Ask Robert Nowell the secret to his successful 29-year career as a professional photographer and he says, “I don’t take myself too seriously, but I’m plenty serious about my photography.”
It’s a focus that began as an exploration for his individualistic muse. “As an artist, you have to choose the medium that helps you tell your story. When I was young, I did some sketching and pastel work, but I really found my voice in photography. My photographs have a little piece of me in every one of them. I frame the world as I see it, and there isn’t anyone else on this planet that sees the world exactly as I do.”
After Robert graduated from Fanshawe College in London, Ontario in 1982 with a diploma in photography-communication arts, he worked for the Niagara Historical Museum in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, restoring its photographic archives.
At the same time, he started a studio with a partner in downtown St. Catharines, Ontario and began to build a solid base in commercial photography work. Eventually buying out his first partner and opening a new studio with two other photographers 12 years later, Robert’s business continued to thrive and attracted the attention of prominent, local ad agencies.
Keep it simple...
Making the decision to venture into his own business and studio space allowed him the freedom to concentrate on the aspects he loves, now working with various marketing firms and developing client relationships that have lasted many years. Even though Robert enjoys doing commercial and corporate assignments, he has never strayed too far from working closely with individual clients who have personal projects, and is highly sought after for his natural ease and efficient, professional manner.
“I love clean and simple images that have a lot to say because of the simplicity. One of the negative aspects of our digital age is the fundamentals of great photography have been lost to photo-shopped gimmicks. Some of the best portraits are ones that make it hard to say which decade they were taken in,” he says. With this straightforward transcendence in mind, his biggest influences in portraiture are Avedon, Penn, Karsh and Annie Leibovitz.
Frame the world
Robert, a full-time professor of photography at Niagara College in Welland, Ontario, believes teaching and inspiring other photographers to “frame the world” grounds this important medium in valuable expertise. To help support and promote his profession, he also serves as 2nd vice president on the Professional Photographers of Canada executive, Ontario branch.www.robertnowellphoto.com