The Flyfish Journal: Hi Aaron! Thanks for making the time to chew the fat and discuss your work. It’s been a while since our last Shutterbuggin’ installment and I’m excited to share your thoughts and ideas and see where the conversation takes us.
For those who aren’t familiar with your awesome photography, please take a minute to introduce yourself.
Aaron Goodis: Hi Copi! Thank you for including me in the “Shutterbuggin” series! I have always been a huge fan of The Flyfish Journal!
I’m Aaron Goodis, from Vancouver, BC. I am super stoked that my passion for photography and flyfishing has blended together and formed part of my career! Flyfishing has been a part of my life since I was a kid, now through photography I am able to see things in a different way, and I’m stoked about that!
TFFJ: Nice. I’m a newcomer to the Pacific Northwest, and it has been really fun exploring all of the different fisheries we have here, albeit quite humbling at times.
You often have a wide eye/style evident in your work, full of wonderful land and riverscapes. Do you think that your surroundings, in British Columbia and maybe the northwest in general, have helped shape that? That’s one thing I’ve noticed during a few trips to BC I’ve been able to take, how huge it feels. The rivers, the mountains, even the fish and wildlife, are, just, almost overwhelming because it seems to never end.
AG: Totally, British Columbia is vast and awe inspiring! I noticed very early on that my style seemed to be a fairly wide-angled approach. I think that in order to convey the scale I tend to try and “fit it all in”. We have all been taught in one way or another that this is typical not the best way of shooting pictures but I find it hard not to shoot really wide. I definitely am learning to be careful with my framing and pay attention to the details such as the edges, top and bottom, and getting rid of any unwanted clutter. Big beautiful rivers, big trees, big mountains, big fish, long fly casts and epic landscapes! These are all influencing my style.
TFFJ: Your shots of spey casts are wonderful, and it takes a worthy caster and a worthy photographer to nail them. I met your friend Tim Arsenault last fall in Vancouver, who I believe has been in a few photos that we’ve published. I think he does some competitive casting stuff? How did you get into that circle? It seems like it’s a pretty tight crew of guys who’re pushing the possibilities of Spey casting, both in terms of distance and aesthetic, and seemingly lots of that going on in the Vancouver area?
AG: Thanks! It’s a team effort for sure! Tim and I are definitely trying to push the boundaries of fly casting photography especially Spey casting in particular. I always look at it as a team; you need a caster who is great and consistent as well as a photographer who knows the angles and the moments to press the shutter. Otherwise you’re just spraying and praying, that can work but you burn through a ton of cards fast. Tim is an awesome caster; he competes in Spey-O-Rama (the biggest and most legit Spey casting competition in North America) every year. He is ranked as the top Canadian and 3rd overall in the world! Tim and I go way back before the casting and photography stuff; he is one of my best friends! We both love to cast and fish for steelhead. We are both lucky to have great buddies who also love to cast and fish! Personally I wouldn’t be a fly fishing photographer with out my friends, hanging out, shooting the shit, casting and photographing. That’s how we do it, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
TFFJ: You guys make a great team! I always find that I’ll make better photographs when I’m closer to the folks I’m photographing. Have you found that to be true in your work?
AG: Thank you! Yes for sure, I do feel the same. When I’m shooting more intimate stuff like fly casting, fish handling, close proximity life style or portraits it can make the difference. The one exception is shooting anglers in landscape, environmental stuff when the person is very small within a large frame. Sometimes in those cases I can get great shots and I may not know the person in the shot, the person is just setting the scale in the image.
TFFJ: Looking through your website there is a section titled ‘Recovery Project 2017’. It’s beautiful. It reminds me a bit of an everyday project I did, where I challenged myself to make a photo every day for a year, where I often found myself wandering streets and places I wouldn’t normally explore, looking for anything to catch my eye.
Care to talk about this work? Are you still adding to it?
AG: Your everyday project sounds awesome! Can I view it some time?
I have always been a fan of all types of photography, living in Vancouver lends itself to street photography and it’s fun to put your own spin on it!
The Recovery Project 2017 was born out of necessity. In October of 2016 I suffered a Spontaneous Cerebral Hemorrhage caused by RCVS (Reversible Cerebral Vasoconstriction Syndrome) it hit me completely out of the blue. The bleed was in the left side of my brain and it caused a relatively severe right-sided stroke. It sucked big time. By January I was in rehab and regaining the use of my right side. As soon as I could, I started taking my camera along on my walks. Along with incredible support from my girlfriend, family and friends I feel that photography played a big role in my recovery for many reasons! I am doing so much better now and I am still adding to the project. It’s amazing to see how far I have come!
No matter how healthy you are never take it for granted! And enjoy every minute of it! It’s amazing that we can conduct this interview so soon after, so thank you so much for giving me the opportunity.
That is awful to hear about your stroke. But great to hear you are doing better and that photography has been a vehicle to help you recover. While I haven’t been through anything near what you’re recovering from, I’ve found photography to be therapeutic in ways that other things aren’t. Did you find yourself shooting differently, either subject matter wise, or your processes at all?
AG: Wow very cool! Your images are not at all what I would expect from a snowboard/fly fishing photog. Very inspiring!
Yeah, it was super crazy and I am still having repercussions from it but I remain happy and hopeful! Goes to show it can happen to anyone.
When it comes to editing, I think I am being more experimental now and definitely trying to edit for my mood as apposed to editing super life like. Editing for mood is something I always strive for especially now.
TFFJ: What other things are you into? I find it healthy and necessary to try to remove myself from thinking about fishing and photography, the distance can help with perspective and it’s always good to check out of the things you love now and again.
Anything new and exciting coming up for you in the near future?
AG: For sure, it’s always good to have a break. I find it can help get my creative juices flowing again.
Right now I am still going through this recovery process. After that I am definitely stoked on going snowboarding again! They say it’s going to be another epic winter, I hope it’s true. I do a lot of outdoor activities. I’m big into hiking and snowshoeing. I am from the city so just hanging out having a good coffee! Lol! I guess not too much, I shoot photos a lot and I am dabbling in video as well. It’s new for me but I like the process. Tim and I are slowly working on something Spey casting related. That’s about it, how about you?
TFFJ: Cool, it’s fun exploring nooks and crannies in our backyards, wild and paved.
Nothing too exciting happening for me, a few photo projects on the back burner as well.
Where else can we find your work and follow along with your adventures?
AG: Yes exploring is always so much fun!
For those interested in my photography you can check out my website at www.aarongoodisphotography.com and stay up to date by following me on Instagram @agoodisphoto as well as Facebook @aaron.goodis.photography and YouTube/Aaron Goodis for fun video projects and vlogs!
TFFJ: Hey, thanks for taking the time to chat Aaron! We’ll look out for new work and I hope you can keep progressing and get back to where you were!