We had the good fortune of connecting with Aaron Harp and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Aaron, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
Never give up on something that you love. Things don’t happen overnight, no matter how instant the success may look on the outside. As long as you wake up in the morning and love what you are doing, then there is no reason to stop. Sometimes, for financial reasons, you may have to slow production or get a 9-5, but never stop. Giving up on a pursuit of something you love is a great tragedy for a person to suffer through. Especially with the arts, it is a part of you. Art comes from within a person; it is the artist’s interpretation of the world around them and the feelings within them. A person’s art is them. As an artist, to turn your back on that is to destroy a piece of who you are. Times will get difficult; things always get difficult at some point or another. As Theodore Roosevelt said, though, “Nothing worth doing comes easy.” As long as you love it, never give up.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
There are a lot of photographers out there; it’s a very saturated market. I believe what sets my photography apart from a lot of photographers today is that much of the work put out today is highly edited. In many cases, they are not just one photo, but are, instead, a composite of several photos. I don’t do a lot of editing to my photos, so what you see is usually what I saw. The truth behind a photo is what makes it powerful and iconic, not the Photoshop skills of the photographer. I also believe that much of the way I compose a shot helps differentiate my work from that of others by making it feel like someone could have the exact same view while still presenting it in a slightly fantastical way.
As I touched on previously, things are never easy. Some times are easier than others, but nothing is ever smooth sailing. The most important thing to push through is to just focus on your love for what your doing. If you love it, you can make it through the tough times. That was also something I think I have learned that has had the most impact: It doesn’t matter how many people are buying my work at any given time, what matters is that I don’t get discouraged, that I focus on my love and passion for it, and the stress just slides right off my shoulders.
That’s what I’d want people to know about me and my work should I die tomorrow: The images and scenes I produce and show the world are the ones I love(d) the most. They are the ones that caused my jaw to drop in awe while snapping the photo. They are absolute representations of how I see the world, the beautiful and the ugly.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have been an Arizona resident for about two years now, and with the last year having lockdowns, a lot of my favorite spots have been outside of the city. Inside the city, though. South Mountain Preserve is one of my favorite spots. Having such a peaceful and beautiful natural spot like that nestled right in the city is something that can’t be overstated. With having trails varying in intensity and incline, it has hikes that any visitor can enjoy. The view from the top is also one that I think every visitor should see. I would also take them by to see a Diamondbacks or Cardinals game depending on the time of year. A little bit of sports with some cold drinks, AC, and friends? Sign me up! Old-town Scottsdale is also a fun way to spend an afternoon meandering around, enjoying a local restaurant and enjoying the unique shops. However, exploring outside of the city is also something that would be a necessity. Roosevelt Lake provides a beautiful drive and amazing views within a somewhat short distance, so that would also be a must. One of my favorite spots in Arizona is the Petrified Forest National Park. Walking through that park is like walking on another planet. I have never been anywhere else that feels so extraterrestrial and exudes such beauty. A day there is required in my opinion. We would have to visit Sedona, as well, and camp at a dispersed camping location outside of the city. The view of the Milky Way over the Red Rocks is something that truly change a person. Finally, stopping off at Jerome on the way back in to Phoenix would be a great way to finish off the visit.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
As the younger of two siblings, I fall into the cliche of looking up to my older brother. He was the one who initially got me into photography. When he got his first camera, he kept pushing me to get one, and with our excursions of him shooting me rollerblading, I just had to get my own camera. Through the years, he has always had encouragement without sugarcoating anything. He isn’t afraid to give criticism when needed and praise when needed. Having that has made things tense at times, but my skills are 1000 times better than they ever would have been without him being honest. He was always willing and able to dive into any questions or issues I was having with my camera or editing. He still does photography, mainly focusing on his dog, Remy, but his photos are better than most photographers that I see with hundreds of thousands of followers.
Without the encouragement of my brother, I never would have picked up a camera with the idea of using it to show the world from a different perspective. Without the honesty of my brother pushing me to do better when I started to put less effort into the art, my skill would never be where they are today.