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Featured photographer; Stephen Sutter

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-So just tell us a little about yourself and how you first got into photography

My name is Stephen Sutter; Im 19 years old and from Woodbury Heights New Jersey, USA. I've always been interested in the art of photography even down to my deepest roots. My grandfather died at the age of 72 in 2003 which meant he died when I was in 3rd grade. I cant recall many things about him; I couldn't tell you what his voice sounded like or what his favorite foods were, but I can tell you one thing! He always had a camera around his neck. This finite recollection of my grandfather remained dormant for many years, until when I entered 8th grade and got my first cell phone. The newest craze and hobby of my peers happened to be cell phone photography and although the quality wasn't all that great on my beat up flip phone, it was the pure basis of my creativity as a photographer. If you skip ahead several years to Christmas of 2010 my parents bought me my first DSLR and it was all uphill from there to what i've become today!

 

-I know I personally enjoy shooting film but I often get asked why. What does shooting film mean to you? What do you find makes it special? 

Shooting film is more important to me than most people know. Along with my first DSLR my parents also gifted me all of my grandfathers old film gear. I didn't know what any of it did or even where to start so I put it in the back of my closet and didn't look at it for years. In March of 2014 my girlfriend and I went on a spontaneous road trip from New Jersey to Seattle, Washington and I shot the entire trip on disposable cameras. I'm not sure why I did it but it was one of the best accidents I ever could have made because it introduced me to the art of film photography. I soon after purchased a Canon Ae-1 and a couple of lenses. I really started to get into film photography and relooked into my grandfathers old bag of film cameras I once took for granted; and my whole perception of photography changed. This bag that I once thought was useless and out-dated was now beautiful and precious. This bag was now special. I shoot film not only because of the aesthetic and look you get from film but because it reminds me of my grandfather. It brought me back to a time where taking a picture took time and mental preparation, not just holding down the shutter and snapping off 10 pictures. A time when cameras were authentic and built to last, when the american dream was still obtainable. This feeling of time slowing down when you're looking through the viewfinder cant be recreated any other way and that is why film is special to me.

 

-Do you have a favourite camera?If so, why? 

I personally don't have a favourite camera but I did just buy an old Rolleicord twin reflex camera that is really neat. But I tend to find myself shooting with my phone just as much as anything else! So I suppose any camera could be my favourite camera!

 

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-For the readers at home can you tell us about your stamp collecting photos and where the idea came from? 

My family wasn't much of a vacationing or traveling family when I was a child so i've had the urge to see something besides my backyard for a very long time. In the beginning of the year my girlfriend found a post on instagram about this passport thing for all of the National Parks in the U.S. It worked similar to a regular passport where you'd get a stamp when you left the country. So every National Park you go to you get a stamp saying where you are and when you went! This gave me an outlet and way to plan my travels. Every National Park I now go to I take a photo of my new stamp and post it to both instagram and my website with the hashtag #SitesSuttStamps.

 

-Everyone has a dream shoot, what's yours? 

I don't have much of a specific dream shoot but a dream of mine is to travel the country and eventually the globe and photograph both the places I see and the people I meet! I've already started this dream by taking little roadtrips here and there and creating an inventory of photos that i'd eventually like to create a book out of! Hopefully my dream can continue until i've seen the world!

 

-Have you ever had any struggles as a young photographer? 

The main struggles as a young photographer or any young person in the professional field is nobody taking you seriously due to your age. This first thing I started to do when this was beginning to happen to me was grow a beard. I turned my baby 18 year old face into a mid twenty's look and I always dressed nice when on shoots so I could hide the fact I was so young! Although my beard turned into a mustache and on papers I couldnt change my age I was able to and continue to be able to get by!

 

-If you had one piece of advice to anyone starting out what would it be?

SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT!!!! You can watch as many videos as possible and read as many books as your eyes can handle but until you put a camera in your hand that knowledge is all worthless! The best way to learn is by doing!

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-Where would you send people to check out your work?

 

My website is www.stephensutterphotography.com/ and you can also find me on almost every other social network listed on my site. But my favorite is on instagram @Stephen_Sutter !