IPA Interviews with Winning Photographers

Interview with

Scott McCook

1st Place in Fine Art – Landscape Category 2015

What is your background?

I have been enjoying Landscape Photography for the last 6 years, going professional 2 years ago.

Photography is not my full time job, I run a construction company in Perth Western Australia during the weeks and travel the world looking for new landscapes in my down time.

What kind of photography do you most identify with?

Fine Art would be the genre I seem to get a fair bit lately but I don’t like to hold myself to one genre too much, I really enjoy having the flexibility of stretching my wings and exploring all landscape photography has to offer.

Explain your style in 100 words

Sporadic, crazy, focused, trial, error, fail, fail, fail, succeed.

How did your style change over time?

I think as I learnt more about the history of photography and gained more respect for the photographers that have come before me the more my style seemed to evolve and change. It’s funny the journey through the world of photography, just when you think you’ve got 10% of it figured out you are humbled by learning a whole new chapter and starting over again, that is what drives me and keeps me excited about what I do.

What photograph left a lasting impression on you and why?

I can’t put my finger on one photograph but it would be the aerial work of Tony Hewitt and the way he views the landscape and presents his work that has made a lasting impression on me.

When did you discover your passion for photography?

From age 13 in high school, I aced all my photography classes throughout high school and it was something I knew I would come back to later in life.

Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?

I think the biggest real life inspiration I have gained is actually from something that is sad, unavoidable but also inspirational, which is death, A good friend of mine who battled cancer inspired me so much by his attitude and strength during his battle, He hiked the world looking for adventure and lived his life the way he wanted and milked every ounce of it he could, he inspires me everyday to not sit around and go out there and enjoy life and what it has to offer, the camera is just a bonus!

What’s your most embarrassing moment related to photography?

Probably taking a tumble in Tasmania while photographing Russel Falls in front a huge group of School Children on an excursion, I had all eyes on me as I worked my way over some slippery rocks looking like the cliché well seasoned landscape photographer and with about 2 steps to go, thinking victory was within reach!! I took a big tumble and walked away with my tail between my legs.

What jobs have you done other than being a photographer?

I’ve worked in Construction, doing specialist Concrete Repair and Waterproofing.

What is your dream project?

Documenting the areas of the world that need to be exposed and shown to the public. Landscapes that are hidden or not often photographed but just as important as the beautiful pristine one’s. Landscapes that have been hurt by man.

Name 5 photographers who have inspired you

Tony Hewitt
Christian Fletcher
Peter Eastway
Nick Rains
Ted Gore

What would you do without photography?

Go to all the amazing places around the world without a camera, wait….. that would make no sense?

How do you know when a body of work is finished?

That’s an interesting question, I’m not sure I do, I sometimes feel like it’s never finished but other times without doubt know it’s finished. How’s that for a 50/50 answer haha.

Is there one photograph of yours that you are very proud of? Why?

Yer, it’s actually the photograph that took out Fine Art Landscape Photographer of the year for the IPA.

It’s an image of a tailing pond, it’s an image of beauty but also hidden within lies an environmental message.

For me that’s the key, bring attention to these areas by creating imagery that sucks a viewer in and then allows them to ponder and learn about what it is.

What is your most important gadget? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

Being a landscape photographer, beyond my camera it would have to be Nikon 14-24mm, that lens has just been with me for ever and I’m not sure if you call it a gadget but I can’t live without it :)

How did you start taking pictures? Why do you take pictures?

I started with photography Water Drops believe it or not, I was fascinated by the macro world, I then moved to Astro before finally landing in the landscape/fine art genre.

I took up landscape photography to escape the daily grind, I sometimes take up to 100 calls a day and landscape photography for me became my peace time.

After a few years it completely changed me and my attitude toward the natural world and manes effect on it, it’s incredible how a hobby could grow into something so big.

What was your first camera?

An old Canon p&S film camera my Dad gave me, I can’t remember the model but I was sold the minute I picked it up. He gave that to me in 1990 and it was made in 1975, I still remember the smell of the leather case now.

What camera do you use now and why?

I use multiple camera’s depending on if i’m shooting on the ground or in the air.

Nikon D810
Phase XF + IQ150
Pentax 645z

What role does the photographer have in society?

For me, a photographers role can change depending on the story or message they are trying to get across.

It’s like writing music or painting, it comes down to the person and the mission they are on.

I think as photographers we have the power to story tell and change the world for the better if we use our craft in the right way.

You can find out more about Scott here.

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