The Adventure in Life: Joel Bear Studios
"We look for the adventure in life and want to share it with those around us."
Joel and Maggie are a husband and wife "adventure and lifestyle photographer" duo from California that make up the team for the amazing Joel Bear Studios. Their photographs imbue a spirit of adventure and exploration that invokes that feeling of just above that next horizon...
How did you get started in photography, and in these photo adventures? Joel: I was born and raised for half of my life in Southbridge, Massachusetts. As a child my mom was a graphic designer, so there was always some form of art or creative process in the works. I was homeschooled with my two younger sisters and my parents would take us backpacking and exploring all over New England. At ten years old my parents sold everything and bought a Jeep and a trailer and we lived across the country. I think this spurred my love for adventure and traveling while also giving me an appreciation for life and people who live and work in America. We ended up living in Southern California, always taking trips to Yosemite, June Lake, Joshua Tree, Kings Canyon and anywhere else we could drive. After high school I took two years at Calvary Chapel Bible College and met my wife Maggie, who is from Denver, Colorado. Her love for life and the outdoor truly inspired me.
Maggie grew up in Colorado and being in the outdoors is a lifestyle to her. She fell in love with photography when we were married and has been tag-teaming with me ever since. After we met we completed and graduated early from New York Institute of Photography and a week later we were married. We wanted to create a business where we could work and inspire people. Also creating a desire to live life and feel a part and yearn for something bigger is one of our goals. We created Joel Bear Studios in the fall of 2012 and it took about a year to find who we were as photographers. It came about on a trip from San Francisco to Santa Barbara, in our trusty Honda Element. The trip consisted of working and collaborating with other photographers and sharing our adventure with others. From this excursion down the coast we found that we love to adventure, to work with and alongside brands and companies, and sharing stories.
"...Those things you can only experience by getting into the unknown."
What is one project you found memorable? Our most memorable project would have to be our recent trip to Yosemite National Park. This trip was so special to us because of the freedom that we were given. We were hired by brands to show our vision of life and passion for adventure in Yosemite. We hiked and explored places like Taft Point, Glacier Point, El Capitan and Tuolumne Meadows. The beauty that we were able to be part of was awe-inspiring. We are looking forward to heading back there soon.
What keeps you inspired? Honestly our faith and marriage keeps us so inspired. It drives us to give our best in every situation and circumstance. Working together has been such a blessing. We are always there to carry and push each other, and to aspire to the greatness we have been created for. Our parents have been such a vital inspiration, just pushing us and keep us accountable. Also we are so inspired by others in the field like Chris Burkard, Chris Ozar, Cory Rich, Joey L. Theron Humphrey, Rog Walker and everyone at the Music Bed.
What's been your favorite thing to photograph? Wow, that is so hard to say. We have been privileged over this summer to chase the Milky Way through Utah, see the sunrise on Hanging Lake, photograph the passion and creativity of artist David Quiggle, explore the playground of Yosemite showing our twist on it and watch storms roll over the Rocky Mountains. We are really gaining a passion for photographing the lifestyle of adventure and the adventure in people; weather starting their own business or climbing Half Dome, everyday life and the things that drive people is becoming our passion.
Did you grow up camping/hiking? Do you have any memorable camping/hiking trips to share?
Joel: I grew up camping and exploring all over New England in places like: the Adirondacks and Arcadia National Park; and in California places like: Yosemite, Joshua Tree and all over the coast. Probably my most memorable trip was hiking and fly fishing the Yosemite portion of the John Muir Trail with my father and hero Stephen Ross.
Maggie: I grew up right next to the foothills in Colorado so the mountains were literally my back yard. Also being homeschooled, my mom took every opportunity to get us outside. Whether it was hiking or exploring the history of the gold miners, she always turned every opportunity into a field trip and teaching experience. Exploration and adventure were always part of my life and it gave me a very special love for the outdoors and those things you can only experience by getting into the unknown.
One of my favorite memories of camping is when I was very young and we were camping with my family. It was early in the morning with all the campfire smoke for our breakfast, and about 50 yards away there was a moose in the lake. I just remember being in such awe at such beauty and power (although I didn’t realize how much power). That seemingly small experience gave me such a love for those serene moments that can only be found in the outdoors.
What's in store for the future? The future is always changing but is so exciting. We are excited about working and showcasing new brands and people while going on intense adventures. Alaska, New Zealand and Iceland are on our minds and capturing the people and beauty of those places. We will also be spending a while in Big Sur this fall and Colorado this winter, which we’re stoked about. Also a couple of magazine pieces are coming up plus amazing trips, so stay tuned for those.