If you picked up our latest issue, then chances are you have seen the incredible imagery of Cape Breton photographer Steve Rankin.
What are your own roots?
I really need to brush up on my family history, but as far as I know all of my family has their roots in Scotland. Just looking at my grandparents last names Rankin, MacNeil, MacDonald and Rorison.
When and why did you become interested in photography?
After high school like many Cape Bretoners I moved away to study and work. I ended up not far away in Halifax for 9 years. At which point my partner Emily Chafe and I realized the country life was for us and decided to move back home to Cape Breton. After moving home I realized the beauty that was around every corner and started snapping pictures. I started out using my phone until I got a DSLR for a Christmas gift in 2011 and I was hooked from there.
Are they the same reasons you do it today?
When I started it was only landscape work that I focused on but over the last year I have started to focus much more on people and portraiture. I really enjoy being able to meet people and being asked to capture important moments in their lives, whether it be weddings, events, or family sessions.
What are the challenges of the vocation?
There are many challenges in photography, I learn something new every day, which may also be why I love it so much. The biggest challenge for me would have to be the business end of it; dealing with pricing, book keeping and any other administrative tasks.
What are the rewards?
The biggest reward is being able to bring a smile to someone’s face with a captured moment. Whether that be a picture of home posted on Facebook and seen by one of the many Cape Bretoners out west. Or a moment captured at a wedding that shows the true emotion of the day.
Is your creative process more ‘inspirational’ or ‘perspirational’?
I would say more inspirational. You need to have patience and wait for the right moment but, some days they don’t happen. I would call those the perspirational days.
What makes a good photograph?
A good photograph is something that makes you feel an emotion. It doesn’t matter what emotion, joy, sadness, or even anger. if it makes you feel something that is a good photo.
Do you have a favourite photo of your own?
I don’t really have any favorites. One that stands out is of a tiny blue cabin that was left unused for several years. I find it quite beautiful and yet slightly haunting.
How have the internet and new technologies changed what you do?
I have only been taking pictures for less than three years but I can tell you without technology no one would have ever seen my photos and I certainly wouldn’t be able to call photography my career right now.
What are your thoughts on the state of photography today?
Apart from the latest selfie craze I think photography is in a good place. The technology gets better every year. There is so much information out there to educate yourself for free and so many ways to share your work with the world. If you have an artistic eye and the time to learn the tools of the trade you can certainly make a living at it. It may not be the as profitable a business as it once was but I think that leaves more room for those who have a true passion for it.
What’s next on your creative agenda?
Right now I am taking anything that comes my way I am still learning what types of photography I love but looking at my calendar my main focus for the next two years will be weddings which involves every kind of photography; portrait, product, macro, day/night, indoor/outdoor. Living where I do you can always expect new landscape shots to pop up on my Facebook page weekly.
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