Engineering students explore creative photography outlet
Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2013 00:02
OSU students Mark Schroeder and Taylor Duncan double as backpacking and mountaineering enthusiasts when out of school, and run a photography business in their spare time. A friendship begun in the halls of Weatherford has blossomed into a successful business partnership.
“We both discovered that we both take pretty good pictures, and we just started going on adventures together wanting to take photos,” Duncan said.
“We just went up snowboarding and did a couple backpacking trips together while taking photos,” Schroeder added.
After a few photo adventures, the pair decided to open a business together. In August of last year, these sophomore engineering students started their Facebook group M.T Landscape Photography with the hope of spreading the word about their art and to find future customers.
“We just wanted to get the word out and have a way to advertise our photos,” Schroeder said.
In October, Duncan and Schroeder created an official website where people can purchase prints. Eventually, the duo wants to create prints themselves, sign them and ship them to customers.
“I don’t know how much our signatures are worth right now, but that’s the basic idea,” Duncan said.
In the future, the pair is interested in creating calendars, to further showcase their work.
“Taylor has made a couple before, but it is really expensive to do unless you buy in bulk,” Schroeder said.
In addition to calendars, M.T Landscape Photography features photos from all over the state of Oregon and in other locations, including Wisconsin and Switzerland.
“I live in Wisconsin, so every time I come back to school I do a road trip and take lots of photos,” Duncan said. “I’ve done Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, Yosemite National Park and my dad lives in Central Oregon, so I have a lot of photos from out there.”
Schroeder explains he takes most of his photos on backpacking, mountaineering and climbing trips.
“It all started when my dad took me backpacking in high school, and the hobby just grew from there,” Schroeder said. “I have a lot of photos from Jefferson, Central Oregon, Sisters and a backpacking trip over the summer through Switzerland.”
The pair also explains how difficult it is to take new photos and balance the business with engineering and school.
“It was easier in the beginning because we both had a lot of photos already,” Duncan said. “The hard part is going out and getting new material.”
“The hardest part of the business, I would say, is finding time to take trips to get new photos and getting the word out about our business,” Schroeder added.
After finding the time to take trips they explain how they take hundreds of photos only to use about one or two of them.
“After I choose a photo, I only adjust the contrast and maybe the crop the photo slightly,” Schroeder said. “We don’t like altering the photos so they look surreal.”
Encouraged by friends and family to pursue what was once a simple hobby, Duncan and Schroeder are considering continuing the business after graduation.
“We aren’t really sure what the future holds, but I really enjoy doing this,” Duncan said. “The only problem is you have to take a whole bunch of photos to make a living, and there are a lot of opportunities to explore within engineering.”
M.T Landscape Photography can be found online at www.mtlandscapephotography.com.
Callie Simmons, news reporter