Capturing seemingly familiar scenes with a renewed, yet enduring perspective—that’s what photographer and Volunteer State native, Corey Wolfenbarger is all about. Being fans of Corey’s work ourselves, we decided to reach out to him while we’re all indoors in an effort to pick the brain behind the lens—drawing inspiration for the season to come. With that being said, we sure hope you enjoy our conversation with the fellow TS fan and ambassador as much as we did.

Corey Wolfenberger taking a photo of icebergs Two images of Corey and a mountainscape A film image of a high desert mountain

So Corey, thanks for chatting with us. We’re big fans of your work over here at TS. For those that don’t already know of you, could you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

Thanks for having me, guys. It’s a huge honor. I am a travel and lifestyle photographer based in Tennessee—which basically means I am incredibly lucky to travel to very beautiful locations to create images for brands.

 

What initially made you fall in love with photography?

I think I loved just being outside with my friends at first. I grew up near a national park, but it wasn’t until college where I figured out that going on a short hike with my friends just made me feel great and had a lot of benefits—mentally, physically, etc. Instagram was a brand new app and we soon figured out we could take photos on our iPhone 5s and share photos with the world (even if it was only like 10 people liking our photos at the time ha) and we thought that was the coolest thing ever to share photos from our hikes and weekend travels.

 

Do you have a favorite location that you’ve been able to shoot?

While cliche, I’d have to pick California. I can’t quit coming back. Between Big Sur, The Sierras, Death Valley, Joshua Tree—there is just so much to see. I know many people are able to create beautiful photos in many different weather conditions, but personally, I love golden hour. I am a sunrise and sunset kind of guy. So between all of the locations and weather, it doesn’t get much better than The Golden State.

 

What would you say differentiates your work as a whole?

While I am not always successful, I try hard to take photos of popular places that are not always the most popular angles or frames you are used to seeing. In the social media age that is quite difficult, but it is usually my intent to show a place in a new and serene way.

 

Do you have a go-to camera setup or is that too difficult to answer?

Not too difficult! This camera is actually about the same age as me. The Mamiya 7 is a medium format film camera that was made in 1995. It will forever be my favorite camera.

 

What made you drawn to film photography over digital?

I think with most artists we feel the pressure to share online constantly. Even when we don’t want to or it feels inauthentic, it’s almost impossible not to use social media because at the end of the day it is a free platform to share your work and the opportunities it can create are limitless. But eventually, it wears you down and I was just at a place where I was frustrated, uninspired, just posting online to keep my accounts going. When I discovered film it just felt real. I know that sounds so corny, but it’s true. It’s a tangible medium—things go wrong all the time because the cameras are old and I can’t look at a photo I’ve taken when camping with my friends, so I get to stay in the moment. Everything about film is just great for me (except the cost of developing and getting it on a computer ha)!

 

A film photo of a man walking through desert dunes

What do you enjoy most about living and shooting in Tennessee?

I live on a farm in rural Tennessee so life is very slow. We have no traffic. No long waits at restaurants. Every week when I drop my film off to ship it to the photo lab I know every employee in the post office by name. It’s just small-town America in many ways still and I like that. As far as shooting I live next door to the most visited National Park in the United States—Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so as far as beauty and mountains I am never at a loss for photographs when I am not traveling!

 

We loved your most recent vlog capturing your Texas road trip with your buddy Joe Greer. Do you have another photo road trip up your sleeve any time soon?

Definitely. Summer is road trip season! There is nothing better than piling in the car with friends and driving hundreds of miles in the summer with the only question being what lake or mountain are we sleeping by tonight. If Covid-19 slows down (stay safe out there y’all) I have a few potential routes near California I am pitching to my buddies right now. So if possible and we feel we can travel responsibly, we’re going to make something happen around July hopefully!

 

A film photo of the desert dunes

Being a freelance photographer, working from home must feel quite normal to you. What does your daily routine look like?

I have a lot of different projects going on at all times so it varies. When I am working from home it’s a lot of boring, monotonous tasks that I am sure most of us are familiar with. Emails, ideas to pitch brands in emails, making thumbnails for my YouTube channel, more emails, editing photos, phone calls with potential clients. Not every day is spent with a camera in front of a pretty scene, that’s for sure!

 

You’re a fan of Taylor Stitch yourself—what initially drew you to the brand?

With my personal style, I am always looking for the balance of “I can wear this when I am hanging outside but can also transition to dinner at a restaurant if need be and still look like I have a sense of style.” I grew up skating (tried surfing but it was too hard) so ultimately if I could wear Vans, old jeans, and a t-shirt until I die, I would. But I am 27 now and sometimes my meetings or daily life demands more than old jeans and a t-shirt, and Taylor Stitch allows me to find that balance of laid back and refined.

 

What’s one article of clothing you can’t live without?

A good jacket. Everything else can go bad but if I have a hoodie I love or a jacket I feel confident in the rest will work itself out!

 

Lastly, do you have any advice for someone who is looking to get into film photography?

Start out on 35mm. Make sure the first camera you buy has been tested recently. Invest in sending your film to a professional photo lab. Have fun and roll with the mistakes because you’ll make them along the way with film—I still do every day. Feel free to hop in my DM’s on Instagram if you’re new to film or looking to start!

 

A film photo of the Grand Teton Mountains

 

 

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