Drew’s story begins in Nepal where a life-altering expedition through the Himalayas changed the course of his career.
I was excited to speak with Hahnemühle to discuss my inspiration, my style, and the challenges of my work – from starting in fashion in NYC to finding myself in the Himalayas and realizing I needed to pursue my own practice from that moment on. Here is an excerpt from my late 2016 interview with Hahnemühle’s blog:
Hahnemühle: How did you come to the world of fine art photography?
Drew Doggett: I had originally started working as a fashion photographer and upon moving to NYC I quickly found work with some of the biggest names in the industry. However I soon realized it wasn’t the genre best suited for my artistic vision, so I took a risk and went to explore the Himalayas for a month, sparking a huge shift in my focus. This was an eye-opening trip, and I remember sitting atop one of the high passes after the physically-straining journey to get there and thinking I needed to tell the story of these Nepalese people and that this would be the beginning of my independent photography career. Since then, those themes of documenting preserved, remote places, despite so much cultural change globally, has been one of the most important threads in my practice.
H: Which of your projects/motifs opened the door to the art market/professional market?
DD: The trip to the Himalayas is what initially inspired my fine art career, and I’ve been working hard at documenting some of the most interesting stories and cultures worldwide since then. My series documenting the wild horses of Sable Island (in 2012) was especially pivotal for me in terms of the art market; it was a critical and commercial success. Fusing my background in fashion photography and technical ability and my interest in photographing places and cultures at risk of disappearing has resonated with my audience, so I am fortunate enough to be able to continue to work in the way I want.
H: How would you describe your artistic / photographic style?
DD: My aesthetic is based around form, texture, and symmetry. I love to focus on eliciting macro and micro shapes and subtleties that may not be readily apparent. I’ve also become increasingly focused on narratives, especially as I make more documentary work. I often research my subjects for months before picking up a camera, which is something I learned working in fashion with Steven Klein. I need to develop the ‘why’ or else it doesn’t feel authentic and I am sure my audience would feel the same. I’ve also become increasingly interested in urgency as many of the locations and subjects I work with are at the very-near risk of disappearing.
H: What is most challenging in documentary photography?
DD: One of the issues I continuously try to reconcile is how to portray subjects and places in a way that honors them and doesn’t objectify.
Make sure to read the full interview.