Phillip Laws

What inspired you to become the artist that you are today?

If I had to really trace back to how I got into photography- it was my mom. She was always taking photos of us as kids and we all hated it with a passion… including myself. Growing up I went on many trips/vacations and at the time we used primarily disposable cameras. In elementary school, during my 5th grade year, I went on my first trip without my family. I took two disposable Kodak cameras on my first school related venture to Norfolk, VA. Being only in the 5th grade the photos didn’t really come out great but what was planted in me would soon sprout.

At the same time I was in Boy Scouts becoming an Eagle Scout. I got nominated as the troops historian around middle school and part of being the historian was to document the troops trips and tell stories about what we did and how we overcame issues while backpacking, biking, canoeing and the such. Again armed with my trusty Kodak disposable cameras I clicked the shutters away but with much better understanding of what I was capturing.

Fast forward to 2006/2008. I purchase my first real DSLR, a Nikon D40, with interchangeable lenses. Still in college but with a strong passion for cars and going to car shows and meets. I began understanding more about Aperture, ISO, Shutter speed and composure. The photos were coming out ok in my head but never perfect.

Fast forward again to today, I’m now a photographer for an independent BMW shop and operate their social media handles. Now with more cash flow I have since upgraded from my D40 to a D700 and now to a D800 and D800E as backup. The photos are looking better and better with each click but something felt like it was missing. I couldn’t help but reminisce back to how those first photos looked from the old disposable film cameras. For my every day work for the shop I stay true to my digital technique but for my personal satisfaction I have migrated back to film. I purchased a used Olympus OM-1 a 50mm and some film and was instantly transported back in time to when I didn’t even know I liked photography. I’ve since added an FM2 and a F100 to my collection. You could say I have gear acquisition syndrome pretty badly. I haven’t stopped shooting and it wasn’t until recently that I have really wanted to purely follow my passion for photography which is were I feel my heart truly lies.


What interests you most about the art that you create? Why do you do it? What’s the goal?

What interests me the most about the photos I create given either on Film or Digital is creating a memory that has been frozen in time and being able to go back and look at it and remember who was there and the feelings that were felt. Photography brings a whole new meaning to a photo is worth more than a 100 words.


How many hours weekly do you spend perfecting, practicing, or thinking about your art?

Never enough. I want to dedicate so much more to photography. I have read books and I own several publications by Chris Burkard, Ray Collins and a few others for inspiration. I do shoot every day at-least 10-20 shots I would guestimate on my digital cameras but the film cameras don’t get used nearly as much since my day job is from 7:45-6/6:30. I want to do so much more and continue getting better in my craft.


What has been your biggest struggle in your journey to becoming an artist?

Support from friends, family and co workers. Money does sometimes worry me but I feel that if I practice and do what I love that will follow. I know and understand with arts there can be lots of downtime and no cash flow but then there are good times.




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Where do you see yourself, as an artist, in 5 (or 10) years?

Hopefully an established photographer in the Raleigh area, have at-least one book/magazine published with at-least one of my photos and have been in one art exhibit.


Do you have a day-job or are you working on something other than your art?

I do have a day job as a photographer for a BMW independent shop named Bimmer Performance Center. I also maintain their social media pages.


Name one artist in your field that you really look up to, or one artist whose work you look forward to.

Chris Burkard.


Name one of your favorite artists that you have worked with or would like to work with in the future.

Unfortunately, I don’t know many of the local photographers but I would definitely like to meet them and hopefully work with more than just one hopefully all of them.


Tell us about the featured art you chose to share with us.

This photo was during my older brother’s birthday. He is sitting next to my dad and the two of them are laughing. I shot it on film and in Black and White. It is one of my first shots in Black and White. Its by no means a good photo but it captures the moment where both of them are so happy to share the day together and can just relax and not worry about the stresses happening all around them. If I had to re-take that photo I would still take it in black and white but would have gone for better light to better illuminate the room.


List your top 5 favorite tools (or gear, software) that you use to create with.

  1. Nikon D800
  2. 50mm 1.8
  3. Capture 1
  4. 85mm 1.8
  5. Nikon F100


List your top 5 favorite songs right now.

I don’t listen to Spotify and I barely listen to Pandora. I mainly listen to the radio and that’s typically on 100.7 or 95.3. But If I had to pick 5 songs they would be:

  1. Heat of the Moment by Asia
  2. Your Love by The Outfield
  3. Mandolin Wind by Rod Stewart
  4. Turn the Page by Metallica (I like this version better than the Bob Seger oddly)
  5. Simple Man by ShineDown (Same thing oddly I like this version better than Lynyrd Skynyrd)


What book would you choose to bring with you if you were stranded on an island?

This is a toughy… I would have to say Ansel Adams: An Autobiography. I really like this book and it has really opened my eyes to environmental conservation as well as well how important friendship is. Even though I have already read it I would read it again multiple times.


If you want to know more about Phillip and the art he creates, check him out on Instagram. Keep creating!