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Art & Life with Bill Cantey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bill Cantey.

Bill, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
It just kind of happened, I suppose. I wasn’t set out to be a photographer; trust me. I just went with it. I suppose you can say that the interest of creation, and capturing life as we know it in different ways was my motivation. I held my first DSLR in December of 2011. To be honest, I didn’t really know much of what I was holding lol. Ignoring that fact, I still set out to buy my first Canon.

Eight years later, I’m in Iceland shooting Icelandic horses with waterfalls in the background with a Nikon D850. I’ve put about 72,000 miles on rental cars in those years (Poor Avis). As a kid, growing up, all I did was stay inside and play video games. I like to think I made up for all of those years lost already! Thats enough miles to go around the earth more than eight times.

I’ve put myself in some very dangerous situations shooting, but every single one of those moments were worth it.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I take pictures and share them online. I like to show people that there is more out there than they know! Where I grew up, there was only one grocery store, which was 21 miles away. There was only one stop light. Most people don’t get out of that town and grow up their whole lives without seeing much of anything different. I like to encourage people to get out and experience these things. Yes, photography is cool, but the message is what’s important. I sit down in my office with a lot of my work printed on my walls. They are conversation starters. You wouldn’t believe how many people haven’t seen the Milkyway galaxy. You can see this shit with your own natural eyes. You don’t even need a damn camera! So what’s your excuse!?

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities, and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
99% of landscape artists do NOT get their money’s worth! If you shoot, you know what I mean. For those who don’t know. Take this any consideration when low balling photographers:

Two cameras: $1,500 to $2,000 each
Multiple lenses: $1,000+ each
Two flashes: $700
Multiple memory cards: $50+ each
Two external drives: $120 each (keep one backup off-site)
Computer or laptop with sufficient memory: $2,000
Website (Wix, PhotoShelter, SmugMug and/or Squarespace): $60+
Lightroom and Photoshop subscription: $120 per year
Business licenses: $150 (varies)
Insurance: $600 per year (varies)
Accounting: $300+ per year (varies)
Contracts: Free to $1,000+ (varies)
Online proof gallery, such as ShootProof: $120 per year
Business cards: $20+

This is all just for starters. There is a LOT more to this, not to mention the amount of time it takes to get that perfect photo. My advice is to shoot for yourself. Enjoy it for yourself, because that is the only thing thats going to make all of it worth it! If you are shooting for Instagram, you’ll regret it sooner than later. You don’t NEED to have all this fancy stuff if you are struggling financially. A ton of people loves to go out and buy a $3000 camera but spend the next three years trying to learn how to use it. Start off with a small camera and don’t rush into it. Time will tell when you are ready to upgrade to that new full frame camera.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
You can check out my work at

Yes, digital stuff is the thing these days, but when you see work printed on metal, it’s a game changer! Unfortunately printed work seems to be a dying platform these days, but there really is something special about it. Anything purchased from my website is an inspiration for me to continue my work and produce more. You wouldn’t believe the effort it takes to drive 2,000 miles, keep shooting with minimal sleep, all for just that one shot!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photos taken by Bill Cantey

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition, please let us know here.

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