G. Brad Lewis is internationally recognized as a leading volcano and nature photographer. His volcano photographs have received numerous awards and have been widely exhibited, from the covers of National Geographic to his own lava-inspired art, found in galleries and museums around the world. His photographs are found in numerous private, corporate, and public collections around the world, as well as in fine galleries and through major stock agencies. Inspired by beauty and variety, Brad is based out of Hawaii, Utah, and Alaska, traveling several months each year to pursue his art.
“The goal of my photography is to connect the viewer to a deep understanding and appreciation of the natural world. In my LavArt series of images, I utilize the movement, light, and texture of the world’s most active volcano, to open human emotions to the pulse of the planet. I have chosen Kilauea Volcano on the island of Hawaii as my primary subject. The light is bright with creation. The movement is fluid and exciting. Nowhere else on Earth is creation happening on a continual basis at such a rapid rate. I find it crucial that there exist visual reminders that the Earth is alive and fulfilling an agenda of it’s own.
It is my desire to continue generating positive inspiration by focusing on photography that captures this essence of creation, beauty, and raw power.”
♦ What do you find most fascinating about the earth’s movement and what are the particular changes you see and like to capture while in Utah, Alaska, and Hawai’i?
The Earth is dynamic in so many ways, that only by basing out of several locations can I keep it balanced in a stimulating way that works for me. So much diverse, incredible beauty. From the deep blue ice of ancient glaciers to exploding molten spatter ejected out of a new fissure in the earth. And everything in between. I usually prefer very remote locations, to avoid distractions and the crowds. But there is profound beauty everywhere, even in our backyards and on the way to the market. We just have to open up and allow ourselves to SEE it. Shake it up. Get out of the macro and go micro. Lay down on the ground and look up at the sky. Take a ride on a cloud for a while; look down at yourself and better realize your place in it all.
It may be that the imagination of our newest generation is not getting nutured enough due primarily to the overload of tech information resulting in a disconnect with the Earth. In your opinion, what are some ways to reintroduce ourselves to the beauty and splendor of the Earth’s wonderment?
We need to remember that we are part of Nature, and that Nature nurtures us deeply and completely. Within my lifelong quest to record the natural beauty of the planet, and basing out of the most beautiful places I can find; I have also lived in big cities, like Paris, London, and New York. This provides perspective and appreciation. Once, while living in Manhattan, I was so desperate for a hit of nature, I didn’t really know where to turn… until I saw a huge boulder in Central Park, and went up to it, and touched it, and at the moment I felt such an ease, like everything would be OK, that its all connected… I want to share photographs that help to heal the soul and rekindle the flame, especially in those people who do not have an immediate connection to Nature, or who are terminally distracted by technology. We, as a race, have become so “connected”, without realizing how disconnected we are with Nature.
What are some motivating words you would give to those of us who feel they are missing out on life in nature? It seems that the challenge today is in making technology work for you, not against you. Has the efficiency of Redframe technology helped you in achieving this balance? If so, what has been the most helpful?
Redframe makes it so easy to upload new images, creating new galleries in moments, that I have more time to play in the wilderness, creating more content to share. A wonderful visual cycle, where I can stay in my element, while getting out the goods on a worldwide scale. For me that is awesome because I’m an artist, photographer, I’m not a guru on the computer. The website had been the last place that I focused my energy because it was over my head. Any changes or additional content had to be made through a webmaster, at a hefty hourly fee, which killed my spontaneity, and kept me from adding new content, which I continually create. It was very frustrating. In my extensive research to find a company to help me with building a new website, I was being quoted fees starting at a few thousand dollars, to $8-11,000. In the end I would have been still in the same position, they had total control, and I had to go through them to get things done. The ability to do it all myself now actually frees me. The whole Redframe format and structure is pretty intuitive. [Redframe] support is so awesome, sometimes I just go there and get some help so I don’t spend too much time trying to figure something; it always comes together. Because I can share my photos and run my business online like this, there is no need for a “high-priced middle-man.” I did months of research on dozens of web development companies, but seeing such a dynamic evolution in the offerings of Redframe, it was an obvious choice, and one that I have never doubted. Redframe is the perfect solution to my every website need.
Do you have any good tips for people on how to balance technology and getting outdoors among people and nature more frequently?
We have to remember to make the time and effort to be in Nature. I want someone to look at an image I have taken, and be so moved by it that they then make the effort to go and see it for themselves. However, this can be dangerous, as so many iconic locations are being “loved to death” by the masses who want to see it as others have shared it. That is one reason that I choose erupting volcanoes, obscure aspen forests, and remote ice fields as my primary subjects. My priority has always been to SHARE the beauty and wonders of the places that move me so. Redframe is my primary tool to do that now. There are so many exciting changes in technology, that it has never been easier to share it all on a massive scale. Even when posting an image on a social media site, I see an immediate bump of visitors to my web site. We are truly in a connected world, and I could not be more happy with the freedom and ease that Redframe provides me in sharing and selling my work to a global audience.
Is there anything else you would like to expand on to do how people can enjoy the great outdoors? Feel free to add some creative, freestyle thoughts.
Lava is one of those things that is amazing to see. I think every human should see it..it stops you in your tracks – this is living earth, earth’s blood, a force that creates wonderful things, and yes, it can be scary and destructive too [which can be a great reminder to respect nature.]
When I’m out in nature its like ‘Ahh I can finally breathe! I can replenish and heal.’ I’ve been fortunate with this volcano focus and being published/ featured in nature magazines. I remember Newsweek when they first introduced photo essays, one of the first was mine. I had this copy sitting around and I wasn’t even thinking of it as the copy with all my photos. I was looking through it and it was full of kind of grim human news. I came to the double page of my volcano photos and I got this hit before I was even conscious of them being my photos. My first thoughts were ‘Hey, check this out..this is the Earth and this is where we live and there’s a lot going on here, stuff that is beyond us.’ Natural beauty is so positive. You don’t have to be at a national park for profound beauty; nature is everywhere. ♦
It was a pleasure to learn so much from one person’s life adventures. While I perused through the archives of images, articles, and interviews of G. Brad Lewis a.k.a Volcano Man I couldn’t help but live vicariously through them. I imagined the gusto in which I would fly down those powdery slopes, feel the heat from the steaming hot lava on my face, the heightening of my senses in the fresh mist of a rainforest; it was exhilarating!
Snapping back to reality I realized that such adventures are possible. Of course, I’d have to do a bit more core training for endurance and stamina to take on such magnificent adventures. Each year I’ve moved closer and closer to more natural surroundings but still stay in close proximity to cities. I am quite conscious of both environments and constantly learn how to improve my balance of technology with enjoying the great outdoors. My quest has led me to meet people and places that inspire me to continue my path.
To my fellow city dwellers and “hipsters.” Sure, nobody ever self-identifies as a hipster, ever. Yet there seem to be tons of them. Who are they? They’re “them,” of course, but actually they are us. I’m sure you catch my drift 😉 Let’s resolve to be real again and go out there and have some fun!
The Earth is alive…the rivers are her veins, the forest her hair, the ocean her lungs…this planet is a living breathing entity. However, in our most recent generations we have lost touch with the idea of the world as a breathing entity. Let’s not forget and be mindful, and allow our imaginations, once again to soar. Today we live in a world where the oceans are rising and acidifying, the arctic permafrost is starting to bubble with its deadly stores of methane and the climate is steaming like never before. Most of us are suddenly filled with an uneasy feeling in our gut each time we look up at the sky. We gaze into the future and it is harder to see the bigger picture.
Even as we go about our daily lives, care-free, sipping lattes and zooming around in our automobiles, we are in a rush…for what? We, the people running this experiment of ours on planet Earth, have lost control of our own destiny… Fatigue has set in. While we sleep, species extinction, resource depletion, biodiversity loss – all the vital health curves of the planet – started heading exponentially out of control. Imagine what you want for yourself in the physical realm. Build peace of mind. Dream large dreams for you are a source of creative energy. Continue to create images of the physical world in terms of love; a planet filled with immense beauty, loving experiences, and a continuous state of growing joy.
Visit G. Brad Lewis, Volcano Man, at www.volcanoman.com