Feature / #alwaysontherun Interview → Max Lowe
April 04, 2016
Interview → Max Lowe
Interview → Max Lowe
Photos by Max Lowe
"Being able to inspire through beautiful imagery via words or one's ability as a photographer is a truly magical feeling, " multimedia journalist & storyteller Max Lowe explains. We caught up with the National Geographic contributor as he was coming back from an epic trip to the UK, and asked to share some of his thoughts and photos...
 

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Tell me a little bit about your recent trip to England. I think the key to capitalizing on travel is making sure you’re going beyond the surface of a place. Don’t just plan your trips around the famous attractions and Trip Advisor recommendations alone. Walk the streets of a city, walk into back alley pubs and quirky shops. Strike up a conversation with the patron or buy a stranger a beer. I recently traveled to England for a day of work in London, but extended my stay to spend some time with a a friend I had met on the road years back. After getting a bite of the grit that London had to offer, we split for the small city of Bath and then West to the coast of Whales for several nights of car camping. Getting off the beaten path and doing things that pull you out of your comfort zone, like jumping on a board and paddling out into the frigid coastal waters of the North Atlantic in February, make your travels all the more memorable and original.

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How has shooting for Nat Geo changed your life? Working with National Geographic has changed my life and my career. The opportunities it’s given me as a storyteller and photographer have been the greatest gift to be certain since receiving my Young Explorers Grant back in 2012, but to be honest, they really only offer you the door. It’s not like you’re in with them and then they just hand you work over and over again. You have to make sure that you are always riding the cutting edge of your ability as an artist, and that you are always turning over rocks, discovering new ways to tell stories, and pushing yourself to become a better storyteller. More than anything, working with Nat Geo has given me a great carrot to lead myself into making myself a better photographer and more precise in my work.

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Who do you look up to and admire, career wise? I look up to many different people in my world, but to name a few I think Jimmy Chin has done an amazing job of balancing his passions and making a living out of those. The outdoors and wild places are where I levy my energy, but my hunger for storytelling takes me across many different spectrums – from the streets of New York to the Mountains of Nepal. I hope to continue building my career in a similar direction that Jimmy has gone. I also really have a lot of admiration for a close friend of our family and amazing writer David Quammen. David is a writer, producing amazing storytelling – from scientific and cultural stories with National Geographic to writing books that are referenced internationally. He has an extremely precise intention in his storytelling, and the stories he tells have amazing impact on the world around him. I would like to steer my storytelling in a direction where I might similarly have a tangible and positive effect on the future of our planet.

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How would you describe your work at this point in your career? I would describe my work at this point in my career as adapting and changing as it always has and always will. I am constantly being affected by those around me, my friends who are artists and whom I share my adventures with as well as every experience I take away from life as it passes. I guess one way of describing my work would be broad, I try and dabble in as many different stories told so that I might be able to tell those important stories coming down the road that I have yet to encounter and prepare myself for.

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What are some of your short term objectives and long term goals? Short term objectives are to continue doing work that I love and enjoy, as when you’re working as an artist, your best work always comes from projects that you truly believe in. Long term, like I said before, I would like to start steering my story telling towards issues and effects and organizations that have tangible positive effect on the world. Telling stories that will have a positive impact on peoples lives, promote conservation of our global environment, and inspire belief in the power of wild places are the ones that I want to reach towards.

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What’s your favorite place to go back to? I always love coming home to my home in Montana. It’s where I grew up and where I have spent most of my life, but the state is a treasure chest of immense landscape and cultural density if you look in the right places. I am constantly inspired by the natural beauty of my homescape, and the people I get to traverse it with.

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What is home for you right now? Home right now to me means having coffee in my kitchen with my little brother who I live with and our cat. The world is a huge and amazing place that I will forever hunger to explore further, but there’s something settling and perfectly comforting about having simple daily pleasures and routines that make life balanced.

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What does it mean for you to be #AlwaysOnTheRun? These days I am quite literally always on the run because I am spending more time sitting on airplanes than sleeping in my own bed ha, but being on the run in a more figurative sense is just staying aloft when it comes to inspiration. When you work for yourself, always thinking about how, what, when and where you’re going next in life in a literal sense or otherwise, but just being open and ready to run at opportunities at the drop of a hat.

 
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