The most frequent comment I receive is my use of color and lighting to bring out some of the best aspects of a scene. These days I have found myself shooting a lot more localized work, around the Arkansas / Oklahoma / Missouri areas, and I absolutely love it when people see my work and it makes them feel really proud of where they are from. When people see one of my pieces of a location they may have been to many times, or perhaps have lived by their whole life, and they feel like I’ve conveyed it in a new and dynamic way they’ve never quite seen before, I feel like I’ve hit the nail on the head.
Interview with Gregory Ballos, Photographer, Bentonville, Arkansas USA
Click on an image to enlarge it.
Colorful Autumn Sunrise At Artist Point Arkansas Boston Mountains
Colorful Layers Of Antelope Canyon
Electric Night Cityplex Towers Tulsa Oklahoma
Fall In Love Beaver Lake Sunrise Northwest Arkansas
Kansas City Skyline Over Union Station
Maroon Bells Aspen Colorado Monochrome American Southwest
Reflective Morning Aspen Colorado
Saint Louis Skyline Morning Under The Arch
EWW: What are your challenges in doing your work?
Gregory: I think the biggest challenge for me would be continually scouting and traveling to new locations to capture new content, while also balancing the process of working through the many thousands of images I’ve taken over the years that are still waiting for the world to see them. As a photographer, I am constantly discovering new places to photograph, so it can be difficult sometimes to just put the camera away and focus on images I’ve already taken.
Knowing this, I try to dedicate time each morning or evening to working through older files and making sure I don’t miss a great image that was just left tucked away in a folder and nearly forgotten. In fact, I’ve noticed that some of my most popular images are ones that I’ve gone back to months (or even years) after shooting them. I actually think that giving an older image a new set of eyes (based on where my artistic eye is leading me in the present) can really help to create some amazing content.
EWW: When doing a shoot, what are the challenges?
Gregory: Trying to capture the most amount of content possible to allow for the highest degree of creativity during post-processing. Early in my career, I used to just be happy if I came away from a shoot with one or two quality images when all was said and done. My goal now is to be as efficient as possible during my shoots in order to give me the best chances of producing several high-quality sellable images to display.
To do this I start planning a shoot far in advance and try to think about how I can make the most of my time on location. I’ve gotten a lot better at anticipating things I used to just react to on the fly. With landscape and cityscape photography there will always be a good amount of adjustments to be made off the cuff, so anything I can do to remove some of them on the front-side gives me my best opportunity to make a shoot as successful as it can be.
EWW: You have several galleries among them Minimalism, Dusk and Night. Water Forms, Travel Art and others. Do you have a favorite(s)? Why?
Gregory: I love shooting a variety of scenes and conditions, but if I had to pick a favorite, I’d have to say a dusk/night or other low light (longer exposure) galleries. I typically don’t do much with my camera during daylight hours to be quite honest.
If you follow my work through the years you can see a progressive incline into more ethereal images utilizing longer exposures shot between dusk and dawn. I just feel the mood conveyed in low light situations through a photographic image is much more dynamic and impactful.
EWW: Some of your work is done in Black and White. How do you choose whether an image ends up in color or black and white?
Gregory: It’s just all about whether I feel the image lends itself well to a good quality monochrome print. To me, an image has to have some really dynamic contrasts and lighting in order for me to feel good about making it into a black and white.
I absolutely love the simplicity and power of a good black and white, but some images, no matter how much I’d like to turn them B&W, are just flat and boring without the colors showing. Early on I used to try to “make” an image work in B&W and found out pretty quickly that it’s typically just a waste of my time and can even reduce a collector’s perception of my work’s quality in the end. Sacrificing quality and perception for an incremental piece just isn’t worth it to me.
EWW: Excluding subject matter, are there themes that consistently run in all your work such as colors, perspective, lighting, movement, style, etc.?
Gregory: I shoot predominantly longer exposures and often try to incorporate water reflections and/or light trails into my work. I have to believe that these two elements come from growing up in rural Northeast Ohio where we had (and parents still have) a small private lake behind our home. One of my fondest memories of my childhood is sitting out by the still waters in the evenings and just gazing at the cars passing by over the bridge on the other side of the waters. It’s kind of funny how things like that can stick with you. I didn’t really even make the connection until a couple years back when a few people commented on these elements being so often found in my photographs. I guess the things that brought me such joy as a child still give me a lot of internal peace in my photographic work today.
EWW: Do you think it is important for photographic artists to have their own website, in addition to another gallery they appear on? If so, why?
Gregory: I’d have to say yes. If for no other reason than just to have another contact point for potential buyers if the online gallery goes down. I’m a big fan of not having all my eggs in one basket. Some of the galleries (or marketplaces) available for photographers allow for a personal website and I think some of them can be quite powerful marketing tools. They are typically very stylish and easy to use. However, there is always the potential of the site being sold or going out of business. In that event, it would be quite unfortunate to have all of your work online go away overnight.
EWW: Do you use social media platforms to market and promote your work? If you do use social media platform seems, which one(s) work the best for you?
Gregory: I use Facebook mostly, IG a bit and Twitter very sparingly. In general, Facebook is the most successful for me in terms of sales. Facebook just feels more personal than all the rest which is why I tend to lean more towards their platform. IG and Twitter just seem to have become overcrowded and overused in my humble opinion.
EWW: Just to wrap up this interview, do you have any final thoughts about you and your work that you think would be important for others to know about?
Gregory: That I’m just a constant learner when it comes to most things in life, and photography is no exception. I love experimenting with new approaches to shooting the various scapes that I find beautiful (which also tends to change and adapt over time as well). Also, I love the business side of photography as well. The marketing and selling of my artwork as well. My parents owned various small businesses throughout my childhood and being a small-business owner is just in my blood, I suppose. Photography allows me to showcase both my creative side through capturing beautiful cityscapes and landscapes as well as my analytical business side through running the day to day aspects of the craft. So all that to say, I truly enjoy what I do.