I am excited to introduce yet another great addition to our talented team at Photography Life and this time I would like to present Spencer Cox. Spencer grabbed the attention of many of our readers with his inspiring posts and I was thrilled when he agreed to join our team. Please give a warm welcome to Spencer!
My name is Spencer Cox, and I am an eighteen-year-old student photographer. I am an avid hiker and backpacker, and, alongside my wonderful friends and family, photography is one of the most important aspects of my life.
Becoming part of the Photography Life team has been an unbelievable experience, and I am thrilled to be where I am right now. My only goal is to pay forward what I know, and hopefully to create some great photos along the way.
My entry into photography was nearly accidental, and even a bit ordinary. I did not start my journey by inheriting a 1950s film SLR from my grandfather; nor did I find a broken Kodak Brownie in the attic of my house. In fact, I have never even shot a role of film.
I am part of “Generation D” in photography: the digital-only photographers, most of whom have never shot on anything aside from a phone camera. I use a DSLR instead, which has worked well for me so far. Still, I appreciate the art of film photography, as well as the slow-and-deliberate mindset that it encourages. By adopting this thoughtful process in the digital era, I find it easier to create photos that are intricate, purposeful, and intriguing.
Three years ago, at the age of fifteen, my income consisted of an allowance of five dollars each week that I had been putting into a jar on my desk for several years. I don’t know why I decided to keep the money instead of spending it; probably because there wasn’t anything I wanted to buy. When my savings hit a certain point, I decided to buy a nice camera. Why not?
Ultimately, after hours of internet soul-searching and more than a few coin tosses, I chose the Nikon D5100 and its 18-55 kit lens. A family vacation to Oregon soon convinced me that photography was the single greatest hobby on the planet, a sentiment that has only increased over time.
My early inspiration consisted of classic landscapes — photos from Arizona Highways and Outdoor Photography magazine, alongside the intricate, monochromatic work of Bruce Barnbaum. My general avoidance of social media, at least at this point in my life, helped my photographic skills grow exponentially — instead of chasing followers, I was chasing photos that I hoped would put my old ones to shame.
Once I realized the excitement of photography, I wanted to learn as much as possible about how to make great photos. I read through all the information that I could find, usually twice, to make sure that I knew everything I could. Early on, I discovered the invaluable resource of Photography Life (back when it was The Mansurovs), which is why I feel so privileged to be part of the site now.
Jump ahead to today, and I am still just as excited about photography as I was three years ago. In fact, I spend most weekends photographing at the Savage Gulf State Natural Area in Tennessee, which is a couple of hours from my house. It’s a long drive, but the beautiful waterfalls are fantastic practice for landscape photography. I will be deciding on a college or university within the next couple months, and I am looking forward to exploring the landscapes around the school that I attend.
This past year has been a busy one for my photography. Although I believe that it is easy for photographers to look too much into titles and awards, I have been fortunate enough to place in a few of the photo contests I have entered.
I recently became a finalist in the Travel Photographer of the Year competition, as well as a People’s Choice nominee in the International Society of Optics and Photonics contest. I also placed in the Outdoor Photographer of the Year competition (by Outdoor Photography magazine), in which two of my photos became recognized: one as a finalist, and one as a commended entry. It was a bit of a whirlwind for me, but the entire experience of photography competitions has been an invaluable step in my learning process.
Ultimately, I found out the hard way that it is important to have social media in today’s world. For the past few years, I had been ignoring the temptation to “like” everything I read online, much to my pleasantly ignorant satisfaction. Then, I caved, and I started to create an online presence. Feel free to follow me on any of the outlets below or contact me through my website:
- Twitter and Instagram: @spencercoxphoto
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/spencercoxphoto
- Website: www.spencercoxphoto.com
Again, a huge thank you to the entire team at Photography Life for extending the invitation to join. This is, and will always be, my favorite website. I cannot wait to share my perspective on photography, and I hope that my articles can make Photography Life an even more amazing place. I am eagerly looking forward to the years ahead.