Fatali Shares Photography
I am often asked, “How did you get into photography?” My answer goes beyond the how-tos of technical execution of f-stops and shutter speeds. Instead, by speaking from the heart of what really matters to me, I choose to share my personal story of what shaped my passion and mission.
As a visual person with a deep love for nature, using a camera to view the world was such a natural fit, and a great tool to express myself. My fascination for discovery, along with appreciation for the awe within the natural world, began early in my childhood. These roots grew from many inspirational walks in the desert with my father. Memories I will cherish forever.
When I was teenager, I went through a spiritual crash and awakening after my mother’s defeat of an ugly cancer. Along with my two brothers, and our father, we cried for hours the day she left us. After that day, we went into protection mode and shut down all verbal expressions of our loss. It’s still hard for me to believe that there was not even one word spoken of her for many years thereafter. It was challenging enough being a teenager, but losing my mother really put me in a spiraling sense of being lost, with endless feelings of emotional aches that could not be easily shaken.
My only refuge, or solace, was going back to walking in the desert—this time alone. I was deeply drawn to the canyonland regions of deep natural carved abysses within the rocks. I would repel hundreds of feet into the deep and dark sandstone canyons as they became my places of sanctuary. It was like being in womb of mother earth.
Years of alone time in nature, in solitude, and stillness, were the journeys to my healing and the catalyst to my mission for sharing Earthscapes. In a twist of fate, my focus turned towards the purpose of sharing with others this ancient healing energy and the beauty found in the canvas of our natural world.
At eighteen, I received two checks from social security when my mother passed, both $450 dollars each. Not much money, but it was the start to fund the beginning of my purpose. I purchased a manual film camera with the first check and an old school darkroom with the other.
I have found the darkroom to be 50% of my vision to making exquisite photographs. My devotion to this vision extended to living in my darkroom for almost three years before I could afford a two-bedroom apartment. The art of making images, particularly large ones, quickly became my obsession.
My recognition of the power of presentation for capturing even the smallest details was born. To not just see the images, but also to really feel them has always been my goal.
Having these tools helped me keep focused and turn those aches into earthly- naturopathic therapy. I did not have any counselors, mentors, or any organized religion to fall back on during my grieving. The only place that really drew me inward was escaping into the wild and getting lost in its majesty, in hopes of finding myself, or something that would shed light and truth on whatever I was seeking.
A journey of healing, being raw and vulnerable, was exactly a part of that process. I understand grieving and I know how surreal that can feel. Lost, confused, scared, hurt, angry, and numb is the ocean you must first swim though to feel your feet planted once again on our soil. Trust me when I say, those left behind are not without a life vest. Spirit is all around us, and is the source we return to for reunion in infinite spaces of loving light. I came to this realization during those many healing journeys in nature. Whether your spirit is still here, or housed within a complex bodyscape, meshed with flesh and bones—the life lived in genuineness, kindness, and compassion is the life of serving, and the life of living.
Photography has been a great way to express this love affair with nature. For me, it’s merely a tool to see the world in a self-discovering way, and to share nature’s phenomenon. My passion is not photography—it is for creation and the spirit of nature of which connects us all that inspires me.
I always giggle at how so many people are stunned at how much time I will wait for light, and the patience it takes to find that perfect light, sometimes hours or weeks. I often get asked, “What do you do when you’re waiting?” Geez, I get to marvel at light and creation all around me, it’s not that difficult for me. I love it! Light is my subject, and the study of it defines that relationship. This is the first step towards making my images successful and meaningful.
I continue to seek and innovate new tools that can bring us all closer to the spirit of nature. My latest acquisition is using the power of motion pictures to create an experience that can lift the spirit and inspire us to another level. I have formed an independent Imax style production company, in 70mm film, to be my next artistic tool of choice.
I have been blessed with two wonderful sons enabling me to pass the torch of discovering nature’s hidden treasures, as well as to teach a life of service. Morgan, my lovely wife, mission partner, and best friend has been a huge factor in supporting my creative pursuits. Continually motivating me to raise the bar, as well as stay connected to a way of life with the natural world, she is an inspiration and a wonderful example of a life of serving and living.
I share with you a personal view of my journey, in part because I have an enormous amount of passion to express, and also to expand your mind and heart to look at our extraordinary world in a new light of beauty and wonder. I believe our generation is yearning for a better life in harmony with our planet and the natural resources we need to survive. It has been thirty years since my first solo trek into the wild capturing images of the spirit of nature. The glorious moments I have been graced to witness are the blessings I get to share with you, and that comes with hope that they will become footprints of inspiration left as our legacy.
I welcome you, and invite you to look beyond the details, and feel the spirit that is within them, so we are reminded of all the wonderful gifts we all have from this marvelous earth we call our home, and that the journey we are all on with spirit will never end.
In celebration of light, land, and spirit,