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Meet Tony Wodarck

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tony Wodarck.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
My senior year of high school I took a photography course as my elective. My dad let me use his
Canon AE-1 he bought in the early 80s. The class was taught entirely on film. We processed our own negatives, developed photos in the darkroom and shot manually on film SLRs, it was that weird time in 2001 where digital cameras were becoming popular but people still used film cameras. It was the beginning to my passion as a photographer. From there, my parents bought me a digital camera as a graduation gift.

I ended up using both of those cameras to shoot mainly travel photojournalistic photos through countries all over the world. I went on Semester at Sea in college and was able to circumnavigate the globe in 100 days visiting 11 countries (Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Brazil, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Myanmar (Burma), Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Japan) along the way. That kicked off my travel bug. I was the design editor for a 124-page coffee table book of the student’s photography. It was awesome to get to choose the best photos from the trip and tell a complete story of our adventure. My traveling continued after college. I’ve gotten to go to Italy, France, Indonesia, Mexico, Canada Australia, Nicaragua, Maui & Oahu, Spain, Netherlands, and Panama.

I landed at my dream job out of college working on the marketing team for the surf brand Hurley. My photography took a bit of a back seat. I’ve been at Hurley just over 10 years now and am the Digital Marketing Director. It’s an awesome place to work.

Three years ago, I started selling coworkers surfboards on Craigslist. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of boards here to sell. I ended up selling $10K in boards in 2016. I took that money and finally invested in some professional camera equipment. As soon as I got my camera, my friends and family started asking for photos. I never really shot portraits before so it was a fun learning experience. A few months in I second shot a wedding with my wife and I’s wedding photographer. I learned so much about timelines, how to direct, how to control the day, etc. From there I started taking inquiries for weddings and the rest is history. I opened up my business “Tony Wodarck Photography” and quickly booked out the past 2 years. I still work full-time at Hurley so I need to balance it all out, and I have a wife (Sammy), and two kids (Sicily 2, Roman 4 months old).

In my free time (kinda a joke) I love mentoring other photographers. From the start of beginning my business I’ve had so many people help me. I found a group called the Rising Tide Society group and their belief of community over competition. It’s something I totally believe in and try to pay forward. I do one on one mentoring with other photographers teaching them about film, posing, running a business, etc. I share educational articles on my site for photographers and do weekly live Insta interviews with other photogs to help share our knowledge. That was not brief. Sorry. Hahaha.

Please tell us about your art.
Like I mentioned my passion began through travel photojournalism. Going to cool new places and trying to capture the essence of the place. The adventure and story of the trip through photos. I want each photo to make you feel something or help better tell the story. My inspiration comes from Nat Geo, other photographers (India Earl, The Hearnes, Danielle Bohane, Melissa Rey, Nicole Mason, Christian of 1924, Laurken Kendall, Jordan Voth, really too many people to all name. I just go on Instagram and find constant inspiration.

I hope people take away some sort of feeling from my photo. I focus mainly on wedding photography now. I try to capture the day like I would a new place I travel. What’s the vibe of the place, candid moments, interactions between the family, and the bride and groom and their natural love.

For my art, I’ve been trying to go back to my roots and shoot a hybrid of film and digital. I’m still using my dad’s Canon AE-1!!! I want people to see their galleries and go “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe you caught that moment”.

We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
DM people who inspire you. I DM the photographers I admire and have made real relationships with lots of people. I think people are a lot more open than we think. Also, joining groups helps too. Like find a Rising Tide Society in your area, or go to a local workshop, or styled shoot. You just need to put yourself out there. Everyone wants to be part of a community.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
My portfolio, portrait galleries and print shop are all here: https://www.tonywodarck.com/ . I also have lots of education and opportunities for mentorship here: https://www.tonywodarck.com/for-photogs/. To really connect with me, hit me up on Instagram: @tonywodarck. I love DMing with people, chatting and making real connections that further transpire in to real life relationships.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Portrait of me: Sandra Yvette Photography.

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