Blog > Centre for arts & Technology Award Winning Guest Reuben Krabbe

Centre for arts & Technology Award Winning Guest Reuben Krabbe


digital photography
Award-winning sports photographer Reuben Krabbe dropped by CAT this term to talk about his award-winning film ‘Eclipse’ (Best Snow Film, 2015 Banff Film Festival) and chat with InterFACE about all things photography.

What made you originally want to become a photographer? And a sports photographer in particular?

I got into photography because it was a creative way to interact with the sports I already was doing with my friends. After shooting a couple of frames we started to realize one photo was better than another, and that progressed until it became an expensive hobby and a real passion.

Did you do any formal training in photography?
I did a one year certificate in photography at the Western Academy of Photography in Victoria BC.

What is it about a particular photograph that makes you think that you have really done what you set out to do?
Some times it’s the moment when I have the picture almost exactly as envisioned, but often I’ll be aiming for one idea and run into new inspirations on the day of the shoot. When that happens I just run with the ideas!

What makes a photo stand out in your mind?
Photography is communication, so, when a photograph communicates something new I stop and look, or, when it communicates the same thing in an entirely new way, that is exciting.
Was it difficult to become a working photographer? What did your journey to professional look like?
Yes, it’s a lot more complex and difficult than putting on a uniform at a factory and simply getting a monthly cheque. But, it’s entirely worth it for me. I enjoy working hard, I enjoy the creativity of business strategy. I did a couple of extra business courses and then moved into a van to save costs and get closer to Whistler where I wanted to live. Then I spent effort on my passion for sports photography, and a ‘cash cow’ of shooting architecture photography which was easier to step into.

How did the ‘Eclipse’ project come about?
The idea evolved from a photograph I saw by Grant Gunderson of a skier under stars, and I thought ‘this could be done with Northern Lights’. After shooting the ski photography ‘Aurora’ I then wanted to see if a solar eclipse could be a thing to photograph. Salomon Skis liked the idea because it was risky, and, the rest is history!

How has your win at the Banff Film Festival affected you both personally and professionally?
Eclipse and the win at Banff really made me feel proud, but, it also made me wonder if I could ever create anything else that would make an impact? Was I a one-hit-wonder? I came to the realization that I should simply feel lucky to have an experience of that magnitude and to go back to simply expressing creativity the best I could. If I did that, I couldn’t lose. Eclipse has won me some better networking and therefore work too. So, as a marketing effort, it could be successful in itself.

What is the best thing about being a professional photographer?
Getting invited into people’s lives. Through both editorial, or commercial work you often get special access to locations, or also to people’s life stories. Without my role as a photographer, I wouldn’t get the excuse to ask people about their life stories.

What is the most challenging thing about being a professional photographer?
Maintaining cash flow, re-inventing yourself, self-doubt, managing human relationships around a chaotic schedule. There’s a lot that isn’t sweet about it, but, when managed well, it works out.
What advice would you give to photography students and recent graduates?
Repeat positive thoughts in your head about what you’re doing and where you’re going. Choose that thing, and keep telling yourself and others where it is that you’re going. If you do that well, you increase your odds.

What’s one piece of advice do you wish someone had given you when you were starting out?
Buy good insurance, be frugal and strategic until you get the ball rolling

What’s left on your photographic bucket list?
I have started working on an idea for a story about the age of action sport as a new phase in human history; but, it’s hard finding if there’s a ‘right’ place for that story. I also want to live in an off-the-grid cabin for a year somewhere… hah!