Q&A with Photographer & Curator Wesley Verhoeve

By: Naomi Matlow

Wesley Verhoeve is a photographer and a curator. He is the co-founder of The Observers, where visionary photographers recommend their favorite photo books. His photography and writing have been published by National Geographic Traveller, Wired, and Bonobos among others. He tells timeless stories that move people, while often on the move himself. We were thrilled to ask him about what living with intention means to him, what helps an image tell a story, and the evolution of his professional journey. 

Name: Wesley Verhoeve

Current Location: San Francisco

Next travel destination: Amsterdam

A current word or intention in your life: Accountability

Recently, where have you found your sense of wonderment? 

Standing on top of Bernal Heights Summit, watching the colors change as the sun set as the city turned into a million blinking lights undulating across the hills. There is something about having a bird’s eye view that can inspire a big ‘wow’ feeling for me. 

What’s something you try to do every day to help you show up to the world as best as you can?

At the moment it’s to get outside of my own head and be more aware of what is going on around me. To be more thoughtful and intentional about how I spend my time, rather than letting work drive all that occupies my schedule and mind.

What is the best way to ensure you are telling a story through your photography?

Focusing on evoking emotion vs. technical perfection. When you look at some of the most classic photo books, you’ll notice that not every image is perfectly in focus or ideally exposed, but the emotion in the images still hits hard. It’s also important to ensure that you are deeply interested in what you are shooting, rather than shooting something because you think others will be interested in it.

Can you tell us a little bit about your past professional lives? Did they lead you to where and who you are today?

In my most recent past professional life I worked in the music business for about a decade in a variety of roles. I produced albums, wrote songs, ran a record label, managed artists and promoted concerts. I learned a lot about myself and about working with others, and I carried those lessons into my current work. I wouldn’t say this past work necessarily led to my current work, but I was able to transfer many of my experiences and lessons learned even though the field I work in now is quite different.

What’s your dream workspace look like? 

For the moment my dream work space is a street with interesting and open minded people who I can talk to and photograph. In the future I’d love to have a photo studio that I share with another photographer, where I can also host workshops and create an inspiring environment for learning and building community around photography in the way that we are doing online with The Observers (www.theobservers.co).

Follow along with Wesley’s work at @wesley.

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