justin key photography

Hi friends! I have the pleasure of knowing a power couple whose goals are to follow their dreams of running their own businesses. You may remember my feature post about Sarah Key, and her career with Rodan & Fields skincare. Well, her husband, Justin Key, has his own photography business: Justin Key Photography.
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Photography is an art I truly enjoy; photos can capture timeless memories, but what’s refreshing about Justin’s photos are that they expose you to organic, picturesque sites. He focuses on landscapes, structures, nature; they may seem like simple shots, but they leave room for the person viewing the photo to interpret what they’re seeing in any way they’d like. For example, what do YOU see when you look at Justin’s “Runnin’ Down A Dream”:
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Runnin'-Down-a-Dream
Runnin’ Down a Dream – Justin Key Photography
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Pretty cool huh? To me this photo represents a few different in-depth ideas. There are independent branches, but they are intimately intertwined. It represents us as people; we are individuals who need interaction, support, and inclusion. To me this photo represents a holistic and spiritual world — a humble reminder that you are part of something much larger than life itself.  It’s family, work, play, love.
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With that said, please join me in learning more about Justin, and how he got to where is today in his photography career!
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>>What inspired you to get into photography? And at what age did you decide to learn more about photography?<<
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I was always curious, as a kid, about the science behind photography. The first big purchase I ever made was this $70 Fujifilm film camera that I thought was the coolest thing ever. I brought it everywhere and looking back at my images, mostly of zoo animals, they weren’t great in any aspect but I remember the excitement of bringing my film in to get developed and the anticipation of seeing the prints. I wish I could remember how old I was, my guess is about 12 or 13, but for some reason photography drew me in really young and was the one phase of my childhood I never out grew. Photography was always a hobby of mine, I enjoyed doing it but never worked at the craft until I went to college. I shot for the yearbook in high school and started to understand the capabilities of my camera better, at this point I was shooting digital and the instant viewing allowed me to figure out what everything in the camera did and how to control the light better. It wasn’t until I started thinking about college that I even considered photo to be a path for me. In college, I entered an art program with primarily a photojournalism background so it led to a lot of learning and experimentation in different genres. That was when I think I truly fell in love with photography
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>>What are your favorite photos to take, and why?<<
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I have shot darn near everything when it comes to photography. I started out shooting sports primarily and loved it but my focus has shifted over the years. I would still love to shoot sports because being on the sidelines of big games is a feeling unlike any other. I’ve tried portrait and weddings but I have a hard time directing people so I have tried to distant myself from that genre. Landscape and travel photography is what I’m focused on now and see myself doing going forward. I like to look at my work as art, I don’t shoot a lot of the colorful sunsets or breathtaking panoramas, I try to find a sense of place in my photography. I like to think of my work as capturing the character of Earth. I’ve always been drawn to nature and travel and my eye tries to capture the moments and the details that make up the memories we take from places. I don’t know that I have crossed over into the fine art realm quite yet but that is the type of work I would like to be classified under some day.

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>>Where do you see Justin Key Photography being in the next 5-10 years? What kind of portfolio do you plan to build?<<
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My current goal is to become self sufficient through my photography and I’m hoping to do that in the next year or two so looking beyond that is tough. I see a lot of growth that can be made in my work. I continue to look at my images and think they could be so much better than they are so in 5-10 years I would like to see my portfolio improve to the level I believe I can achieve. I would love to have checked off a lot of places on my travel list and see my name grow larger in the photography community. I plan on sticking with my landscape work and am currently in the works of expanding my website to include a new segment of my work I’m calling the Long Shutter Project. Currently it will be a collection of abstract series with the goal to raise money for muscular dystrophy but I see it expanding beyond the single cause down the road and I hope in 5-10 years to have raised a good amount of money for those causes.
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>> What advice do you give aspiring photographers?<<
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If I had to give aspiring photographers advice or even thinking about what I would tell myself starting out would be not to be afraid. I spent a long time doubting myself and worrying about the potential of failure and it held me back for a number of years. Once I got over those fears and doubts, I’ve seen my work improve, I’ve seen more opportunities come my way and I believe more in myself and my future. You can’t be afraid to chase your dreams and the sooner you can believe in yourself and put the time in to make it happen the sooner that dream becomes a reality.
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>>Who are some of your favorite artists? Do you have any particular favorite art pieces that speak to you?<<
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As a landscape photographer obviously Ansel Adams has been a big inspiration to me. I did a study in college of Masumi Hayashi’s technique and her work gave me a different perspective of the way we view scenes. Art Wolfe has some incredible work, Martin Bailey has a style similar to mine, I have been listening to his podcast for a while because he has a lot of the same views as me and it wasn’t surprising to find our work is pretty similar. Mark Rothko is a painter I have been inspired by as well.

Cheers!
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Well, friends, thanks for reading! It’s so rare to find a passion and turn it into a supportive career and I envy  Justin for doing just that! I hope Justin’s post inspires you to stick with your passions, and even if you figure you need to do something else for ‘work’, make sure to leave a large space in your hearts and schedules for passion projects. Check out his Instagram: @JustinKeyPhotograhy and his gallery to see more of his portfolio.
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xo Karen
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You can’t be afraid to chase your dreams and the sooner you can believe in yourself and put the time in to make it happen the sooner that dream becomes a reality. – Justin Key
Jolene
Jolene – Justin Key Photography

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