For Colorado based landscape photographer and artist Ross Cole, outdoor adventure-travel and the creative process go hand in hand in sparking inspiration. Growing up surrounded by mountainscapes and trees, Cole has been particularly drawn to them for inspiration that puts his pen to paper to craft beautiful sketches of nature scenes. While photography has provided a new lens from which to see different perspectives, Cole believes that “nature in art allows people to see the endless beauty that’s created by everything around them”.
FtC: Does outdoor adventure-travel inspire your art, or does the creative process inspire your next adventures?
In a way, both; they go hand-in-hand for me. The outdoor lifestyle definitely inspires my art. I’ve always been especially inspired by trees and mountains because they’ve always surrounded me, so when I put pen to paper, it’s always what I want to draw. On the other hand, photography has allowed me to see things in different perspectives, and so being able to create art in that sense motivated me to go see new places and go on new adventures.
FtC: How do you see nature-inspired art as having an influential role in people’s lives?
I believe that nature in art allows people to see the endless beauty that’s created by everything around them. Mother nature is like a painter that’s always creating something new and unique. This inspires people to go out and experience for themselves the natural masterpieces that surround them.
FtC: What is your personal back-story on how you got started creating sketches?
I’ve always loved drawing, painting, and creating. My dad, sister, and brother-in-law are all artists, and I’ve always found it meditative. I’m sure this had an effect on my interest in photography. I would see nature scenes and think the classic thought, “Wow, that looks like a painting,” and I realized that I could create something that could hang on someone’s wall that can give the same impressions as a painting or drawing.
FtC: Photography itself is an art. What draws you to capture landscape scenes?
Being able to show people the way I see the world around me feels like a way of showcasing nature’s constant beauty. It’s exciting to think that I could spend my entire life capturing each new scene that I experience, and yet always be able to see something new.
FtC: You often find art in real-time nature scenes, such as your campfire moment you described as, “The flame and the clouds made art in harmony. I could get used to this life…”. What is the best thing to you about experiencing this “art” live in the moment?
A photo like that could not be any more rewarding. I know that that exact picture could never be taken twice and it makes it feel extremely one-of-a-kind. That’s a special feeling.
FtC: Marcel Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Does this concept ring true for you? How would you describe this sense of discovery and finding a capture in the moment that most may not notice or that may only exist to be witnessed for a fleeting moment in time?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shot a scene somewhere that I’ve already taken pictures before, and yet I’ve walked away feeling like it was the first time. There are so many different ways to see the same thing, so when I can capture something that is unique to the way I look at things, I feel like I’m able to express myself and the way I’m feeling when I’m capturing each moment. For example, clouds are always changing and there’s always a new plant or subject that I can make the focus of a photograph.
FtC: You often travel with company (your girlfriend and dog). How does sharing these fleeting moments become a different experience compared to venturing solo?
By far my favorite photograph to take is a candid moment. Not only am I able to document and remember every adventure with company I love, but so much can be felt by one photo when you capture someone (or some-dog) in their own natural way of being.
FtC: What do you aim to achieve with your art?
I want to eventually fade away from the social media scene and solely create art that can be displayed. The feeling of having your work hanging in someone’s home or business is unreal. It means that my art makes someone feel some type of way and that it’s something they want to look at every day. Don’t get me wrong though—I would not complain if I worked as a photographer for an outdoor company, magazine, or something along those lines! I will continue to always draw as a personal hobby, and I’m interested to see if anything comes from that, as well.