When I had first come across the work of Dylan Furst, I did not understand the hype around it. I cannot remember exactly when this was – whether I was creating landscape photography or still in my portrait phase – but I know that I was not particularly a fan of his editing style. However, as I had revisited his page some time later, I quickly fell in love with it. Much like the work of David Brookover, sometimes one must revisit art multiple times before understanding, and therefore falling in love, with it.
For those unfamiliar with the work of Dylan, he is an outdoor photographer born and raised in Bellingham, Washington within the Pacific Northwest. After having worked for UPS as a preloader for 3.5 years, he decided to take the leap into full-time photography, as many of us wish to do but often cannot find the courage. Over the years, Dylan has developed a rather massive following of roughly 1.2 million on Instagram, under the moniker @Fursty.
So, you can imagine my utter surprise when he had agreed to an interview for such a small blog as mine. Nonetheless, I was honored to have the privilege. Without further ado, I present to you my interview with Dylan Furst.
How has your style evolved over the years
I used to shoot a lot more street, but looking back It hasn’t changed all that much. I edit similarly and enjoy shooting similar subjects, I think I just refined my craft and niche a little more.
Can you take us through your editing process
I like to treat the image almost like a painting. I like to start with a darker exposure and use brushes to bring out certain areas. I love the darker tones, so it’s something I try to build around. It can get pretty technical, but I stay in Lightroom with everything!
What is it like knowing millions see your work/follow you
It’s pretty crazy to think about sometimes, but I try not to look at it from a numbers perspective. It’s great having an audience but it feels natural since it’s built around my work. I have the same feeling now as when I had 1000 followers.
Do you have any advice for those starting out with outdoor/landscape photography
My first advice would be to just get outside and do it. Get out as much as you can and photograph different things. After a while you’ll figure out what you really love to shoot and it’ll allow you to build your own style. Never shoot something because it’s popular at the time.
Do you have plans of running any workshops
I have taught two week long photography workshops in Iceland. I also plan to start doing some local workshops here in my hometown of Bellingham.
How do you stay inspired
I stay inspired by balancing my work shoots with passion shoots. I already have a passion for taking photos, which is why I started. Now it’s just a matter of keeping that passion alive while keeping it my career. Doing more video has also kept things interesting. I also want to get back into making music, that was an early passion of mine and it would feel great to mix that into my life again.
How do you recommend getting noticed
Stay active and consistent on social media, but don’t take photos for the sake of getting noticed. It really always comes back down to the work you put out, try to be different.
How do you find work as an outdoor photographer
If you stand out within your niche, the work will often find you. Everyone is a photographer these days, so you have to be different. Stay consistent and active on social media, post work you’re proud of, build connections and relationships. Stay persistent.
When did you know it was a possibility to make a living doing this
I was approached by a company who wanted me to contribute a blog and photos each month, they found me on Tumblr. That company was Nature Valley, a pretty big company for my first client. It just kind of happened, I never intended to make money doing this.
Tell us a story of your favorite adventure so far
It’s hard to really say what my favorite adventure was, but I really enjoyed my time in Colombia. I went with no plans whatsoever and the goal of getting out of my comfort zone. It was also my first trip not related to work in a while, so it was a vacation for me. It was a pretty crazy week, between getting robbed by my Uber driver and getting drugs planted on me. I have some crazy stories and special images from that trip. I always try to look back on things as a positive (learning) experience despite the circumstances.
How do you deal with the negativity (both personal and from others)
I look at it all from a perspective standpoint. I can get in my head sometimes, but I always have to be grateful for what I have and for what I have done. If someone is negative towards me or my work I never take it personal, it just means I’m doing something right. If your work could actually make someone mad, it’s almost a compliment as an artist. You can’t please everyone and other people's opinions will never matter in the end. Just let the negativity fuel your fire.
You’re very responsive to comments and messages – how do you keep up with it all
It’s difficult. Having all sorts of different platforms and ways of communicating, it can get a little overwhelming at times. I very much appreciate all the comments and compliments I receive and I wish I could respond to each and every one.
What goals do you have for 2018
My 2018 goals are to launch a company I have been working on. Sort of a production company and lifestyle brand called Raincamp.
What is an average day like for Dylan Furst
It all starts with coffee of course; it’s very necessary for me in the morning. I start with looking at my most important obligations and where I can fit them within the day. I don’t follow a strict schedule, but if I’m caught up on my computer work that almost always means I’m going to be out shooting.
What message do you want to send with your photographs
I want my photos to speak to certain moods and feelings, the viewers can perceive it how they want. I like to make story out of simplicity; I think many times the little things hold the most emotion and I try to show that through my work.