Christine Crosby in NANPA’s Expressions
An Introduction to NE Explorer Christine Crosby
If you’ve ever been on an NE adventure, chances are you’ve probably met Explorer Christine Crosby. And if you haven’t, you should! Aside from being an accomplished photographer who loves travel, photography, and animals, Christine is easygoing, always has a smile on her face, and provides tons of inspiration to those around her.
She has a special place in her heart for dogs and is the proud owner of seven labs—one of who just had an adorable litter of puppies—and a rescue mixed breed she adopted during a recent trip to Costa Rica! Christine has a zest for life and knows how to have fun, which you can probably guess by the streak of purple that now flows through her hair 🙂 She’s traveled with Dan and Tanya to multiple destinations, photographing in Costa Rica, Patagonia, Kenya, Alaska, the Pantanal, and Svalbard, just to name a few.
Today we’ll go behind the scenes with Christine and learn more about one of her passions in life, one which many of you reading this blog likely share with her—photography.
But first and foremost, an elephantine 🙂 congratulations from the NE family to you, Christine, for your two images being selected for publication in NANPA’s Expressions 2017, an annual journal showcasing the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s yearly Showcase competition.
NANPA’s Showcase winners are handpicked from thousands of submissions by highly regarded industry professionals, which this year included George Lepp, Marc Muench, and Alison Jones. Type ‘Crosby’ in the keywords box on NANPA Showcase 2017 to view Christine’s photos appearing in this year’s issue. If you’re a NANPA member, you can view the digital version of Expressions when you sign in and click ‘Expressions Magazine’ in the member menu area. And be sure to check out Expressions 2016, because you will find more of Christine’s photos in that edition too!
Behind the Scenes with Christine Crosby
What sparked your interest in photography? How long have you been taking pictures?
As a kid my dad had his own darkroom in our house and was into macro photography of flowers. I got to help in the darkroom to develop his film/negatives, and the magic of watching the images appear onto paper in the trays of developer was mesmerizing. For an elementary school science fair project, he helped me make a pinhole camera, and I was then hooked on creating my own images.
In high school and undergrad college my late stepdad, who was an esteemed marine biologist and conservationist, took me on many of his marine mammal censuses/projects around the world, and my fascination with documenting wildlife in their natural habitats was deepened. However, during my B.A. in fine arts and subsequent M.A. in Art Therapy, I wanted to do something different from any of my parents, so I primarily used photography as a jumping off point for my pastels and paintings, mixed media collage and printmaking.
In 2011, I met Dan and Tanya and traveled with them to the rainforests of Costa Rica. It was here that my passion for photography as a form in its own right was rekindled … especially doing macro night photography capturing red-eyed tree frogs, giant spiders and other such small subjects by light of our headlamps and flashes with Dan. Prior to that trip, I’d never had an interest in birds before, but the colors and the excitement of trying to capture gorgeous scarlet macaws, and especially tiny hummingbirds in flight, was exhilarating (if not a little frustrating) and I craved more!
Not long after, I was involved in a serious car accident in which I sustained a Traumatic Head Injury. At the time, I was already signed up to go to Kenya with Dan and Tanya a few months later. With a TON of help, from D & T and my dear friend Jeanne and all the amazing guides, along with the blessing of my neurologist, a neck and back brace and a ton of pain meds, I headed off with camera in tow for my favorite place on the planet (Kenya) to capture some images. I had no idea then that my world was about to be transformed in ways I couldn’t yet fathom through the power of photography. That trip and those images began a process of healing, of making images that helped create a bridge for me in ways I’m still trying to articulate. Through the camera lens my world opened back up and my life took a path I hadn’t quite expected, but for which I’m forever and deeply grateful! The abilities and person that I was before the accident that were “lost” because of it, have been transformed into a vocation and creative outlet, a tool for communicating and sharing with the world that I now whole-heartedly and passionately embrace.
Through “rediscovering” photography, I have found my true and authentic voice. The opportunity to travel and share my images is such an incredible gift, and it has become a way to continue to honor my late stepdad’s life’s work in conservation in my own way as well. I’m forever grateful to Dan for helping to give me the foundation and tools for manifesting my creative vision through my photographic images these past 8 years (and to Tanya for continuing to create amazing photographic opportunities to be inspired around the world!).
What type of camera do you shoot with?
I shoot with both Nikon and Panasonic micro 4/3.
What is your favorite subject to photograph and why?
I really love ALL animals, especially baby mammals!!! I’m especially enamored with big cats and African wildlife, bears, and dogs (domestic and wild).
I’ve loved animals my entire life and dogs have always been a part of it so that’s a natural subject for me. I’m a professional pet photographer now, as well.
In second grade I did a book report on Jane Goodall and she immediately became my absolute hero!!! From then on I had dreams of and a passion for ALL things Africa!
As for bears, there’s just a deep sense of spiritual connection there that’s hard to put into words. To be in such close proximity to these magnificent and powerful beings is truly humbling and to have the opportunity to capture intimate glimpses and detailed portraits of them is something that I can’t imagine ever being anything but exciting for me! Capturing birds in flight is also a favorite subject!!
Where is your favorite location for photography?
Africa for sure, and most especially Kenya! In the US, it would have to be Alaska.
Who are some of your favorite photographers/influencers, past or present?
Having a mom who was a fine artist and a dad and stepdad interested in photography, I was exposed to a wide range of influences throughout my growing up. When I was younger, I was really into the black and white images of Ansel Adams, Dorthea Lange, Eisenstaedt, Maplethorpe . . . I loved their command of light, though I probably couldn’t articulate that specifically at the time. I was just really drawn to their images.
Contemporary photographers that I admire are obviously Daniel J. Cox, as well as Kaylee Greer, Charlotte Reeves, Elena Shumilova, Mike Putnam, Aaron Baggenstos, Sam Haddix, David Yarrow, Seth Casteel, Scott Robert Lim, among others.
What makes a photograph interesting to you?
Use of light, negative space, richness of texture and patterns, vibrancy of colors, telling a story, strong composition, most importantly for me … evoking emotion.
What is the most challenging aspect of taking a good photograph?
Putting all the technical, compositional and emotive elements together thoughtfully and skillfully in that one fleeting moment in time
Aside from your recent publication in NANPA’s 2017 Expressions magazine, what other publications/recognition have you received for your photographs?
NANPA 2016 Expressions magazine, Nature’s Best/Yellowstone Forever Top 100, various Awards of Merit and Top Ten recognitions in juried photography contests.
Any subject/place you would like to photograph that you have not had a chance to yet?
Mountain gorillas in Rwanda, orangutans in Borneo, wolves, snowy owls, lemurs in Madagascar, wild chimpanzees, pumas in Patagonia, tigers, African wild dogs (I’ve seen a few but would LOVE to spend more time with them!)
A special thanks to Christine for taking part in this blog interview. It’s always fun to learn more about and hear the successes of a fellow Explorer 🙂 For more on photography, art, dogs, and jewelry, visit Christine’s profile on the NE Explorer page and her personal website, Sunlight Inspirations.