Catherine Couturier Gallery is pleased to share gallery artist Mitch Dobrowner's recent interview with the Phoblographer. Click here to view the full article.
Learn Why Mitch Dobrowner Sees Extreme Weather Better in Monochrome
August 28, 2021
Monsoon, Lordsburg, New Mexico, 2010
The storms and landscapes here on earth deserve our respect and admiration”, says California based landscape photographer Mitch Dobrowner. Having been gifted an Argus rangefinder in his late teens by his father, he was inspired by some of America’s legendary photographers. At 21, he quit his job to explore the Southwest of the USA with his camera. Since 2005, he’s been touring the country to capture some extreme weather phenomena.
As I write this article, my brother has been unable to fly out of the USA due to the impact of Hurricane Henri. Some of the images and videos he sends to me (while in the safety of his home) are alarming. Luckily, the town on the east coast that he’s in isn’t facing the full impact of the hurricane. Nevertheless, the rains that are battering down in his vicinity are quite unlike anything he’s experienced before. Yet none of those scenes that he’s shared with me come close to the ones that Mitch has photographed over the years. While he doesn’t like to be bracketed as a storm photographer alone, his images of storms are striking, to say the least.
Mammatus, Bolton, Kansas, 2016
The Phoblographer: Hi Mitch. Please tell us about yourself and how you got into photography.
Mitch Dobrowner: The first time I picked up a camera, I was 17; I quickly became addicted. As I was searching for who I was and what photography was all about, I eventually stumbled onto the images of both Ansel Adams and Minor White. They were the ones that inspired me in my late teens. I had never been exposed to photographic images such as theirs before then. The first time I saw their work, I was floored. It was at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. It may sound a bit cliche, but the images left a major mark on my life. Their work was mind-boggling to me.
Ansel was all about light, composition, making order out of disorder, being in touch with the environment while addressing all the technical aspects of photography. Ansel’s books The Camera, The Print and The Negative became my bibles. And even today, when I look at a great Ansel Adams print or book, my world turns upside down. I owe much to these great photographers of the past, especially Ansel Adams, for their dedication to the craft. Their dedication, determination, craftsmanship, and vision still inspire me. Though I have never met them, they helped me determine the course my life would take.
The Phoblographer: Would you call yourself a storm chaser? How thrilling is it to look up and chase storms for that perfect image?
Mitch Dobrowner: No, besides, I don’t like to put things in boxes. I’m just a landscape photographer. For my Storm project, I work with a gentleman, friend and soulmate named Roger Hill. Roger is the most experienced storm chaser on the planet. Over the past 12 years, I’ve traveled over 200,000 miles with Roger and his tour teams. He knows me, knows what I’m looking for, and that just allows me to be myself. Watching Mother Nature in some of her finest moments has been a truly surreal experience.
Arm of God, 2009
The Phoblographer: Of course there’s also a great deal of danger involved. Bravado can’t always save someone, so what safety measures do you employ to ensure you’re safe outdoors? When does fear kick in on location (if at all)?
Mitch Dobrowner: I think this is an important question, only because I’d like to change that narrative a bit. I don’t think making a spectacle of what it takes to create the images is important. What’s important are the images themselves. Photography is my personal art form, and the images speak more about me and the subject matter than I can ever describe in words. The pictures truly do evoke what I feel on the inside about our planet. The storms and landscapes here on earth deserve our respect and admiration. This is what I feel as I stand in front of them; their stature and prominence overwhelm and amaze me.
I’m just trying to capture them in a manner that does justice to them. Telling the story about how they were captured as “dramatic and scary” can de-emphasize what the images are really about. I know people want to hear how dangerous it can be, but the truth is, this is something that I love doing. The images themselves evoke what I’m trying to say. But to answer your question, honestly, the only thing that scares me when I’m out photographing storm systems is seeing a wild mouse in the fields. I hate rodents… they scare the hell out of me.
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To view works by Mitch Dobrowner, please visit his artist page.