We had the good fortune of connecting with Vaughn Weiland and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vaughn, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Since I was young, I’ve always felt a deep connection to the outdoors. As I got older I needed to find a way to support myself financially and so I worked in the service industry for a few years. While it was a way to pay my bills, it simultaneously started to take away from my time I was able to spend in the outdoors doing what I love. It was around the end of my time working in restaurants when I discovered photography and joined it with my passion for being in nature. Ultimately, a few years into my journey as a photographer I realized that this was a way where I could potentially support myself financially alongside doing what I love. From then on I decided that I was going to pursue this career to the best of my ability and here we are.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a freelance photographer who focuses mainly on travel and outdoor adventure. I also do engagements, weddings and other portrait work as well.
I’m honestly not sure what sets me apart from others, maybe just that I’ve been extremely fortunate to be surrounded by great people who genuinely want to see me succeed. I think that is a big part of why I work as hard as I do. If there’s one thing I think is undervalued in life, it’s surrounding yourself with good mentors and even better friends.
I’m currently working on curating a gallery project that I’m not going to say much about yet, however, I’ll hopefully be announcing that soon. Aside from that I’m also working on a zine project revolving around climate change and environmental consciousness that will hopefully be completed within the next few months.
As of today, I’m still not exactly where I’d like to be as a professional. I still frequently struggle to make ends meet but there has also been an upward trend of my work gaining traction and that gives me hope. I think that the journey of an artist or a freelancer is rarely easy. For me personally, there have been tons of highs and tons of lows. I think how I overcome the lows is by remembering and clinging on to the highs. Remembering what it is exactly that I’m working for and knowing that if I continue to work for it and never give up, I will make it to that point where I want to be. I think the greatest tool a person has is their own will. If you have the will to keep going, I truly believe you can succeed in whatever it is you want to accomplish.
I think one of the most vital lessons I’ve learned throughout my progress, is to simply have faith in yourself and your work. I used to frequently doubt my own capabilities when I was starting off in photography and it directly reflected in my work and in my mental health. I was lucky to have good friends around who believed in me so strongly that it was able to sway my own mindset to have faith in myself as well. By all means, continue to try to better yourself and your work, but have faith in yourself that you can.
I guess if there’s one thing I want to pass on through my work, it’s a deep sense of connection to the life on this planet that I’ve felt since a child. When people view my work, I want them to feel drawn to the outdoors. I think in today’s day and age, where everything is done online and through a screen, it’s very easy to become disconnected from the beauty that lies in nature. I want to rekindle that fire in others, because it’s something that I truly feel like everyone could benefit from.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh man. If we had a whole week, I’d pack up the camping gear and drive us to the mountains for a week. The Colorado mountain ranges are some of the most breathtaking views. I’ve never been much for city life but I can show you all the spots when it comes to the outdoors
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
This is such a great question. A lot of my growth and success has been on my twitter page in the last 5 months. I owe a lot of that to Jhon Beltran (@jhonsbeltran on twitter). I met Jhon in my first month of posting my work to twitter and since then, he has been nothing but supportive and helpful in my journey. Jhon is a great mentor and a great friend. Another person that I’ve become friends with through that space is Emilie Hofferber (@moosechildd on twitter). Emilie has taught me a lot in my short time running my business and has similarly been an amazing friend through some trying times. Between those two and others, I’ve been extremely fortunate in who I’ve come into contact with in my journey. I’d like to also give a mention to Judy Lindsay (@jlindsayfilm on twitter). If you want to see what pure kindness looks like in a human, go find Judy.
Other: You can find prints of my work here: vaughnweiland.darkroom.tech