Drew Doggett began his career as a photographer in New York City. As an apprentice to renowned fashion photographers such as Steven Klein and Annie Leibovitz, Doggett assisted on-set with celebrities such as Madonna and President Barack Obama.
Despite the thrill and glitter, he desired to travel to distant regions and convey tales through his camera. He changed careers after visiting the Himalayas in 2009. Doggett began capturing personal images of people, animals, and locations throughout the world while photographing the Humla people of Nepal.
Doggett's art is now in collections all over the world, including the Smithsonian African Art Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Mariners' Museum in Virginia. For his striking black and white photographs, he has garnered over 100 awards.
Treehugger: Your first job was in fashion photography. How does your previous experience help you with your current work?
Drew Doggett: My experience in fashion photography has had a huge influence on how I approach my work; I can't picture my job now without it. Working under the tutelage of such very skilled photographers not only taught me technical capabilities, but also an understanding of composition, tone, and so much more. In fashion photography, you're constantly aiming to showcase something or someone by relaying idealized scenarios with a storytelling component; the focus is usually beauty, and whatever's in the frame is the depiction of beautiful.
Treehugger: What made you want to start shooting nature and different cultures? Was there a specific time when it happened, or did it happen gradually?
Drew Doggett: I'd always known I'd quit the fashion industry, but my reckoning came at an inconvenient time. I knew I had found my calling when I was up in the Himalayas, thousands of kilometers away from everything familiar. Between the grueling trek and the hospitality of the people who welcomed me into their homes, I realized I wanted to spend my life relaying the tales of cultures, people, places, and animals that reflect the beauty of the globe.
Treehugger: What are some of your favorite nature photography experiences?
Drew Doggett: My favorite sensation is being out in the field, trying all you can to get the photo. It's a flow state in which I don't notice if I'm cold, hungry, or wet to the bone, and instead focus solely on making my work. I'm completely engrossed in the intensity and thrill of my surroundings while I'm out in the field. It gives me such a rush to put myself out there, camera in hand, in locations I've only dreamed of seeing, to create something memorable that will endure the test of time.
Treehugger: You've stated that you're a perfectionist. What is the significance of this for your work? How can it be frustrating to wait for animals or Mother Nature to cooperate?
Drew Doggett: While I am a perfectionist when on an adventure, you have little option but to work with Mother Nature. Even when your patience is tried, it serves as a terrific reminder that the incredible moments that do occur should not be overlooked. This also fosters a sense of awe for our natural environment.
Treehugger: What do you want people to benefit from your photos?
Drew Doggett: I never want to try to dictate someone's message, but I do hope that people feel delight, a sense of escape into the unusual, or the opportunity to indulge in a location or subject that inspires them for a little while. As there is so much beauty out there that I look forward to sharing, I want my photos to unite us all or to function as a window into a distant world. @via source: Treehugger.