Photo Annual 2017: Liam Doran

On a fundamental level, few individuals think both analytically and creatively—left brain, right brain stuff. But photographers are different, their work demanding technical mastery to make art. To celebrate the best in winter imagery, we asked seven photographers to talk about their most-loved shots, and then we chose a few dozen of our favorites.

For our first installment, Liam Doran of Breckenridge, Colorado talks about one day he spent shooting with skier Caroline Gleich in Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon and why this photo embodies his love of balancing the act of skiing with that perfect moment when photographic composition comes together.

“In photography, I’m always looking for great light and action. I want to have some sort of backdrop or storytelling aspect to my photo. Sometimes it’s about the action, and sometimes it’s about the place. But I really like complex, multilayered compositions: foreground, mid-ground, background. Whenever I can, I try to frame up my subjects so they are not just floating in space.”

“Most of my work has been travel oriented, and I don’t ever get to spend a lot of time lining up for that perfect shot. Usually, I’m on these shoots where I get a shot here, then a shot at town, then a shot at après and so on.”

“So this one was special for me. We had been out for an afternoon photoshoot with Caroline Gleich and Todd Ligare in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Todd got his shot, and we were looking at the viewfinder trying to line something up. Meanwhile, the temperature had been slowly dropping throughout the day.”

“It actually got so cold that it squeezed the moisture out of the air. And all of a sudden this diamond dust started coming out of the air. We could see rainbows and colors, and everything was happening quickly. We started yelling, “Go, go, go, go!” to Caroline. She said, “Do I have time to catch my breath?” And we yelled back, “Noooo!” She nailed it. Perfect turn, perfect spot. Sure enough, after we got the shot and just after Caroline finished the line, it was over—totally dark. It’s unique, the way it happened. I don’t know if I’ll ever see that again.”

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