For eight years of his life, National Geographic Wildlife Photographer Joe Riss has been documenting animal migrations in the areas around Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. While most of us dream of calling ourselves National Geographic photographers, Riss talks about the difficult trials he endures on a daily basis in the film “Joe” by Andy Maser of Maser Films. Mainly shooting with cameras that only shoot when triggered by an approaching animal, Riss talks about the frustrations of returning to his camera everyday only to see that he hasn’t captured anything worthwhile.
In a lot of ways, my work feels meaningless on a day to day basis. A lot of times, I don’t make pictures. A lot of times, these electronics, always something messes up. Frequently, I’ll show up…and nothing. So I will look at the camera and think “Why the hell do I do this”. And then you get that gift once a year.
Riss gets personal and talks about the wrestling matches that his mind is constantly fighting. Is his work worth spending more time on than his girlfriend? Should he just become a normal Joe and get a job and have a normal relationship?
The film is an interesting and beautiful look into the mind of an accomplished wildlife photographer, the struggles he faces, and the dreams he aspires to accomplish. As Maser describes on the film’s Vimeo description:
“This film tells a more personal story of an oft idolized character to remind that even those who have achieved it all still face many of the struggles that everyone else does. It also celebrates how a man’s love for the wilderness has helped to further curiosity, respect and protection for the natural world around us.”
To see more from Joe Riss, visit his website.
To see more from Maser Films, visit their website.