Artist Series 011 - Tanner Wilson

A Conversation with Tanner Wilson


C&T: Greetings Tanner! Tell us a bit about where you’re from, where you’ve been, and how you began working with photography?


 I'm currently based in Encinitas and I've lived in San Diego for about 8 years now since I've moved out here for college. I grew up in Phoenix and the desert definitely holds a special place in my heard and my photography, but more on that later. 

 Photography started for me when I was gifted a film camera before heading off to study abroad in South Africa. I knew very little about photography and shooting film forced me to learn quick! When I got back, I started taking photograhy seriously and kept bringing my film camera on all of my travels and adventures in the mountains to hone my skills and try to create beautiful images. To this day, I still prefer shooting on film. I feel more much more connected to what I am shooting and I love the tangibility of the entire creative process as opposed to shooting digital.



C&T: Can you talk a bit about the particular body of work you’ve put into this show? 



For this show I wanted to showcase a handful of my favorite landscapes taken over the last few years from backpacking and traveling. Oftentimes, what I enjoy the most about photography is the journey and the adventures that come when I have a camera in hand. That said, capturing nearly all of these images took many nights spent in the backcountry or travels to far corners of the globe. All in all, the various scenes represented across Desert, Mountain, and Sea are some of my favorite places on Earth. From the California's Sierra Nevada to the shores of South Africa, these are all places where I feel completely overwhelmed by natural beauty and my hope is that I can inspire people to get out and explore areas both near and far from them.

 Pretty much every image was taken on Kodak film with my Nikon FM2N. It's a camera that is over 40 years old but still produces incredible images. I consider it to be my 'workhorse' camera because of how durable it is for hiking, backpacking, and exploring.


C&T: Talk a bit about your creative process. What inspires you? 


 Honestly, my creative process mainly involves me going on long walks in the wilderness. But seriously, I feel most inspired when I'm outside enjoying the natural wonders that our world has to offer whether its through surfing, hiking, or running. I also spend a lot of time analyzing maps for location scouting and I honestly feel pretty inspired by geography and topo lines...  

I think you'll find through my work that I am drawn to open spaces, pops of color, and interesting compositions in nature. So anywhere that I can check all three of those boxes is sure to be an inspiration. I can usually get excited about most landscapes but if I had to pick one "zone" in particular I would choose the desert. Growing up in the Sonoran Desert, I feel like I didn’t fully appreciate it until I moved away. I absolutely love the mountains, I really enjoy the coast, but I find a special beauty in the vastness of the desert and its unique flora and formations that give me a creative boost.



C&T: What role if any does coffee play in your creative life? 


Coffee plays a major role in my creative life, as every day starts with a pour over. When I'm at home editing photos or scanning film, I love to have a cup from the chemex to sip on. Not only does it help my productivity, but it also just inspires me. I love to appreciate the nuances in a good cup of coffee just like the fine details in a good photograph. Even when I'm out in the wilderness, I would never leave my ultra light specialty coffee setup at home. And whenever I'm in new places, I always seek out local roasters and specialty shops to get inspiration and a feel for the local community.  Coffee & Tea Collective actually helped kickstart this specialty coffee addiction as I'm a former C&T barista from my college days. Definitely one of my favorite jobs that has left a lasting impact!
C&T: Thanks for your time Tanner. 
Don't miss the show Saturday June 1st 5pm-8pm at our North Park Cafe. 
Order the coffee here