Garrett Vollstaedt, Photographer and Visual Journalist. Photograph by Robert Peardon.
We often think we have to travel the world to meet interesting people or view fascinating scenes. Photographer and aspiring Journalist, Garrett Vollstaedt, is an example of how sometimes the most brilliantly talented people are often sitting right next to you, holding the most captivating images.
In his fearless pursuit of exploring tribes and culture before it is altered, Vollstaedt fortified his passion for photography when he ventured to Africa alone for three months, shortly after high school graduation. Not being able to take much with him taught him how little he needs to be happy, but also revealed to him how much he values his treasured camera. As he got up close and personal enough to stare into the eyes of a lion, Vollstaedt not only shot the famous photograph that would soon be published and shared by many, but he learned a significant life lesson. This less is that sometimes life is chance, but more often it involves choice; choosing happiness and being grateful are surest ways to fully embrace the opportunities chance throws your way.
“It was an ultimate freeing moment,” said Vollstaedt as he talked about roaming with the wild African beasts.”Everything could kill you, but nothing did.”
If it is true that being able to visualize your goals is the best way to attain them, then there is no doubt that one day this man’s photographs will not only be in National Geographic Magazine, but that we will see at least one of his pictures on the front cover. Everyday Vollstaedt reads a copy of this magazine as well as seizes any opportunity to listen to the magazine’s photographers speak; drawing inspiration from his most admired photographers such as Steve McCurry and Shannon Wild. As he studies Journalism he continues to prove his talent and build his reputation through his work, while making strong industry connections; all of which will assist Vollstaedt in his pursuance of his incredibly possible dreams.
Vollstaedt knows that sometimes the most challenging moments in our lives, maybe even those same bridges on fire, can become the greatest sources of inspiration to generate the most significant changes on life’s journey. Wanting to “make a difference” in the world he is often found volunteering or helping to bring out the best in others.
If a word were to be chosen, it would be “Happiness.” But, perhaps there would be no need for words if the essence of Vollstaedt’s character were on a billboard, as the wisdom would come through the pictures that would, in themselves, tell a thousand words.
For more information I hope you will visit his site, www.garrettvollstaedt.com. Here you will not only have the opportunity to view the infamous Lion’s Eyes photograph, that was published by the African Wildlife Foundation, and the photo of two cape buffalo, Guardians of the Crater, which was used as a banner for the African Wildlife Foundation, but you can indulge in the depth of the talent through the many breath taking scenes and enchanting eyes captured by his camera, first seen and appreciated through his own piercing blue eyes.