how it made me feel in real life, because often pictures don’t do places or events justice, so by adding my artistic style and flair, it better represents to me how the scene made me feel or what I saw from it myself but couldn’t properly capture with conventional photography techniques I saw all over the internet and in books.
I also love the aspect of traveling for a living. Where most people spend their working life just trying to catch a break from the repetition and get away on vacation somewhere, I’ve found a way to not only travel for a living but, in a way, also bring everyone who views my work along with me. I find it awesome that I can inspire others to travel, pursue their own dreams and goals and to create their own art just by doing what I love and would be doing regardless, but it makes it all that much more rewarding to me that people find joy and inspiration from my art and photography. My only goal was to create something new and different that encapsulated what I found to be pleasing and inspiring in the world, so I’m glad others see it too.
Your landscape photographs are quite painterly, with a focus on color. What are your biggest influences?
I find inspiration in every corner of life and I try my best to find my own niche and aesthetic style that represents my own eye, and draws homage to countless other artists, both classic and modern, as well as captures ideas and concepts that are important to me. I could never draw from just one source or give credit for my influence to just one person. It’s really a potpourri of concepts, ideas and styles from a huge range of artists and work, not just in photography but in almost all areas of art and life.
But, the overarching theme and common variable to all cultures in photos and the world that can be understood by anyone, no matter the language, nationality or background, is color. We all take joy in color and by using color I can express myself and the beauty I see in the world to anyone on this planet. Color, in a way, is a human language common to all, just like music, and things like that have a powerful effect on the world and should be appreciated and studied.
Rich pinks and purples really inform the aesthetic of your work, what draws you to this color palette?
I think what draws me to those pink/purple and orange hues is because when I see the very end of great sunsets—when the last light makes the clouds glow with bright pink and orange pastels—nothing beats those colors in real life in sheer vibrancy and hue. It’s nature’s fireworks each day, and I think they are the most beautiful colors that come out naturally, so I love to take advantage of this as much as I can. Something about those tones just makes people fall in love, myself included.
How does post-processing help you achieve your final results and the fine art feel of your work?
Post-processing allows me to create the scene how I felt it to be in reality, but can’t fully capture with conventional techniques. Sometimes when you think back on a great memory of a place, its often more aesthetic than it was in reality, and I serve to capture this ideal aesthetic in my photos and work.
I look for the idealized reality, meaning all the photos I create are made with 100% my own photos that I went out and took myself on location then reassemble in Photoshop to make things align better, make certain colors pop and others fade, and other edits in order to create a better composition for the scene.
I am limited by the reality of the photos I’ve taken, so it’s not like there will be aspects that are way outside reality, but rather just enough editing to make the scene more interesting and dynamic than the reality. This isn’t to say every photo of mine is altered, however. Many of my photos are merely color graded and nothing else. So sometimes nature is aesthetic enough as she is, but when she isn’t I help her out a tiny bit in post.
How do you go about selecting your locations and what type of preparation goes into a shoot?
I select locations based off what I research and find myself to have good potential for my work. I research locations heavily before going on trips, and partner with brands and services to pay for the trips and make some of my income, since obviously none of this is free. Depending on where a client or brand wants me to go or if other photographer friends are traveling somewhere, that’s usually how my trips are dictated to begin with.
From there, it’s up to me to choose the exact spots within an area, and this is where much of the hard work comes in due to the long hikes, drives, and wait times that are involved in getting to these locations and getting conditions you can work with. It’s about 75% skill and dedication, and 25% luck that you get good or ideal conditions.
What’s your favorite piece of equipment to shoot with?
My favorite piece of equipment has to be my main camera itself, my Sony A7Rii. I love the dynamic range the thing has and the colors I can pull out from a single exposure, as well as the quality of the images I get. I couldn’t be happier with it.
Any particular photograph that is particularly memorable for you?
My most memorable photo would have to be this one of a rainbow touching down.
It was memorable because it was a rare instance when the perfect conditions crossed paths with the perfect location to create something straight out of a movie. Not in many instances have I had such good luck on a shot.
Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?
I’m currently working with various brands on multiple road trips and adventures throughout the US and Canada that should be a blast and I’m also planning on hosting workshops both in the field and online for editing for those that are interested, keep on eye on my Instagram page for updates on that!
Also, if you or a brand you know of needs photo work done in the United States, whether that is weddings, product/brand photography, or even concerts and portraits, feel free to contact me for quotes and more information on my work and prices at [email protected].