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Curiosity, Vision, and Purpose With Justin Black

Curiosity, Vision, and Purpose With Justin Black
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Episode 65:Today I sit down with professional photographer, writer, editor, and expedition leader and instructor, Justin Black, to chat about:

  • What it was like working with Galen Rowell at Mountain Light Photography and some of the lessons he learned from Galen
  • His vision behind creating Visionary Wild and the various workshop and expedition types they offer
  • The role visual perception plays in how we interpret compositions and how we can use it to creatively and effectively compose our images
  • What we can learn from studying other two-dimensional forms of art
  • The importance of curiosity, experimentation, investigation, discovery, and reflection in one’s growth as a photographer
  • Photography as a practice (couldn’t agree more!)
  • The idea of purposeful photography
  • His work with the International League of Conservation Photographers and ways that photographers can work with non-profits on conservation projects
  • How anticipation and awareness help with visualization and responding to nature in the moment
  • Using simplicity in compositions from the grand landscape to small, intimate scenes
  • A whole lot more!


Portfolio Website:

Follow Justin Black on:



Workshops and Travel Opportunities: [Use coupon code OPSCHOOL5% for 5% off all Visionary Wild Workshops and Expeditions booked in 2022 - programs themselves can operate in 2022, 2023, or 2024.]

Follow Visionary Wild on:



Justin’s articles and episodes we discussed:

Opening the Mind’s Eye

Photographing With Purpose

Subtracting the Universe

Episode 40: The One Thing That Will Improve Your Photography This Year

Recommended Books(Amazon affiliate links):

Mountain Light, Galen Rowell

Trust the Process: An Artist’s Guide to Letting Go, Shawn McNiff

Full Show Notes



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Justin BlackProfile Photo

Justin Black


Justin Black is a photographer, writer, editor, expedition leader, photo workshops instructor, a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers, and a Fujifilm X-Photographer.

After working for ten years at Galen Rowell's Mountain Light Photography and then serving as the executive director of the International League of Conservation Photographers, he founded Visionary Wild ( in 2011 to provide superlative workshops and expeditions for passionate photographers seeking to advance to the next level of creativity, quality, purpose, and meaning in their work. He is widely recognized as one of the world's leading photo workshops organizers.

Justin's photographs have been published by National Geographic Adventure, National Geographic Live!, Sierra, Sunset, American Photo, Outdoor Photographer, Rock & Ice, and Nature Conservancy among many others. His work has also been published by major news outlets in print and online, and has been used in advertising for brands such as MasterCard, Patagonia, Nikon, and Fujifilm. Among conservation NGOs that have used his photographs in their campaigns are World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, The Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, Panthera, Land Trust Alliance, EarthJustice, The Wilderness Society, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, ILCP, and the Wild Foundation.

Justin has also been an editor and contributor to numerous award-winning photo book projects, including Galen Rowell: A Retrospective; Freshwater: The Essence of Life; The Wealth of Nature: Ecosystem Services, Biodiversity, and Human Well-Being; Our National Parks: America's Natural Heritage; as well as Flying South: A Pilot's Inner Journey by Barbara Rowell.