We had the good fortune of connecting with Asa Culver and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Asa, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
As an artist, there is always the challenge of wanting to give up. It’s very trial and error. For every 1 success you have, there are a whole lot of failures. I have to remind myself that I’m not always going to see the results I want on the first try, more than often it takes multiple attempts. While it can be frustrating, giving up just guarantees that you won’t see results. The path to success as an artist isn’t linear, there are going to be a lot of ups and downs. I just have to remind myself that every failure is a learning experience, and I try to build off that.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My work explores the surrounding Phoenix area through the eyes of an infrared camera, uncovering the hidden beauty of the landscape that is just out of view to our eyes. Coming from a small rural town in Maryland, I was fascinated by the natural scenery out here- particularly the cactus- when I first moved here in 2018. I take iconic Arizona imagery and create a new, almost alien-like landscape with vibrant and euphoric hues.

I first got into infrared photography in early 2021, so it’s still a somewhat new technique to me. I feel like I had lost some of my passion towards art, and I wanted to try something new and branch out from the work I was making. Photographing in a spectrum of light not visible to the human eye has provided me with many technical challenges. There is definitely a learning curve in trying to capture something on a camera that you can’t actually see. It has completely reinvented the way I view photography, and the world. I’m constantly asking myself what something would look like in infrared. The change in perspective has brought a new joy to my life, and I feel like I am discovering photography for the first time again. Many of the images I take would be plain if not photographed in infrared, and it reminds that there is beauty everywhere, you just have to seek it out. I see cacti every day, but it wasn’t until I began to photograph them in infrared that I feel I truly appreciated just how unique Arizona is. Through my artwork, I hope to remind others that a new perspective on things can really change the way we view something, whether that is in a literal sense, or approaching life with a new outlook.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The Botanical gardens is definitely at the top of my list for must-see places. Since I grew up on the east coast, many of my friends are unfamiliar with the landscape out here, and it’s wonderful to show them how different the vegetation is. I love to see how excited my friends get when they see a 40 foot cactus, since they don’t grow in the area where they live. I would take them to Sedona as well, the red rocks are truly amazing, and it’s a great change of scenery compared to being in the city. When my Mom visited a few months ago, we hiked Devil’s Bridge – the rock formations are unlike anything we had ever seen before, so that was a lot of fun.

Depending on the time of year, I would also go to Flagstaff. The amount of stars you can see is just breathtaking, and if you time the moon cycle right, you can even see the milky way with the naked eye. I think a lot of people from the east coast also have the misconception that Arizona is just desert, but once you go up north you get to see just how diverse it really is out here.

I take everyone who visit to Otto’s pizza in Tempe as well. I think they have the best pizza in the valley, and it’s a great spot to grab a quick bite.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I think I can owe a lot of my success to a professor I had at Arizona State University – Aaron Rothman. For a while, I did not enjoy particularly enjoy landscape photography – I focused more on portraits. I took Aaron’s class on landscape, and he introduced me to quite a few artist’s work that I had never heard of before. That opened my eyes to a new perspective of photography, and it was in his class that I got my first infrared camera. Without his mentorship, I don’t think I would have started on the path that I am currently on, and I certainly wouldn’t be focusing on infrared landscape photography. There is no way that I would be creating the work I do now without him!

I also owe a big thanks to Professor Liz Cohen, and my fellow classmate and photographer Remi Koebel. Liz introduced me to artist residencies, and taught me how to go about applying for them. Without her guidance, I don’t think I would have started to put myself out there and submit work to programs. With Remi’s encouragement, I applied for an emerging artist residency that Liz had mentioned to us, and I actually was accepted into it! I definitely wouldn’t have applied for it if they hadn’t told me that I should. It’s really easy to doubt yourself as an artist, and sometimes you need a push in the right direction.

Without their support I would not have gotten my first residency, so I am eternally grateful to both.

Website: www.photosbyasa.com

Instagram: photos.by.asa

Linkedin: Asa Culver

Twitter: @photosbyasa

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Photos-By-Asa-109175278470252

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