Photographer In Focus: Terence Roberts

Terence Roberts

I only met Terence in November. I first met Terence as part of a gathering of friends for a family birthday celebration in Panama City, Panama. Terence was there as a family member of the birthday boy, as well as charged with the task of documenting the weekend with his camera.

I was able to chat briefly about the photography Terence does, and want to feature him here on the Photographer in Focus.

Thank you Terence for taking time to share with RedDotBlueDot readers!

Five Foto Facts

First camera: Sony Cybershot DSC-H10

Favorite camera: Canon 70D

Photographer who has most inspired you: Greg Noire

Favorite travel destination: Kyushu, Japan

One place left on your travel bucket list: Germany

Photograph by: Terence Roberts

Photograph by: Terence Roberts

The Interview

RDBD: Tell me a little bit about yourself.  What do readers need to know about you to get to know you?  What is your personal, professional, and photography background?

T.R.:  I started taking photos in high school as a way to remember the parties and shenanigans that I was a part of. I’m not the biggest fan of crowds, but having a camera in my hand gave me a job to do and made me feel less anxious. It let me live in the moment and when I needed a break I could take one because I was cameraman. I think the best part of that time was I wasn’t concerned about how my photos looked. As long as it captured what I was pointing at, it didn’t matter how bright or dark the photos were. And, since hardly anyone else took photos, there was nothing to compare them to. 

I probably took the bulk of my photos in my last year of college. I created a travel blog for my year in Japan and I was literally taking pictures of everything. There’s food, random people on the street, products you can find in America - everything. This was also a period when I walked around with two cameras. I had the Cybershot that took decent photos, but I also had a camcorder that took decent HD videos for vlogging purposes. It was a pain walking around with two cameras, but I rarely found myself in a position wanting to only take videos or photos. 

RDBD: What type of photography do you consider your primary genre and why? What does it mean to you?  How did you become focused on this area of photography?

T.R.:  I would consider candid photography to be my genre of choice. Although I will take them, I’ve never really been a fan of posed shots. I feel like they don’t truly represent the moment or story that took place. Initially, this process probably started out with me being annoying. I wanted to catch people off guard, and before I knew how to use a camera, that generally meant I was blinding people with my flash. Later on, I started taking more photos and coming to the realization that some of them looked decent. I would start to take my time and take shots that were farther away so I could get more of people being themselves, and less of them lunging at me with blind eyes.

RDBD: What motivates you as a photographer?  Specifically, why is photography important in your life?  When you are tired of shooting, what gets you out the door anyway?

T.R.:  I take photos for the sake of remembering where I’ve been. We’re bombarded by so many distractions that it can be difficult to remember our own history and growth. Photography gives me a way to take a break and reminisce. When I am tired of shooting, I don’t shoot. There have been times when I’ve gone without taking photos and wished that I had brought my camera, but I’d rather not take a photo than to take one where I’m not present in the moment. I have found, however, that new experiences and old friends make me want to pick up my camera. It’s almost as if the younger me (as if I’m old now) takes over and is unbothered by how they turn out. 

RDBD: Please tell me why you chose the image to submit as your one image.  What meaning does the image have to you?

T.R.: I chose this image because it was the first one that popped in my head. We were celebrating her birthday at the beach and it felt like the photo to top the rest. I don’t think it’s the best photo that I’ve taken, but I like the way this day at the beach came together.

RDBD: In an era where everyone has a smartphone and selfies and micro-blogging daily activities are quickly becoming the norm, why does traditional photography still matter? 

T.R.:  I think photography is what you make it. I had several different responses to this question but I’m going to go with that. I spent many years thinking I had to wait to take great images by buying the software, cameras, lenses, and other equipment of photographers that I admired. Or, I had to try and remember specific camera settings for every type of lighting. But really, it’s all subjective and can be quite unpredictable with what images connect with what people. There are countless times where I was proud of a particular image, while the one I thought was simply ‘ok’, and didn’t edit, received more attention. So, if the front-facing camera is your weapon of choice, and you found a way to connect with an audience that you’re proud of, then so be it. As cameras and the devices that they are embedded in advance, traditions will change. My only hope is that if someone claims that they spotted Bigfoot, they take a selfie with it doing duck face.

RDBD: What is one thing you think I should ask, but haven’t…and what is your answer?

T.R.: What do you hope to see in 2019? John Wick 3

RDBD: Thank you for sharing your thoughts on photography. I really appreciate it. And I also appreciate the great shot you took of Amy and me in Panama City!

RDBD: What photographer would you like to see answer these questions and recommend RDBD contact to be featured?  
Amber Schoniwitz and Charlotte Hu

Contact Terence Roberts:

Twitter: @trobbierob