Meet Pat Friery, Cleveland Photographer

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Patrick Friery is a young photographer from Cleveland, Ohio. Spend some time with this quiet guy, and you will discover an incredibly talented person. Patrick came to photography largely by chance while in high school. Since then, he has refined his skills and seems to effortlessly capture beautiful, striking images. Perhaps his greatest ability is to see what others simply miss or look past. Patrick sees these moments in nature and space. And, he doesn't travel far to find these incredible scenes.

What comes to mind when you think of "Cleveland, Ohio"? For Patrick, his photos show a place that is filled with stunning beauty. That mystique is found in the natural elements, the buildings and the spaces that he photographs in the surrounding area.

You will discover that Patrick is as deep and interesting as the images that he captures in this interview.

Q: How did you get started in photography?

A: I first got started in photography by taking a 35mm Black and White class in high school. A friend of my mom's had an old SLR camera that I bought and I was in love with it. We rolled our own film, processed negatives, and did all of the darkroom techniques. I didn't do much after high school ended, until my last semester of college when I took another 35mm B&W class. At this point I traded in the old camera and bought an up-to-date model. After the class was over, I continued to take some pics, but it wasn't until December 2007 when I got my first DSLR that I really got into it. Shooting digital made everything much easier and gave me more control. I upgraded that DSLR in 2010, and have taken thousands of photos since then.

Q: What inspires your work?

A: I think my inspiration comes from exploration. I have certain "go to" spots that I like to shoot over and over, but I prefer to head out and explore new areas. I love to discover a new scene for the first time. Many of the places I photograph are within 30-40 minutes of downtown Cleveland, however many residents probably have no idea they exist. I also like to explore new ways to present the places that people do normally see. Whether it's a different perspective, a long-exposure that the human eye can't physically see, a black and white shot, or just framing something differently than an average person would look at it, I like to show people what they can't see on their own.

Q: Do you think in advance about capturing a certain image or do you let it find you?
A: As far as thinking in advance, I often go out with an idea in mind, but typically, that idea will evolve as I'm looking through the viewfinder. Once I do capture something I really like, I may go back to that place several times to capture it differently, or try to improve on the original. So I guess there is a little bit of both, as far as me finding scenes, and them finding me.

Q: What subject interests you?
A: The main thing that interests me is nature photography.  That goes along with the whole exploration thing. There are countless scenes to go out and find, and infinite ways to present them. There have been so many times where I'm looking at something, and when I look at it through the lens, I see it totally differently, and then I move slightly, and there's an entirely different scene. I also love urban stuff, city skylines and architecture.

I am also really in to long exposure. It makes for stunning shots, but it really shows things in a unique way. It's almost like making reality into abstract. I'm standing there looking at something, but the image in my LCD looks totally different. And the more you experiment with it, it continues to change.

Q: Tell us about a time that you wished you had access to a camera but didn't?
A: Most recently, just 2 days ago, I decided that I would spend my day off completing the work on my website, instead of going out to take pictures (which I usually spend most of my days off doing). As the day went on, I thought I might take a break and go out to take some sunset shots. The only other thing I had to do that day was buy some work shoes. I kinda lost track of time, and it was too late for me to get to a good spot to shoot a sunset, so I decided I would just go out and get shoes. As I was standing in line, I looked up out the window and saw one of the most amazing red, glowing skies that I have ever seen. The clouds were unbelievable. I thought for a minute if I could make it anywhere that would be somewhat scenic, but then realized that I hadn't brought my camera along, and there was no way I could make it home and back out in time. It's really hit or miss when going out to take sunrise and sunset shots, and over the last few weeks, I have been mostly unlucky with the days I have gone out. I have salvaged some decent shots, but I was so upset at the sky that was staring at me and the fact that I could do nothing about it.

Fortunately, with the advancement of technology, I always have my iPhone close and have taken some great pictures with it when my camera is not available. In that particular situation, I didn't even take an iPhone pic because I was so upset.

Q: For you is photography more art, science, balance, or just plain fun?
A: For me, I think of photography mostly as art. It would be really hard for me to not also classify it as fun, too. I really enjoy showing my photography to people, but I appreciate it much more when the people looking at it understand the artistic value. I like to focus on composition. When the viewer picks up on things like leading lines, or symmetry, or perspective, I feel more like an artist, than someone who just took a cool picture. But, I really have fun with all aspects.

Patrick is always posting new photos on Instagram @pmfriery and has established an online gallery and new website. Stop by. You won't be disappointed.

Follow Patrick Friery:
Instagram @pmfriery
His website: www.patrickfriery.artistwebsites.com