English major, Photographer, and Entrepreneur, Wesley Harden is taking success and making it his own. Growing up in sunny California where the sunsets are stunning, Wesley tells us about his initial inspiration for photography and his reason why he chose to major in English. We learn of his interest in literature, entertainment, and his biggest inspirations in the photography world. PLUS a look at the three books on the top of Wesley Hardens favorites list. Beyond motivated, Wesley Harden gets deep in this interview, to inspire and motivate his audience, to push through any circumstance or situation to achieve their goals and realize their dreams.
I’ve found that the best place to start, is at the beginning. Which came first for you, your love of English, or photography?
- English! I fell in love with photography in 2014, but since second grade I told myself, “I want to teach English.” I had this really great English teacher, back in elementary school, her name was Mrs. Van. She’s really sweet, and she’s great at what she does, and she taught me so much.
- I want to literally be this person who can teach someone else the thing that they love, and for me, at that point, was English.
How did you know that you wanted to teach English and not Elementary school?
- In third grade, when I was learning cursive, there are just all of these like structures, letters, learning and reading, and everyday I would go to the library and pick up, like the biggest book, and just challenge myself to read it through the week and just go for it.
- For me, I love storytelling. I love everything about it. I love writing stories. I would literally keep a journal every day since, like, Kindergarten. Everyday, I would walk into class and be like what am I doing, what’s going on? Just write, just spill my brains out onto the page.
- But the thing about that is for me, I learned later on when I went to high school, is I didn’t want to just tell stories through writing, as I wanted to tell stories through photography. I wanted to, literally, since the day I picked up the camera I knew one day I wanted a person behind this.
So everything seems to keep coming back to photography for you, did you have any inspirations that kept you interested in photography?
- Henry Tieu, he’s my favorite photographer, and he’s just really good at what he does. His work is so powerful and it’s like the epitome of what I want to be.
- He’s my inspiration for everything. I have more inspiration, like I have people that truly inspire me. If there’s one person in this planet that does, photography wise, that… is Henry Tieu.
- I went into photography never knowing what I was doing or having a reason to go into it. I had these incredible sunsets off my back deck, and that’s how I began, I picked up my ipad and every single night I would take a picture.
Your ipad? Can you tell us about how you transitioned from an ipad to the equipment that you use today?
- Eventually I moved onto my iphone 4. My very first camera, her name was Nicky.
Was it a Nikon?
- Yea, it was a Nikon. I name all my cameras. Not everything, but my main pieces, the heart and soul of what it is. I mean I’m the heart and soul, but I mean it’s…. It’s like an extension of me at all times, it is. Nicky, once the strap was on, I grabbed it and was out the door. We had this huge hill behind our house, at that time it was February… It was blooming, stuff was starting to come to life and we had these amazing sunsets, we always do. I was out there just shooting for hours, random pictures, the lens wasn’t working great because I was just, like, I didn’t know how to use it great, it was just stuck on manual, and I was like, what am I doing? But I loved it, and like, I looked at the pictures, I pulled them up on my computer, like later, they were still in JPEG, so I was shooting in JPEG, but I pulled them up and I was like, these are the clearest pictures I have ever seen. Because I went from like this grainy photo that I got on my ipad, like scribble, like color, do all these weird things that were just terrible and awful… but I was learning… I was like, I’m here, how can I do better?
- So I literally spent like, probably a good two and a half years, on youtube, just educating myself, just trying to learn, just trying to learn like…
Taking it to the next level.
Speaking of anything, lets take a step back to literature for just a second. Photography is a form of storytelling, which is why it sparks your interest as far as your love of English is concerned, so I assume you’ve got some favorite reads? If you could choose your top three favorite books, what would they be?
by Elizabeth Gilbert
“(This book is) really what started me on photography, like wanting to explore not only photography, but also art.”
“(This) book is the reason why I decided to jump on adventures in photography and be more myself. I stopped questioning and started acting on more opportunities.”
by Shane Dawson
“(This) book is the comedic relief that I love to read about that, no so much distracts me from being serious, but reminds me that I don’t have to always be so serious and that we all love to let our guards down once in awhile.”
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