Stephen Smith – Adventures in Photography, Motorcycles, and Ranches
Stephen Smith is an agrarian, adventure, and lifestyle photographer who has successfully combined his love of ranches, farms, motorcycles, and travel into a full-time career in professional photography. Thanks to his artistic eye, hard work, persistence, and willingness to take risks, Stephen has successfully created a niche for himself in the crowded arena of professional photography. (Check him out on Instagram.)
He is obviously a naturally talented artist, but it seems that a great deal of Stephen’s success can be traced back to the fact that he is committed to putting himself in unique—often difficult, uncomfortable, or scary—situations that allow him to capture one-of-a-kind experiences and perspectives. Among other things, he has worked on a 90,000-acre Colorado cattle ranch, taken a five-month solo motorcycle trip through South America, and put in time at several California and Colorado vineyards, all while constantly shooting photos and refining his craft.
Stephen’s solid understanding of agriculture and years of adventure are evident in his work. His images are as authentic as they are artistic, and he knows how to capture the true spirit of a person, place, animal, or experience in a fresh style that creates a genuine connection with the audience. I came across Stephen’s agricultural photography several years ago and was immediately drawn in. (And keep in mind, I can be a bit jaded when it comes to ranch photos—I look at them all day as part of my job.) I have been a fan of his work ever since.
I was super-excited to finally meet Stephen and learn more about his work and personal story. We had a fun (and funny) conversation and covered a wide range of interesting topics. We dug into his connection to agriculture and talked in depth about how ranches and farms play an important role in land conservation. We talked about motorcycles and some of his adventures. We discussed the importance of international travel and his lessons learned from immersion in foreign cultures. We obviously chatted in detail about photography, as well as an insane bear story that you definitely need to hear.
Cool guy. Thoughtful conversation. Crazy stories. Great episode!
All photos courtesy of Stephen Smith
- Stephen Smith website
- Stephen on Instagram – @iamstephensmith
- Mendoza, Argentina
- Olivia Brion
- Peak Spirits
- Jack Rabbit Hill Farm
- White Oak Pastures
- Savory Institute
- Jim Howell podcast
- For the Love of Land: Global Case Studies of Grazing in Nature’s Image by Jim Howell
- Responsible Grazing – The Foundation of a Healthy Ranch Ecosystem by Ed Roberson
- Epic Bar
- Holistic Management
- Overland Journal
- Stephen’s Overland Journal cover shot
- BMW Scrambler
- Sinuhe Xavier
- Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
- Long Way Round
- Long Way Down
- Sycamore Brewing
- Rule of Thirds
- Gov’t Mule