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Selective Focus: Dudley Edmondson

Dudley Edmondson is a photographer, videographer, writer, and a proponent of the great outdoors. This week in Selective Focus, he talks about what drives him to dig into a project, and some of the special projects he has worked on.

DE: I like to think of myself as working in many mediums from video, still imagery, written and spoken word. Media is my medium. I have always been a visual learner though. It’s very obvious to me that my brain translates a lot of things I hear or read into images for me to be able to fully understand and comprehend. I particularly like good writers (Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut) who can create visuals in my brain with their writing style. Unfortunately I don’t think I have that gift yet but I am always working on it.

Great grey owl

I’ve been a photographer/videographer for over 25 years. It’s pretty easy to see why I chose that medium considering the way my brain works. It’s been fun to travel the country and work with clients across the globe. About 10 years ago I began doing a lot of public speaking across the country behind one of the books I wrote that’s aimed at engaging African Americans in the out of doors and getting them a seat at the table of America’s “conservation, conversation.” It did really well with federal agencies and even got me an invite to the White House to witness then-President Obama sign the “Great America Outdoors Initiative.” Speaking with people helped me to really understand the importance of verbally communicating ideas.

Black mountaineer

The biggest challenge comes not from the medium itself but the lifestyle of being a freelancer. I’ve certainly had a long run but every week I find myself hustling, looking for new ideas and clients in order to make a living. The rewards are the work itself. When I get a new gig the creative process brings me to life. I become fully engaged, big buzz, it’s like hooking my brain to a car battery. Creativity is very crucial to me. If I could not create I think I would die of boredom. Another challenge is finding collaborators. Duluth has plenty of creatives but most seem to be doing their own thing and not really looking for partners.

Badlands National Park

I’m working on a slow moving but important local documentary film. We are bringing in some new people to help out and hopefully that will get it back up and moving. I’m also experimenting with some new technology. I’ve shot with pro level gear my entire career and still do today. Recently I purchased an 12.9-inch iPad pro and software for both editing video and still images on the iPad. As I said I love to create and frequently welcome challenges to break up boredom. Shooting and editing on my phone and tablet and then storing things in the cloud is certainly all of that. It’s very convenient to take one tool into the field and be able use it to start and finish a project. I’m so used to hauling around bags and bags of gear and setting up and breaking down, taking it home uploading it to massive storage drive and editing on a powerful desktop … blah … blah … blah. With this stuff it’s just compose, shoot, edit all on one device. That’s what’s drawing me to it, the simplicity. The challenge is getting professional quality results. It ain’t easy but it’s fun to keep trying and experimenting.

Canyonlands National Park

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