From Sailing to Shabang: Peter Hurley Tells the Tale of How He Became a Photographer

It’s always interesting to hear how photographers ended up with the career they did. Photography is interesting because, unlike most jobs, it’s something that can be completely self-taught. This leads to a photo community made up of incredibly varied backgrounds and fascinating cross-over stories, and headshot master Peter Hurley has just such a story.

As part of [a]’s #BehindtheGlass series, Hurley shares the fascinating tale of the twists and turns that led him into the world of photography. From his youth as an Olympic sailing hopeful traveling all over the world to his experience being photographed by the great Bruce Weber for Ralph Lauren, his journey is anything but ‘standard’ (if there even is such a thing) and goes to show that absolutely anyone from any background can become a world-class photographer.

The video comes in at twelve minutes, so it’s a bit lengthy, but we’re confident this story will keep you glued to your computer screen for every last second.

(via ISO 1200)

  • David Vaughn

    I feel like when people are really good at one thing they’re also really good at like 3 other things as well.

    I know a local editorial photographer who is regularly published in nationwide and statewide magazine, and he was also the guitarist in a regionally known band, and he’s an author of a few books, and he has one kid and another on the way.

    I, on the other hand, am sitting here eating Laffy Taffy and surf the web haha.

  • DLCade

    Hey, I count two things you’re good at in that last sentence ;)

  • Arctic-Winds

    From my experience it’s normally creative types that are good at other things (normally in the Arts). Although I did go to school with a bloke who was good at everything. Not through hard work though, just naturally good at everything (insert swear word here).

  • Gannon Burgett

    I want some Laffy Taffy.

  • Aezreth

    This guy is so painfully mediocre, just like all the other photographers making their money from workshops & DVDs and not actually from photography. His headshots all look like stock photos. If he had Bruce Weber as tutor and this is the best he could do I would not exactly call him talented.

  • David Vaughn

    Yeah, that’s what I was referring to: people who just seem to be…good that things. I imagine a lot of people can get pretty good at a lot of things with work (and I’m not saying that these people don’t work hard), but I know a lot of people who are just like “lol I’ve never designed anything in my life *creates the Mona Lisa of poster layout/design*” Maybe some people’s brains are just wired for it. :P

  • David Vaughn

    He makes people look good. That’s 90% of what people want in a headshot. They couldn’t care less about if it looks like a stock photo or a masterpiece of contemporary art.

  • Omar Salgado

    That’s precisely why they all look the same: they look “good”. I feel them all like made out of the same mould. The squinch? That’s okay if you want to “look good”, but you’re part of the bunch of “good lookists”, nothing more, ha!

    As discussed some time ago, Hurley is talented at doing the same all thing: commercial [headshot] portrait photography that does not necessarily depicts its subjects as who they actually are.

    Making you feel good at the session is very important, but it is more important to represent you in a true and accurate way, because that is what will last as a memorie.

    I could ask for a session and actually like the output, but I suspect that in a few years on I will feel like something is not matching, is not telling who I was and the way others remember me.

    That is the real value, not just some formulas or “the squinch”.