I have no idea what Mr. Kelby was thinking when he chose me to be this week’s guest blogger. I am very humbled by this opportunity, and I must say that my name belongs nowhere near the long list of other guest bloggers, which includes some of the greats like Jay Maisel, Bill Fortney and Joe McNally. I’m always looking at the blogs of photographers whose work I admire, and trying to soak up as much information as I can.  And now I have the opportunity to speak from the same podium as they, but I don’t know what to  say!  I’m only 18 years old and still have a lot to learn when it comes to taking a picture, not to mention trying to figure out how to play this game called life. So I am going to simply share what I’ve learned so far, and how I’ve learned it…

I have been unbelievably fortunate when it comes to photography. I have had the opportunity to be mentored by Senior Staff Photographer for Golf Digest, Dom Furore, since the day I first picked up a camera. One of the first things I was taught was the importance of looking at the work of great photographers. “You can’t take a good picture until you know what one looks like,” he said.  More and more, I realize how new ideas are inspired, not invented. I find it funny when I see some article about a photographer who came up with a “new look” even though it looks exactly like something that’s been done a million years ago, and done better with a lot less equipment. Another thing that has helped me to grow as a photographer is studying different kinds of work. For me it is always important to put my own “twist” on inspired work and to give credit where credit is due, something that I learned from Jim Clark.

In 2009 I was able to attend the North American Nature Photography Association annual summit in Albuquerque, New Mexico as a high school scholarship student. I met a ton of very talented people and had the opportunity to learn from the best. Jim Clark met with our student group and he said two things that have always stuck with me, “Always give credit where credit is due” and “Don’t make yourself a legend in your own mind, let others make you a legend.”

Another tremendous source of progress for me has come from the opportunity to attend the Great American Photography Workshops and learn from legendary photographers like Bill Fortney, Rob Sheppard, Tom Bol, and George Theodore. Bill Fortney has become a mentor and friend, and his work has served as a tremendous source of inspiration for me.

It is amazing where life can take you when you have a camera in your hands. Last August I found myself assisting Dom Furore at the PGA Championship golf tournament. At the PGA I had the opportunity to meet some of the professionals whose work I admire. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to meet people like John Biever, Fred Vuich, Sam Greenwood, Simon Bruty, Matthew Harris, Scott Diussa, and Christian Iooss. Countless times I have taken my eye away from the viewfinder and realized what a blessing it is to be where I am. Having the opportunity to assist and learn from Red Wings Team Photographer, Dave Reginek, was one of these times. The more I get out, the more people I meet, and the more help I get. I am surprised by how helpful many of my “photographic heroes” are. One of the things I really like about the photography business it that it seems to be passed onto the beginners from the greats.

There are two more people I need to thank before I finish. First, I owe a great deal Bill Pekala at Nikon for providing me with some of the greatest cameras being made: Nikon. Finally, a big thank you to Scott Kelby for giving me this opportunity. I’m not sure what the next step is for me, but I enjoy every second spent behind the camera.

You can see more of Luke’s work at LukeKermode.com

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39 Comments

  1. Luke, you have the world in your hands! To get to start photography at 18 in this digital world is a dream. Excellent photography. When you have a workshop let me know!
    KT

  2. Excellent work, Luke! Some stunning shots you have posted here.

    Best of luck to you in the future. “The world is your oyster.”

    –John

  3. 18 years old, learning from the best and with top gear…

    I’m 20 and I’m very jealous!

    You are good, keep up the good work, and good luck.

  4. Like KT please tell us when you are going to have a work shop. Your future is going to be amazing.

  5. I took a look at your work, great stuff! I’m 19, shooting photos on my own, but haven’t gotten many connections yet, so I’m so jealous! Good luck!

  6. Hi Luke, I wish I was shooting like you at such a young age! Good luck for the future, you certainly have the visual edge. Ian

  7. Hey Luke

    I say you carry on the way you have been, just soak up information from the people you come across in life. Always the way forward. I’m sure you’ll do great with the passion you hold for photography.

    Some awesome shots posted above.
    Keep up the great work.
    :)

  8. Hey Luke,

    I took a look at your work, great stuff! I’m 19 and I’m shooting photos on my own but haven’t made any connections yet, so I’m very jealous! Good luck with your work!

    Yuto

  9. “More and more, I realize how new ideas are inspired, not invented” … Luke I believe that you’ve hit that one right on its head. Your statement has no age boundaries, as I’ve been greatly inspired by your work.
    Great visuals, and keep up the excelent work.

  10. Luke: Are you sure you are only 18! To be so focused on what you want to do and to be receptive to those who have the knowledge shows a maturity beyond your 18 years. Well done with this post and your images are stunning.

    My 19 year old Son still can’t decide what he wants to do with his life. He has no plan and no passions in his life. I’m going to show him your post.

    Best Regards,
    Dave

  11. Wow that’s some serious career choice at this age. Well done and super congratulations for the guest blog. Good wishes for your future.

  12. Wow, that last photo just makes me grin. It’s a whole story in one image, beautifully shot. Thanks for the inspiration.

  13. Luke can you give a little more info on how you creatde the basketball shot or is it more multiple shots composed in PS ( not a bad word).
    Thanks

  14. Wonderful post and simply amazing images Luke! You are so fortunate to have discovered something you love at such a young age. I have added you to my list of amazing photographers who’s work I look at for inspiration (and will be sure to give credit to!)…

  15. I looked at your work and was inspired! Older guys mentor young guys all of the time. But, I have to say, we older guys can learn a lot from the new photographers coming up. It is reverse mentorship. Well done, and blessings as you go forward.

  16. Thank you so much. Absolutely inspiring. More proof that it can be done by someone of my age. :)

  17. Luke, absolutle remarkable post. Please make sure to also learn the business side of your career. Prehaps the master, Mr. Kelby, can offer you an intership some time in the future.

  18. Great post, Luke! You truly are a very talented photographer and a great guy! You certainly have taken the quote “Don’t make yourself a legend in your own mind, let others make you a legend” to heart. You are very gracious and humble and your work will speak for itself in the coming years. Keep on recognizing each opportunity that comes your way and don’t let any pass you by…

    Looking forward to seeing you again someday soon…
    Scott

  19. Great read, great work and you’re going to go far buddy!!! I hope you meet you someday at a table with other young photographers like us! Keep on pushing and moving forward.


    DT.

    • I was rushing out of the door when I left this comment this morning, didn’t read it but I wanted to leave a response before I left. I’m in the Bahamas right now so and I’m not paying $15/m or whatever the cost is to use the internet on my phone haha.

      So to correct my mistakes I was saying, “The article was a great read, you have great work and you are going to go far with your work. Networking with the right people I’ve learnt, as well, at a young age is important…extremely important. Keeping hustling and doing your thing!”

      Cheers,
      DT.
      DwayneTucker.com
      Follow Me On Twitter; if you don’t: @DwayneTucker
      Miami, Florida | Nassau, Bahamas

  20. Half my age and humble. I looked over the photos on your website and I must say you’ve got a great set of eyes. Keep up the good work and you’ll find easy success in life with your work ethic.

  21. Well young man, you’re doing very well for yourself, and others! That “others” part is the key. You are a very talented photographer, but your “focus” is on those around you, and that will take you a lot further than correct exposure and proper white balance. From the first time I met you, Luke, I knew you would grow into the man you are becoming. You have everything that matters; a great family to guide you, a strong faith to keep you centered, a sharp mind, and loads of curiosity, talent, and energy. I truly look forward to the day, (which will be sooner, rather than later), that I will say “I knew him when……..”

    I’m very proud of you Luke, thanks for letting me be part of you and your families’ lives,
    I wish you a Merry Christmas and a sharply focused New year…….

    Bill

    P/S. Tell Dom if you get much better maybe he and I could retire at the same time!

  22. I really enjoyed your post and photography, Luke! Think I appreciated, today, your humility the most. Very refreshing… especially from such a young man who is so talented!

    Hope you have a great Christmas season.

    (Thanks, Scott, for asking Luke be the guest blogger today)

  23. Great use of dramatic lighting. I love the football photo. You have a bright future ahead of you.

  24. Congradulations on your guest spot! What an amazing start you are off too. What wonderful pictures. I like the surfers in the snow best! I grew up in MI loving the snow and lived in Hawaii for over six years. Perfect comvination for me. Thanks for sharing your work. I wish you the best!
    Merry Christmas,
    Kristie

  25. Some great images there.

  26. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

  27. Well done!
    Just be sure to leave your mark by “mentoring” some of the people who will ultimately be looking up to you as THEIR hero!
    May we never get to old or jaded to share the wonder of our inspirations!

  28. Hey, where did you get the money to buy that lens? You are only 18!!!

    Good stuff!

  29. I love his humble attitude and his beautiful pictures.

  30. Well Luke, after Scott & Bill have chimed in, theres not much I can except to second what they have said. You’ve learned at a very young age what’s most important, to focus on the image and not yourself. There’s a lot of big name pros out there that don’t get that so you’re already well ahead of the game. Don’t lose that focus and nothing will be able to stop you. It was great meeting you at Whistling Straights and I can see myself also saying “I knew him when.” All the best

  31. Thank you, Scott Kelby, for inviting Luke Kermode to post here. Oh, the places Mr. Kermode will go!

  32. Love your images, Luke. Thanks, and rock on!

  33. Luke,
    You know how to allow a mentor to pass on an important piece of themselves and to build on that investment with honor. That is why you have attracted the caliber of teachers you have and I’d bet good money it is why Scott felt you were a good fit for this platform. Of all the the things you shared, that was the subtle lesson I found the most value in. I’ve followed many of your mentors for years. I look forward to following you forward and watching their work continue to mature through their investment in you.

  34. Hey Luke,
    I know I told you this already, but I just wanted to let you know how proud I am of you and your dedication and humility. I am so blessed to be your sister, and to have a younger brother who I look up to. It has been a joy to watch you find your niche and pursue what you love. You have grown into a wonderful young man and an example to all. I love you!
    ~Kayla

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