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Jovell Rennie: Always on the Road Less Traveled

04/02/14

Unabridged nature. That's what immediately comes to mind when looking at the work of Jovell Rennie. When you live in the city, feeling the daily grind just as cleary as the concrete underfoot, it's easy to lose touch with what's just beyond your manmade borders. It's a great big world out there. We're just glad there are people like Rennie documenting it... and documenting it well. 

Anchorage by way of Trinidad, the 21-year-old first picked up a camera when he was still in high school. Back then, it was less sprawling vistas and Alaskan horizons and more shooting the football games. Hey, you take whatever subjects you can get when you're still a kid. Eventually he moved on to other subjects, nature proving to be the most inspiring one (and readily available, given that his home state ain't too bad to look at).

Rennie's talent belies his training; the dude is 100% self-taught, a young product of the digital age. "Almost all of what I've learned (which isn't much at all, really) has come from Google, YouTube, and chill photographers who have been nice enough to answer my questions along the way," Rennie says. "I took my first photography class last year and failed." If this is what failure looks like, we don't know what winning is. 

ISAORA had the opportunity to chat with this up-and-coming young photographer, someone constantly on the road less traveled, taking photos along the way.

So what do you dig most about landscapes?
Just getting out and seeing all there is with my own eyes. It's nuts. When I first started, I never really cared for landscapes. I always longed for big buildings and cityscapes. But as I got more into portraiture, I started hiking and looking for spots to go with my friends to take photos. I could never remember exactly how to get to the locations so I would take a photo with my phone to save the GPS coordinates. I would go back and take more photos and over time it grew into a passion for exploring. 

You do a pretty bang-up job capturing the Northern Lights. How do you do it? Is it digitally altered at all?
I obviously can't take a lot of credit for the aurora photos; I don't control the skies or the atmosphere, but I just try to share our photos of the Northern Lights with a fresh perspective. Growing up here, you see a lot of the same style of photography. My friends and I just want to mix it up a bit. It is digitally altered a bit--just some slight color correction to make the lights stand out. But when I take the photos I already have a desired outcome in mind. When shooting digital--like a lot of others--I think of editing as a part of the whole process, not just an extra step. 

What do you like to do most in the winter? 
I'm a pretty big wimp about being outside in the cold, but I try to go hiking (nothing too crazy) and exploring pretty often. Visiting certain spots in the winter versus the summer can be so dope. It's usually a completely unrecognizable place. 

What about summer?
We can get around 20+ hours of daylight in the summer so it's hard to catch me indoors. I'm usually camping, hiking, and having bonfires with the homies. 

Any places you've been dying to go?
Too many to name, but right now I'm working on getting to Iceland later this year. It looks like another planet.


To see more images from Jovell Rennie, you can visit his website here