Interview by Will Geier.
Photos by Liam Glass.
Liam Glass is a Calgary-based freelance visual media producer specializing in active lifestyle, portraiture, food, and residential and commercial interiors. Glass’ photos have been published in a multitude of skiing, snowboarding and skateboarding magazines, and he is contracted by numerous clients including ski hills, skate shops, and restaurants.
Are you originally from Calgary?
I grew up in Sibbald Flats just outside of Kananaskis, but I’ve been living in the city for the past three years now.
How is it being a photographer in the Calgary area?
It’s been on the slow side for me recently, but it’s pretty amazing as far as shooting snowboarding with all the mountains so close. There’s a lot of talented photographers and people in the area, which always makes for good photos.
You do amazing environmental portraits. What do you look for when choosing a subject?
A lot of my subjects are friends of mine, so they’re people I get along with and whose work I enjoy. I like shooting people who have unusual hobbies, professions, and just people who look interesting.
How did you get your start in action sports photography?
Well skateboarding and snowboarding are what originally got me interested in photography in high school. I got a camera and started shooting photos of my friends at the skate park in Cochrane. I looked at a lot of snowboarding and skateboard magazines and always wanted to have a photo published. I shot for years before getting anything run. Over the years, I kept meeting riders and everything kept progressing.
When did you first start shooting professionally?
Since I graduated from the SAIT photojournalism program a few years ago, I’ve been trying my hand at it.
What are some of the challenges of shooting on location on mountains and in potentially extreme conditions?
The weather can be a big challenge. I’ve gotten frostbite on all my toes from standing in the snow all day. And the cold kills batteries.
I’ve had to tape hand warmers to the back of my flashes before.
I imagine it can be hard on gear. Do you have any stories of damaging gear while out shooting skiing and snowboarding?
I’ve had flash tubes explode from shooting at -30. My lights have been knocked over a few times by boards shooting out and hitting them.
I’ve had my lens and skull get smashed a few times. My gear definitely takes a beating on the regular.
You do a wide variety of photography from action to food to portraits. What makes you want to diversify what you shoot?
It’s exciting to learn to shoot new things. Being able to shoot something like interiors translates into better action photos and portraits, and vice versa.
What is the most challenging type of photography you do? Which one do you feel is the easiest?
The most challenging part of photography is the business side of it for me, which I feel is 90 per cent of it. It’d be awesome to have an agent and just be able to focus on shooting.
I don’t know if it’s the easiest part, but I enjoy shooting skateboarding the most since it usually involves warm weather, some beers, and friends.
What is your favourite camera and lens combo to shoot with?
I don’t know if I have a favourite combo, but I seem to use my 8-15mm fisheye or 70-200mm the most on a 5D Mark III.
Do you have any current photo projects underway that you would like to tell us about?
I’m working on a few articles right now that I want to pitch, and I want to shoot a lot more environmental portraits as well.
Do you have anything you would like to add?
Thank you to all my friends that have let me shoot with them over the years and to my parents!