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Interview Griffin Lamb

Guru behind the lens.

Is it a good sign that your photographing capabilities put us into a full realm of ‘dreamscape and natural relaxation’? Kind of like the most visual format close enough to true meditation?

‘Hey we just may have thought of something haha’
Let’s be co-founders! *laughing

If the world doesn’t already know your good self, they have clearly been way too busy to take note of the beauty around us. How have you been doing brother? We are so glad you could take some time our to do a little story telling with the Ledin Gray crew.

I’m doing well, enjoying the (sometimes sunny) summer months in Seattle and excited to share a bit more about myself with you all. In a social media age where the highlights are emphasized most, it’s refreshing to go deeper than just surface-level stuff.

Griffin Lamb

So calling Seattle home. Does that mean you are a tech head at heart? Do you know where Bill gates house is? Haha or compound?

Haha, surprisingly not. Aside from keeping tabs on the latest and greatest camera developments, I’m not too well-versed in the technology realm. As far as Bill Gates’ house goes, I know of the neighborhood where he lives but have yet to see it for myself. I’ve heard rumors that it’s massive and has something like a seventy car underground garage.

What inspired you to make photographing the outdoors part of your day to day activity?

Some of my earliest memories growing up are of hikes that my grandfather would take me on. By the time I was a teenager though, hiking was never apart of my routine. When I got a camera at the end of high school, photographing the outdoors was a way for me to revisit my childhood, to try and recreate those feelings of awe that I remember having as a kid.

What part of Seattle, or the states in general, is your go-to for inspiration? Or simply just to escape?

Though I have only been here once, I would say the Kenai Fjords in Alaska. My friend Marshall and I stayed in a yurt hidden in a remote cove within the fjords for a full day. Without text messages and Instagram notifications, we found ourselves temporarily removed from the noise of the world. We hiked. We kayaked. We spotted several whales. And by the end, we found ourselves refreshed like never before – amazed at how beautiful the world is and how much of this world that we have yet to explore. I definitely plan returning to that cove someday soon.

Griffin Lamb

You’ve been termed an ‘adventure’ photographer, does Griffin Lamb have a little risk taker inside of him do you think?

You know, it’s funny. Before photography was such an integral part of my life, I would not say that I was much of a risk taker. The most adventurous thing I did outside was play golf. But now, with a camera in hand, I have found myself doing things I would have never fathomed of doing years ago – from kayaking to backpacking. So now, I would say yes – and I owe this newly cultivated trait to photography.

Hands down the most adventurous place on the planet you have captured with the lens thus far?

Muir Pass in the Eastern Sierras. To get there, a team and I backpacked 26 miles in the scorching Californian heat, with our camera gear in tow. The switchbacks were relentless – but despite all that it took to make it to the top

Seattle is surrounded by start ups and dream seekers. Who locally do you think has inspired you the most?

My friend Adam Kingman. He’s an industrial designer at MiiR and is one of the most creative people I know. What inspires me though is how quickly Adam acts on his creativity. When he has an idea, no matter how out of the park it may seem, he makes it a reality. His example encourages me to do the same whenever new ideas come to mind with my photography.

Griffin Lamb

Anyone from your family? Why?

My late grandfather, Francis. His example, as an advocate for social justice and as a pastor who took the time to genuinely listen to, and care for, those around him, is one that I try to live into on a daily basis.

Your photographs capture the true essence of a ‘moody’ like landscape. Are you an emotional guy? How does what you feel on a particular day impact the way you shoot?

Growing up, I would have been hesitant to say yes – but as I’ve gotten older, I am finding it to be a really essential aspect of who I am. From the type of weather that I’m experiencing in a given day to the way in which I edit images, my emotions are in constant intersection with my photography. How I feel in a certain scene acts as a guide of sorts – shaping how I go about capturing what I find around me.

We know you are self taught. Are you still constantly learning about the field and discovering new talents and tricks?

Learning every day – I think that’s why I find photography so thrilling, there’s always different techniques to test out and tinker with. I also find myself learning new things just by spending time with other creative-types. The way they see things challenges me to see differently – which I think is needed at times.

Griffin Lamb

Do you have a go-to source for new tips outside of the ones that helped you kick off it all?

I find myself scrolling through VSCO’s Academy and featured Journals every once and a while. Though most of the photographers featured have styles and focuses completely different than my own – I always leave those times feeling inspired at a variety of things: from the way color is processed to the often unorthodox ways in which an image is composed, I bring what I observe to future shoots, hoping to implement what I can into my own photography.

Do you still own the first DSLR camera you bought when you just started? Does it have a name?

I have never named any of my cameras, but now that you mention it, maybe I should start. As far as my first DSLR camera goes, it was a Nikon D3200 with a starter kit of an 18-55mm and 55-200mm lens. Rather than selling it, I gave it to a friend of mine who wanted to take up photography as a hobby. I did the same with my second DSLR (a Canon 6d). It has been really rewarding to see people that I know put my old camera to good use and discover the joys of this artistic medium for themselves.

Spontaneity is part of the way you find yourself in beautiful locations. However, is Griffin Lamb an organized guy?

At home, I would say yes. Everything in my room and on my desk is typically in order. When it comes to the trips that I go on though, I usually plan the first few days extensively and leave the rest of the trip to what I want to do and see in the moment. At times that carefree mentality has had consequences, like missing three ferries in a row in Norway, but most of the time, it has led to the memories that I remember most, like when the Aurora Borealis put on a show right after realizing that third ferry wasn’t coming until the morning.

Griffin Lamb

 

Any horror stories related to projects you’ve worked on? Like has Griffin Lamb ever taken a bad shot?

I was hiking to a glacial lake once with friends, with some product in my pack for a shoot that I was in the process of working on. We arrived at the lake and were welcomed with a breathtaking view – fog lingering over the crags of the mountain and a reflection near perfect in its tranquility. I pulled out my camera immediately, lined up the horizons, and clicked the shutter, looking at my LCD screen desperate to see what the camera picked up. Instead of the scene in front of me, a small banner popped up on screen, with the words: “No Memory Card in Camera.” Though I was disappointed, I found it funny more than anything.

Banff is your favourite location to shoot we have found, where around the world, yet to be discovered by GL, do you think might top this and why?

I would say New Zealand. The photos that I have seen of places like Milford Sound have always intrigued me – reminding me of the grandeur of the Norwegian fjords on an even larger scale. It’s hard to say though until I see a place in person. I guess I’ll just have to get over there and find out!

Most outrageous inquiry you have had via your website or email?

I did get asked to shoot a vibrator for an adult website. Considering I focus on landscapes and nature in my work, I figured they must have emailed the wrong person.

Griffin Lamb

Back to heading out to photograph for any type of project. What’s the post editing process that usually takes place? Any favourite apps aside from Snapseed, Priime and VSCOCam that you are loving right now?

These days I find myself using Lightroom first and then the Priime Desktop App. If the image still requires tweaks for mobile, I will use a combination of Snapseed and VSCOCam – applying subtle edits to optimize it for Instagram. Another app that I have been enjoying as of late, though I don’t use it for professional work, is Prisma. The filters they have transform images into paintings in a surprisingly tasteful way.

What have you noticed one thing that separates a good photographer from a great one lately?

Lately, storytelling. When a photographer has the ability to articulate how they felt when they encounter the locations photographed, I’ve found myself much more intrigued by the image. Treating captions like a travel diary is all well and good, but when you intersect emotion with imagery, you give the viewers a new way to interact with what they are seeing.

Being a great photographer lol got any prints still available for our LG head office to buy?

Too kind. I have a selection of prints that you can check out on my online shop here: https://society6.com/griffinlamb

Griffin Lamb

Is Griffin Lamb a materialistic guy?

I wouldn’t say so and traveling has a lot to do with that. The more experiences that I’ve had around the globe, the more I find myself desiring the intangibles rather than the tangibles. From the conversations that happen after hours on the road to the exhaustion-induced euphoria that you feel when you finally make it to that view you’ve been hiking hours and hours towards, it is those moments that I find myself looking back on with nostalgia – not the amount gadgets I have back at the house.

What are 3 items you usually wouldn’t leave the house with?

Backpack, camera, and journal.

Last soundtrack you listened to?

Illinois by Sufjan Stevens. It’s an old one but one of my favorites.

We know you are a little bit of a coffee shop kinda guy, do you enjoy people watching and just taking in the surroundings before commencing your day?

I do. I always find it to be a relaxing experience. I’ll bring my journal and put in some headphones – allowing the caffeine to ease me into the morning.

Unlike most of your familiar media chats, we aren’t a dedicated photography hub. But we just enjoy telling great stories. How does it feel to know your story is impacting so many people around the world?

It’s humbling. When I look back at when I first started taking photographs a few years ago, it is surreal to see how far I’ve come and who the people are that have followed along throughout that journey.

What’s one of the most moving pieces of feedback or messages you’ve received from a follower or fan?

From time to time, I’ll get messages from people thanking me for my work – for it was upon discovering them that they found themselves motivated to get outside and explore their surroundings. These types of messages are essentially why I take photographs, desiring for others’ lives to be transformed by a love of the outdoors as much as mine has.

Do you get recognized in public often? How do you go about dealing with that?

Every once in a while. Sometimes it’s awkward. Other times it’s completely normal. My main desire in those interactions though is to show them that, while I do have a large social media following, I am still a human being – with other aspects to my being that make me, me.

Now to where the Griffin meets the Lamb. (we enjoyed that by the way haha) family and religion is a big piece to your make up. How did you fall into studying Theology?

Faith has always been apart of my life. My grandfather was a Presbyterian minister, so the Sundays of my childhood were spent listening to him preach. It wasn’t until my first year of college though until faith became my own. I was at a college on the east side of Washington State studying political science – with the intent of later attending law school and pursuing a career in government. I had lofty goals for myself, but upon meeting resistance for faith, from both professors and peers, I found my passion for politics diminishing, replaced with a gradually growing desire to study the Bible and to discover, for the first time in my life, what it is that I truly believe in regard to all things spiritual. This journey has led me to Seattle Pacific University, where I am entering my final year of undergrad, studying Theology. It has been an incredible journey – full of joys and sorrows – but I have never felt more affirmed (by God and others) that Theology is what I am supposed to be studying.

What’s one of the most important things you get out of your studies knowing that you will make a brilliant pastor some day?

The more I study the Bible, the more I realize just how limited I am in understanding the text. Transposing that realization into relationships, I now find myself struck by just how limited I am in understanding others. Consequently, I find myself convicted over and over that in order to understand others better, I need to listen to them – their narratives, their perspectives, their emotions – for it is listening that allows my perspective on things to be transformed.

Do you find religion impacts on your artwork?

I do. One type of photograph that I find myself seeking out often are images that emphasize the scale of the landscape in relation to human beings. From a theological lens, the purpose behind such compositions is to affirm the creational character of God; moreover, the purpose behind how I process these images is to emphasize the Pauline redemptive vision, of God being all in all, restoring Creation unto Godself.

You are a strong believer in consistency being key. Someone has just purchased one of your life sized photographs, you have the opportunity to write something magical on the back. What would you say?

I would write this short phrase penned by Wendell Berry that has effected me deeply: practice resurrection. When I edit my images, my imagination is intersecting with reality – with how the world is contrasted with how I envision the world to one day, be. Practicing resurrection – whether in the ordinary or preternatural moments of this life – means seeing the world as it is, with all its joys and sorrows, while at the same time attempting to bring about restoration and wholeness to all that is fragmented. From issues as large as the degradation of the environment and racial strife, to issues as personal as dysfunctional relationships and body image, practicing resurrection is a vocation we can all practice, in all that we experience.

Griffin Lamb

Let’s face it, we know you rarely think of yourself and want people to feel they are cared about. What’s one thing though that GL cannot do without? Can be anything at all!

A good book. I love to read and find that it is a good way to unplug from the stresses of daily life and create a semblance of rest.

Hands down the most appreciative moment to date based on your ability to do the above?

I cannot pin down a specific moment, but it has been awesome engaging with the Instagram and Twitter community about the books we are currently reading and love. I’ve read countless good books due to suggestions made by others.

We know you’re inspired by the likes of Alex Strohl, Gabriel Flores, Forrest Mankins & Mark Clinton. Have you had the pleasure to meet any of them? Collaborate yet?

Sure do, Jared Chambers is another consistent source of inspiration. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting any of them yet, nor have we collaborated. We’ve interacted on social media from time to time, but it seems we’re always in different locales. I hope to shoot with them at some point in the future though – I’ve found that I learn the most when in the presence of other creatives, pushed to see the world from their perspective just as they too are pushed to see the world through mine.

Out of anyone in the world, you have 3 places available at the dinner table, who do you invite and what would you ask them?

1. Ansel Adams – I would ask about what he looks for before taking a photograph and what his critiques of my work would be.

2. Julian of Norwich – I would ask her about the guidelines she followed in how she named God – and how those guidelines could transform conservative theology in relation to women oft perpetuated within the Church.

3. Martin Luther King Jr. – I would ask for his wisdom and advice in regard to the state of race relations in the United States today and where the struggle for civil rights should be focused.

We believe a lot of Ledin Gray followers to be foxes. Steering clear of the pack and chasing their dreams. Telling a great story. Now if we are talking foxes, how on earth did you feel tipping 100K Foxes on Instagram a ways back?

Humbled to say the least. Realizing that 100K people, who hail from different cities and countries, with unique passions and dreams, consider my own individual story as one worth following, is absolutely mind-blowing.

How does it feel to be closing in on 400K foxes being inspired by your every move?

Even more humbling. Over these past few years, it has been the support of the hundreds of thousands of foxes tuning in to my adventures that has kept me going as a photographer. In good times and in bad, I have found the community surrounding myself and my work to be one of the most supportive groups that I have.

Does the following truly matter to you? Or do you simply feel blessed to be doing something you enjoy?

For my own self-worth and conception of identity, no – though I do feel affirmed in my work with all the support and encouragement that I’ve received over the years. Ultimately, I feel blessed knowing that the photographs that I’ve taken have awakened others into a mode of living in which their dreams are being pursued – forsaking what can be the norms of society in favor of attempting to live out the dreams on their hearts, dreams that I believe firmly are there for a reason.

Griffin Lamb wants to ‘capture the world that he sees around him and inspire others to do the same’, do you feel you have carried out your intent just yet? Or still a few more chapters to write?

There are always more chapters to write. But if for some reason today was my last day of ever being behind the lens, I would be content with the stories already written. I have seen parts of the world that I once only fantasized of seeing and made meaningful friendships along with way, all the while documenting my travels so that others are inspired to make their dreams a reality too.

Why do you want to define yourself eventually?

I think how we go about defining ourselves is dependent on the lifetime of experiences we encounter – thus making the process a gradual one. Taking that into account, I want an underlying theme throughout all of my experiences to be genuine intentionality. “Being intentional” is a cliché phrase in today’s day and age, but for me, if I live a life where I am never truly invested in the here and now – distracted in conversations, unwilling to let others in on the hopes and fears and doubts, selfish with my time – I will never have truly lived.

Why do you think story telling is so integral?

Itouched on this a bit earlier, but to put it another way: while a picture is certainly worth a thousand words – evoking a response in the viewer by the details within the composition alone – photographs also have a context that the photographer knows intimately. Telling that story allows for the viewer to not only interact with the image before them, but with the person behind the lens.

Griffin Lamb

What’s one story that remains with you to this day?

Before arriving at the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya, I already had a vision of a photograph that I wanted to take – of a Marula tree in the distance with the golden light of the setting sun beaming through it. Two days into my time there, I had yet to find anything remotely like the vision I had for the photograph – a predicament that was frustrating to say the least. On the final day though, after six hours in the Land Rover, we stumbled upon a field with a beautiful Marula tree standing alone in the middle. Behind the tree, the sun was setting, directly below an ominous storm system that was heading in our direction. The glow of the sun hit the clouds in a way that turned the dark grey tones of the clouds to a peachy orange – even illuminating the rain that was falling onto the Serengeti below. It was one of the most breathtaking scenes that I have ever encountered – and I felt like a child, in awe of how big the world is in comparison to how small I am.

You are a pretty fashionable guy, what’s some brands that make up GL’s wardrobe and 3 items you typically would wear?

Penfield, TOPO Designs, J. Crew, Patagonia, and Red Wing. On a typical Seattle day, I’m probably wearing a pair of jeans, my Red Wing boots, and a flannel. Maybe that’s cliché for someone living in the Pacific Northwest, but I remain unashamed.

You leave your bag at the coffee house one morning, what does the store owner find in it?

Hmm definitely my laptop, journal, latest book, and headphones.

The store owner finds your camera. What is one sentence that you had engraved on the strap that captures Griffin Lamb entirely?

“Stay in the present.” I think it’s easy in the photo to world to become distracted by the potential of the future – with trips and new clients on the horizon. It is also easy to let the camera get in the way of your investment in the moment that you are documenting. Too often I’ve found myself not really enjoying the moment because I am too fixated on the shots that I need to capture. Staying present is a reminder that the moment we find ourselves in is all that we ultimately have – encouraging us to root ourselves deeply in the experiences before our very eyes.

Word’s cannot describe how privileged we feel right now to have spent some time chatting with you Griffin. We are so excited to have you part of the Ledin Gray family now. We look forward to following your story and hopefully one day soon we can walk one of these many photographic adventures with you.

Any final words before we meet again?

No final words, other than a sincere thank you. The questions asked have been thought provoking and I have enjoyed sharing a bit more about myself with you all. Cheers to the next time!