Farmington-based photographer, Monte Nagler was not always making his living behind the lens. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he first became a car designer and automotive product planner. Eventually Monte turned his professional pursuits to photography. His passion for the art form was heightened after an intensive workshop with Ansel Adams in Yosemite National Park.
Today, Monte Nagler’s work can be found in many private, public, and museum collections, as well as in six highly successful photography books of his own. Among his numerous accolades are the State of Michigan Senate and House honoring him with proclamations for his contributions to fine art photography, and the Artist In Residence Award from the Farmington Area Arts Commission.
BMN: How old were you when you first explored photography and what inspired you to pursue it?
Monte: I’m a “late bloomer” to the photographic world. I was 30 years old when I took my first “serious” picture and fell in love with photography immediately.
BMN: Where did you learn your craft?
Monte: Other than a workshop in Yosemite National Park with Ansel Adams, I’m self-taught, one of the best ways to learn a craft.
BMN: How would you describe your style?
Monte: I have no particular one style. I am constantly exploring new techniques such as montaging, use of creative borders around the images, new printing methods and different materials.
BMN: What is your favorite subject matter and why?
Monte: I enjoy photographing many subjects but have always leaned towards the landscape. I produce images in color, black & white and infrared.
BMN: Who are the artists whose work you most admire?
Monte: I most admire the works of Ansel Adams, Yousuf Karsh and Alfred Eisenstaedt all of whom produced some of the most important images in photographic history.
BMN: Do you have a favorite place in Michigan to take photos?
Monte: I’ve had the privilege of photographing many parts of the world, but Michigan holds a top spot. Michigan has so many awesome photography opportunities. In particular, I like the northwest area in the Lower Peninsula and just about everywhere in the Upper Peninsula.
BMN: What advice do you have for artists seeking to make their living through their art?
Monte: My advice to artists is to follow your passions, create what truly “moves” you, don’t get discouraged and, very importantly, learn good marketing skills.