John E. Marriott is one of Canada’s premier professional wildlife and nature photographers, with images published worldwide by National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Canadian Geographic, McLean's, and Reader’s Digest. He is an Associate Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers, a contributing editor for Outdoor Photography Canada magazine and the host of the popular web series EXPOSED with John E. Marriott.
John has produced six coffee table books and one guidebook, including three Canadian bestsellers: Banff & Lake Louise: Images of Banff National Park (2007), Wildlife of the Canadian Rockies: A Glimpse at Life on the Wild Side (2008), and The Canadian Rockies: Banff, Jasper & Beyond (2009). He most recently released The Pipestones: The Rise and Fall of a Wolf Family in August 2016 and Tall Tales, Long Lenses: My Adventures in Photography in November 2017.
John is the owner/operator of Canadian Wildlife Photography Tours (www.canwildphototours.com), featuring wildlife photo adventures, workshops, and expeditions to out-of-the-way Canadian locales.
John prides himself on being a conservation photographer known for photographing wilderness scenes and wild, free-roaming animals in their natural habitats.
Marina Raydun: You’re a wildlife photographer and your passion for what you do is apparent in every one of your shots. Do you view what you do as a way of storytelling?
John E. Marriott: Absolutely, Marina. I love to be able to use visual elements to weave a story and to help pass along a message or to enhance a well-written tale. I think the best wildlife photographers are the ones that can tell stories with their imagery.
MR: What motivates you to get behind the camera?
JEM: At this point in my career (I’ve been doing this for over twenty years now), my primary motivation is conservation-oriented. I am extremely passionate about being an advocate for the animals I photograph and that motivates me to continue to get out in the field and tell my stories.
MR: What is the most difficult part about your artistic process?
JEM: Staying up to date with editing images. I find it much easier to traipse about in the field than I do to sit at a computer staring at images and trying to decide which ones are worth sharing with the world.
MR: Your photography books are stunning. Editing down must be a real challenge! Can you tell us a little bit about the way you go about it?
JEM: It definitely is a challenge. When I do get motivated to sit down and edit and create a book project, I try to pick images that help the storyline, but also images that pair well together and enhance the overall look of the book.
MR: How did publishing your first book change your creative process?
JEM: I don’t think publishing books has really changed my creative process, although I will admit that it my creative focus has shifted over time. Earlier in my career with my first few books, I had a definite commercial aim with the books, so I shot and included images that I probably wouldn’t take in my normal everyday photography life. For instance, there are a few photographs of the Town of Banff in my first coffee table book because that’s what appeals to tourists visiting Banff, but I’d never take pictures of the town for any other reason than because it was needed for the project.
MR: How do you define a perfect shot? And how do you frame it?
JEM: A perfect shot makes the viewer feel emotion and connect in some manner to the photograph. Sometimes it’s a ‘beautiful’ shot, sometimes it’s a shot that makes the viewer wonder how it was taken or what happened. They’re all perfect shots, but very different in makeup. The framing always matters, but it’s just one element of a perfect shot.
MR: What photographers influenced your thinking and photographing?
JEM: I was most influenced by Michio Hoshino, who was a Japanese wildlife photographer that photographed extensively in Alaska in the early 1990s. I loved his style of including animals in vast landscapes and try to emulate that in some of my own photography.
MR: If you could have drinks with any person, living or dead, who would it be? Why?
JEM: That’s easy, I’d have my parents with me again for a gin and tonic and a few glasses of wine. They were instrumental in me becoming who I am and being as successful as I am. Remarkably, they never once asked me when I was going to “get a real job” on the long journey to become a professional photographer.
MR: What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
JEM: Ha! Sadly, I either spend my time thinking about the Vancouver Canucks (my favourite NHL hockey team) or staring out the window scanning for wildlife.
MR: Is there a book that people might be surprised to learn you love?
JEM: I don’t know if it would be a huge surprise to people, but my favourite book of all-time is Watership Down by Richard Adams. It’s a book about rabbits, but of course it’s so much more. I also loved Louis L’Amour’s as a teenager and at one point owned every single one of his titles.
For more information on John’s photography, please visit his website at www.wildernessprints.com
John on Social Media:
Facebook: John E. Marriott Wildlife and Nature Photography
YouTube: EXPOSED with John E. Marriott