Nevada Wier (nevadawier.com) is a multiple award-winning photographer specializing in documenting the remote corners and cultures of the world. She is recognized for her creative and intimate approach to people and she has a passion for Infrared Photography. She has been published in numerous national and international publications, including: National Geographic, Geo, National Geographic Traveler, Islands, Outdoor Photographer, Outside, and Smithsonian. Getty, Corbis, and National Geographic Images represent her stock photography. Her fine-art prints are featured in numerous and public and private collections. Nevada is a well-known keynote speaker and workshop and seminar instructor. She is a Fellow of The Explorer’s Club and a member of the Women’s Geographic Society.
LACP Interviews Nevada Wier
LACP asks Nevada Wier ten questions about her background, career in and beliefs about photography.
Los Angeles Center of Photography: What kind of photographer are you?
Nevada Wier: I like to think that I am a very sensitive and aware photographer. In many way I consider myself a traveler first and a photographer second; or, perhaps they are completely intertwined. I prefer photographing indigenous people; and I’m better on dirt than concrete.
LACP: How long have you been shooting?
NW: I have been photographing since 1974, when I fell in love with a large-format Deardoff camera. Actually I think I fell in love with idea of being on the edge of the Grand Canyon with that dark cloth over my head; it seemed like such a sensual way to appreciate the outdoors.
LACP: Where did you get your training?
NW: I’m self-taught, which doesn’t mean anything because the teacher doesn’t know anything. I learnt from reading books, going to photography exhibits and studying paintings to understand color. Working for a local New Mexico paper was invaluable, as I had to produce every day.
LACP: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?
NW: From the moment I began using a camera. When I went to Santa Fe in 1974 to work for the Southwest Outward Bound School, I set up a black & white darkroom in the basement of the office. I was passionate about photography, even though I was pretty terrible.
LACP: Did you ever come close to giving up?
NW: Many times. Still do. Still might. It has been challenging to make a living in photography. Luckily I was able to slowly merge into it while I continued to be a trekking guide in Nepal, China and Central Asia.
LACP: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?
NW: Probably I have, but nothing that I regret.
LACP: What have you gained by being a photographer?
NW: I am living the life I dreamed about when I was just starting out. What more could someone ask for?
LACP: What classes do you teach at LACP?
NW: I am teaching an Intensive course in Infrared Photography. Photographing the invisible world of infrared light has been a longtime passion of mine. And, working with a digital camera instead of color infrared transparency is that much more satisfying. I love the palette of the subtle colors and the fact that I’m photographing what I can’t see.
LACP: What do you love most about teaching?
NW: If these kinds of workshops had been available when I was first starting out it might not have taken me eight years before I loved one of my images! So, I love helping others unleash their creative potential in photography.
LACP: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?
NW: Marry someone rich! That is one smart idea. The second one is that you have to really want it. You have to want it so desperately that you figure out how to carve your unique path because there are no signposts to being a pro.