Jessica Haydahl Richardson – BD Artist Spotlight

We at BD are excited to introduce an amazing photographer, Jessica Haydahl Richardson.  She shares her story with us. Check it out.

Schwabacher Landing, Grand Teton National Park.

BD:Where do you live?

Jessica Haydahl Richardson:I was born in Vancouver British Columbia Canada, but now live in Montana. I feel grateful to live and to have lived in two of the most beautiful places in North America.

Yellowfin Tuna Jumping

I do miss the ocean but, with my photography work, I usually find myself photographing off of boats in various places around the world, so I get my fill of salt air and seafood throughout the year.

Shooting on a Hasselblad Film Camera.

BD:What mediums do you work in and what is your favorite?

Jessica Haydahl Richardson:I am a Professional Photographer. I grew up shooting film and still today collect and photograph with my film cameras any chance I can get. I used to have a darkroom and develop and print my images as well. There is something about the mechanical process of the camera and experience I have with it while shooting is what I love most about photography. I would definitely classify myself as a photography geek and a gear head!

Bald Eagle coming down for a fish in Haida Gwaii British Columbia

Recently I have been trying my hand at filmmaking. The editing software alone has been a bit of a learning curve but I have been enjoying the challenge.  I just want to try and document the world unfolding in front of my lens and hopefully be able to share that with everyone.

I was trying to fly fish and take pictures. I always feel torn between the two mediums.

BD:What are your other hobbies, and are they related to your artwork?

Jessica Haydahl Richardson:I love to fly fish, which directly relates to my work. I would say 90% of my photography is currently fishing related.  I never used to have a problem watching and photographing people fish until I fell in love with fly-fishing. Now it’s a lot harder to watch, but I love the challenge of trying to document the angler or fish in whatever environment I am in.

My horse Durango and I riding in the Bitterroot Mountians of Montana.

Being outdoors, horseback riding and building things are also passions of mine. I find it hard to sit still and am always on the move.

Bass Fishing Tail Spray.

BD:How did you get started and what was the evolution of your style?

Jessica Haydahl Richardson:I first picked up a camera back in high school in the early 2000’s. My mother had a 1979 Minolta SLR with various lenses that I always had my eye on. It wasn’t until I could take a photography class back in the 11th grade that I finally started to learn how to use that camera correctly and thus be able to transfer what I was seeing with my eyes into what I could emulate on film.

Jumping for joy, Vancouver British Columbia

Photography then was a hobby, but it took up most of my spare time, I would be outside shooting rolls after rolls of film. Documenting everything I could.

After high school I got a Women’s Ice Hockey scholarship to play NCAA DIV 1 Women’s hockey at University in Michigan.  I always had a camera in my hand and kept photographing as much as possible. It wasn’t until I started selling images to some of the coaches and athletic department employees that I then realized that my passion could be my profession.

Trout split release shot on the Bitterroot River.

Education Accomplishments

I received a degree in Business Administration, specializing in marketing advertising from Wayne State University.  I then went back to school in Vancouver and received a Professional Photo Imaging diploma.

It was through my Photography program that I managed to get land an internship working and photographing as an assistant for the head photographer for the Vancouver Canucks. Photographing NHL players and working in that professional environment is what I directly attribute to launching my career.

My photography style has always been photo journalistic based, so even on a more commercial type shoot, I really try and capture dynamic imagery while trying to tell a story of an event unfolding.

Peruvian woman taken on a backpacking trip in South America.

BD:What goals do you have for your artwork, what does the future hold?

Jessica Haydahl Richardson:I just want to keep trying to capture images that are dynamic and visually beautiful. Regardless if I am trying to capture fishing or landscapes or people, I think there is always a artful process or a way to tell the story that can hopefully bring people closer to my imagery and help them feel like they are right there in that moment with me when I pushed the camera trigger.

Yellowfin tuna, underwater shot from Coiba, Panama.

For all the fellow camera geeks out there: I love to photograph with prime lenses and shoot super wide open with a shallow depth of field. I feel like that look is starting to finally become more popular with commercial outdoor companies as well.

Jessica Haydahl Richardson BD Artist Spotlight
I was fly fishing for bass in Texas. Not the best caster, but I get the job done.

BD:Is there a message or theme behind your artwork?

Jessica Haydahl Richardson:I hope that when people look at my imagery that they can realize that they too can have some of the same experiences I have been lucky enough to capture. You just need to get outdoors and be present. And if they are aspiring photographers, I always tell people to practice, practice and practice some more. Snap away as much as you can and you will only get better.

One of the coolest places I have visited. Pryor Mountain Wild Horses.

BD:What or who inspires you?

Jessica Haydahl Richardson:With the advent of Instagram and other social media platforms out there, I definitely find I can get inspiration from so many amazing great artists in the industry.  The person though, that truly has inspired the majority of my photography work would be Ansel Adams. His images and his precise methods of not only capturing his images, but his darkroom techniques and methods were incredible.  In the digital age, I would say photography is not only more accessible, but is easier today, than the preciseness it took for artist to capture on film and then printing those images in the darkroom. I feel lucky that I started my career shooting film and directly attribute it to a lot of my in camera techniques and shooting style.

Sometimes you get waves right in the face while shooting.

BD:What has been the hardest project, or what is the hardest aspect of you photography?

Jessica Haydahl Richardson:A lot of my photography work requires me to be in not so favorable environments. Salt water, wind, waves and being on boats has made a simple day of photographing incredibly challenging at times. Sometimes when I am photographing marlin fishing, we might be backing down on a fish, taking wave after wave our faces. It’s hard to keep all your equipment safe and I have lost a lot of equipment over the years to the salt water.

Jessica Haydahl Richardson BD Artist Spotlight
Gearing up to go for a swim. I’m not the happiest swimmer, so always looking to be safe! Life Jacket on!

I think though, the more challenging places that you get to shoot in then the better of a photographer you will become. It’s all about practicing and developing methods that will work for you when you are in those tough environments. I never want my gear to hinder me while on a shoot, but it to be an extension of my eye.

Jessica Haydahl Richardson BD Artist Spotlight
Marlin Jumping, Panama.

BD:What brings you the most satisfaction or sense of accomplishment?

Jessica Haydahl Richardson:I get super excited when I nail a shot. There is nothing better than when you have the have perfect lighting and a fish jumps just at the right time and you nail the focus.  There are so many elements and things you can’t control when shooting sports fishing, so when it all comes together, there is no greater feeling.

Marlin Tagging.

A huge thanks to Jessica for sharing her story and amazing talents with us here on BD.  You can check out more of her work and follow her on any of the contacts below.


Instagram: @haydahlphoto

Facebook Fan Page