Brad Imhoff doesn’t photograph to create a world of his own — he photographs to capture the world he sees before him.
Imhoff was born and raised in Ohio. His talent for taking photos of the Ohio landscape is particularly praised by Knox County locals. Last Saturday, members of the community congregated at the Brown Family Environmental Center as the photographer presented a series of work titled “Photographic Journey Through Ohio.”
Imhoff’s photography ranges from landscape images of Hocking Hills to normally overlooked ants and frogs between blades of grass. His work attempts to capture the natural beauty of a world he has admired through a camera lens since he was eight years old.
“I am someone who recharges my batteries when I’m alone, and they recharge better when I’m alone in nature,” Imhoff said. “It gives me time to contemplate, and if I can capture something that is worth showing to other people, then that’s just a bonus.”
While traveling with family in elementary school, disposable camera in hand, Imhoff took an interest in capturing the landscape of rural America. By his 18th birthday, he had already visited over 40 states and worked alongside his father to express the beauty of the natural world.
“There’s always a piece of my heritage when I go out and take pictures,” Imhoff said. “I don’t think my photography is an attempt to connect with my father in a way that I never could, so much as it is an appreciation for nature that has been passed through the generations.”
Imhoff will often endure extreme conditions in order to capture images of wildlife. While he does occasionally touch up photos after shoots, he prefers to go without technology like Photoshop.
“The photo isn’t always the end goal; even if I’m out in the forest and I don’t get a single photo to show someone, it’s still a success,” Imhoff said. “My passion comes from being out in the wilderness.”
From crawling on all fours to creeping up behind white-tailed deer to walking through swamplands in rubber overalls, Imhoff values the experiences to the same extent as the resulting photo itself.
“The goal is the photo, but all of the ones that end up in the presentation have a story with them,” Imhoff said.
Flipping through pictures of hundreds of Ohio-specific bird species, Imhoff detailed the narratives behind frames of wildlife, waterfalls and foliage. The images are timepieces for particular moments in his life, all of which he remembered and recited beautifully for the Knox County crowd as if he were reading from his journal.
Imhoff now works full-time as a professor at Liberty University, though his availability for photo shoots has greatly increased since he completed his Ph.D. at Ohio University in 2015. Outside of nature photography, he also shoots portraits and weddings on commission to fund many of his excursions.
Amidst his success, Imhoff continues to develop his understanding of digital photography. He hopes that doing so will help him do further justice to the beauty of the natural world.