Meet my Dad. Jack Upton. I got my Mom’s good looks.
Since 1974 my dad, a professional photographer, has made a living behind the lens of his various cameras. When I was younger having a photographer as a father had little value to me other than having fun photoshoots with my friends and awesome Christmas cards each year. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that my Dad’s profession might have been cooler than I had originally thought. As a tourism major and a recent blogger,I am constantly exposed to personal and professional travel photos. For class assignments I am always researching and looking at agency’s and organization’s brochures, websites and magazines. One day it dawned on me that my Dad had been traveling and taking pictures for agencies and organizations just like the ones I look at in class. My Dad took artsy travel photographs even before social media made it a trend! This caused me to wonder…Was my dad trendier and cooler than I was when he was my age? Probably.
This past Thanksgiving break I sat my dad down for a quick interview about his experiences as a photographer and how he managed to not only sell his photographs but also sell the destination itself through these photos.
With inspiration from photographers such as, Richard Avedon, Jim Brandenburg, and Irving Penn my Dad got his start right out of his high school graduation (once he finally passed his math classes). When I asked him about his first camera ,he responded by placing his fingers under his chin, turning his head, pondering for a second and then responding, “ It was a twin lense Rolleiflex camera that was originally given to my sister by my Uncle. She didn’t really give to it me; I just started using it since she never used it.” I began to laugh because that sounds exactly like something my dad would have done.The Rolleiflex camera was a film camera which led him to a 25 year career as a film photographer (he later added a dark room in our garage). Having been in a generation of photographers that made the transition from film to digital, I was interested in asking about what made film such a unique element. He said,”Film,black and white is better, contains a lot more latitude and it gives you better tonal range. Film photography is definitely a craft, digital is too easy because you can manipulate anything.” None of that makes any sense to me but, I’m sure that all of you photographers out there will resonate with that statement.
As I asked him about some of his favorite experiences and photoshoots from his almost 40 year career, we both start to reminisce. Many of his experiences are my favorite memories with him. His favorite and most memorable photography trip was taken before I was born, in 1990 to the U.S Virgin Islands to take stock photographs. The incredible scenery and natural landscapes made for beautiful photographs, a great business trip and a quick break from his toddler at home ( my sister). This tropical paradise left him with images that captured the essence and atmosphere that portrayed the U.S Virgin Islands as the perfect travel destination that it is.He has had many more memorable opportunities, especially in his home state of North Carolina. Hang Gliding tournaments at Grandfather Mountain and the Outer Banks, hiking along the Appalachian Trail, taking aerial photographs of the coast and capturing skylines from the top of historical steeples, Jack Upton was in high demand across the state to capture its beauty and feature all that North Carolina has to offer. For him, it is all about capturing the atmosphere, excitement and emotion that comes along with each destination. Many of these trips my family and I got to accompany him, but I was sometimes put to work.My sister and I were often asked to grab our beach bags and boogie boards to capture the perfect all in one sunset/beach/family vacation photograph. We made quite a few debuts in brochures and magazines. My modeling days are long over, but growing up with Jack Upton as a father was never without excitement and surprise.
I know very little about photography. Jack hooked me up with a snazzy little point and shoot lumix a few years ago, but I leave photography to my dad and photography major friends at school. But, despite who is taking these pictures, these pictures are important. Think about it. What makes you want to travel?? For me, it’s seeing pictures on pinterest, facebook or in a magazine (usually National Geographic). My freshman year in college a lot of my friends had this iconic pictures on the edge of the rock and for the longest time my close friends and I could not figure where this picture was taken. After some research ,we finally discovered the overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and we managed to snap a few photos ourselves…nothing like hopping on a bandwagon. eeekk. So ,why do i tell you this??? Well, mostly to brag about my dad because I have never given him enough credit, Also, I tell you this so you will appreciate the pictures, the pictures that inspire you to travel and to encourage you to take more pictures. You never know when your newest blog post or facebook album will have friends dying to know where they were taken.
Thanks for reading friends. As always I love your comments. Have a Great day.
Peace Out, HayUp
p.s make sure you hop on over to Treasure Tromp’s blog hop— http://www.treasuretromp.com