Q. How did you find out about getting a gold medal? What was your first reaction?
A. The morning after the judging my girlfriend Jenna was on Facebook. She asked me if I had won gold with my image? I was confused by this and responded, "What do you mean?" My professor from college had posted on my Facebook page congratulating me about getting the gold medal. It was a huge shock and I had to second guess him for a minute and see if what he posted was actually true. Going onto the CPOY website I then confirmed to my astonishment that I had indeed placed gold. I felt very honored and was thrilled to later find out that I was the first one to represent a medal for Colorado Mountain College.
Q. Can you tell us something about making the winning photo?
A. This was an idea I had conceptualized in my head for a few weeks but couldn't find exactly the right model to capture it. I didn't want the image to come off as a fashion shot. I wanted to convey a bone-chilling storm without drawing too much attention to the model. This image was then shot in a studio on a plain white background. I later used Photoshop to add the snowfall. I used previous images I had photographed of tree branches and combined them to make the tree in the background. I applied different gradients in the image to ground it. This image took less than half an hour to photograph in the studio after I had set up the lighting. But I easily spent over 20 hours in Photoshop to make the image flawless. The image of the girl is a composite of about six images. She was not originally wearing the scarf in the image I selected; I added that later in post.
Q. How did you first get into photography?
A. I grew up in Iowa before I moved to Colorado with my family. I was raised on a farm with my five younger siblings. During this time my brothers and I had to entertain ourselves while our parents took care of the younger ones. We were constantly thinking of new games we could play and things we could build. This led me to develop a creative mind. I was always looking for ways to express my creativity. I was only eight years old when I picked up my first camera. Living on a farm I naturally wanted to photograph animals and nature.This led to my dream about one day becoming a National Geographic photographer.
Q. Who are some photographers who especially inspire you, and why do you admire them?
A. I look up to Aaron Nace as one of my favorite photographers. While I relate to him in some of my conceptual work I am always inspired by the creations he makes with his camera and in Photoshop. I would love to spend just a day with him and learn more Photoshop techniques he uses in making pictures. I would say he really inspires me as a photographer to go wild with my imagination in Photoshop and create images that are beyond this world. He also is a huge reminder to me to stay goofy and have fun while you are photographing. Let's be honest, all of us creative types have a side that is a little silly and weird. So, let it out and use it to help express yourself photographically.
Q. Any tips for other college photographers?
A. I would say don't limit yourself to one type of photography or say what is not for you. I came into college with the idea of becoming a National Geographic photographer and after a few years I have completely shifted my goals and my creative work. I now am a conceptual photographer where a good percent of my work is spent dealing with Photoshop. I never imagined that this would be what I wanted when I first started. So, experiment, try new things, and who knows you may end up liking what you come up with.
To view more of Anthony’s work, click here.
Interview by Leah Beane and Hany Hawasly