Inside Buford T. Porcupine

Todd Katke (a.k.a. Buford T. Porcupine) took a few moments recently to answer some questions that I thought might be interesting to share with you. Though busily pursuing photographs of the elusive moose and capturing photos from the Iditarod, Todd sent me these answers.

Question # 1 - When did you first discover that you had an interest in wildlife photography?

"I first became interested in wildlife/nature back in early 1983."

Question # 2 - What kind of formal training have you had in photography?

"My formal training comes from The Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale Florida, though for a commercial end of photography it helped me a lot in understanding photography and building my foundation and love for it. What I was able to see through the lens and let the creative side e of me flow. After that school I continued to be self taught increasing my knowledge love for my photography. Through many natural guide books , other peoples photography wildlife books. To continuing educating myself through 1 day seminars and other related classes, reading everything I could get my hands on to further my knowledge."

Question # 3 - What has been the most rewarding aspect of your career, so far, as a professional wildlife photographer?

"My most rewarding moment in my career? Being a NANPA MEMBER: North American Nature Photography Association, we promote Mentoring. I myself mentored to a young high school boy who at the time didn't even own a camera. Mentoring you offer your time and talent and teach others who might share the interest and passion in photography. My student, Ryan White, was with me for about 4 years. In that time together, he would come and stay at our house and we would go out and work together on his growing vision, creating developing his eye. Educating him in the studio through slide presentations and examples of some of my work. It also won a scholarship I voted him in for, and received it. We have also done some extensive traveling through out the U.S. together. And as a result he is now currently pursuing his education in college into a career of Photography. The greatest gift is giving back to the youth."

Question # 4 - Whom would you say has been your source of inspiration in this field? Who would you say has been your mentor?

"My greatest inspiration: Carl Sams. My mentors , there has been many. People like : Art Wolfe, Rod Planck, John Shaw, and the list goes on. Most of whom I ve all meet and had the privilege of talking to personal and meeting with every year at NANPA conventions ."

Question # 5 - What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

"Greatest advice for someone just starting out? Don't let anyone steal your dream! It will require a lot of time and effort. Discipline yourself, educate yourself through natural history guide books. Photo guide books. Pursue education through college, and photography courses. Continue to read in areas that interest you , and watch yourself grow."

Thanks Todd. I am honored to be able to share your thoughts and art with the readers of this page. Thanks also for letting me play some part in presenting the beautiful wildlife photos and for our thirty years of friendship.


Blogger HerWryness said...

Wondering what goes on behind the camera doesn't only refer to television and the movies. I have always wondered about the person who takes the 'stops me in my tracks' photos. Kudos to both Todd and Dave for this great interview.

I love that you aren't all about National Geo. You are all about real people and real animals. One doesn't see only an interesting animal in your photos. It's impossible to miss that glimpse of your heart. ;)

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does Buford do in his spare time?
-- a curious friend from the past

6:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your work is fantastic! Congratulations on your success! I'm very happy for you.
-- friend from the past again

6:58 AM  
Blogger Buford said...

What does Buford do in his spare time? Umm up here with so much daylight? Well on my off days which only consist of the grey rain days , read old as well up to date outdoor photography magazines. look at nature books, try to stay up on the lateist and greatist in the photography world.
look at my alaska gazetter and plan where I am going next. Edit slides, sometimes having to go back and reshoot a scenic, for the mood I am looking for. Chasing the light. Walk in the rain and dream of a better day to come. Think about what I ve got to do tomarrow , next week , amonth from now when all the fall colors are here. Reading up on the moose and its habitat. And what I do alot of is scouting. Constantly looking through my binoculars out in the field . knowing when to be out in the field and where. I ve relly gotton into the hiking up here. Especially up some of the mountains I ve hiked. The view is just incredible. It makes you realize how small and insignificant you are in the world. Lord knows if I ever get lost on one of thes mountains sides, it will be like looking for a tick . But still the view is worth it in the end.

So keep your nose to the wind and your eyes to the horizon, watch your top notch! Buford

9:29 PM  
Blogger Buford said...

To: herwryness, First to be a National Geo. Photographer , you got to be in the top 10 in the world. Oh yes that would be a dream of mine. But I consider myself just a regular guy who has believed in his dream and stuck with it. My passion in life. I consider myself a Disciple of the nature/wildlife out there I ve been privilidged to photograph. With my whackie sense of humor , days I wonder if I am not Dr. Dolittle and talking to the animals I am photographing. To be able to look into there eyes, capture a certain look on there face, let them be and just watch, well its lifes rewards that you are blessed with in the end that you share with the rest of the world. Opportunities others dont ever get .

Thank you for your interest and support. Buford T. Porcupine

9:46 PM  

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