We feature photographers every month, illustrating how much talent resides in Cincinnati. This month's spotlight isn't just a skilled photographer — he's a master. J. Miles Wolf's work has been published, shown in museums like the Smithsonian, and he's in countless private collections.
Mr. Wolf is a professional who has been capturing Cincinnati (among other things and places) for years. If you're interested in architectural photography or have even the slightest finger on the pulse of local photographers, you've likely seen his work or heard his name. Even César Pelli, one of the most globally-famous architects who designed Downtown's Aronoff Center, said, "I believe he is one of the best architectural photographers working today."
That's huge. We wanted to ask him a couple of questions about his past and present, and he put together a fantastic selection of images in the gallery above.
Cincinnati Refined: Sum yourself up in a couple sentences.
J. Miles Wolf: As a photographer, publisher, and artist born and raised in Cincinnati, I am a prolific shooter who loves photographing a wide range of subjects, including urban scenes, landscapes, sports, and architecture. I’m currently working on several corporate art installations, two fine art exhibits, and I’m self-publishing two new editions of previously sold-out books.
CR: What got you into photography?
JMW: My mother was an artist who frequently took me to the Cincinnati Art Museum where she encouraged me to pursue my passion. My love for travel and exploring new places led me to photography — a career that allowed me to pursue these passions. I began taking photography courses at Tulane University, and then started selling my work at art shows around the country.
CR: What’s your camera of choice?
JMW: I am currently shooting with a D850 Nikon digital camera. In the film days, I shot 4x5 and medium format transparencies and made my own Cibachrome prints. My newest challenge is learning to create photographs with drone technology.
CR: The one lens you can’t live without?
JMW: I use a variety of lenses all the time, but the wide-angle Nikon 14-24 f/2.8 is one that’s always in my camera bag. It’s extremely sharp with a great depth-of-field.
CR: Most memorable/favorite experience while shooting?
JMW: I get excited about shooting all the time, but one great experience was at the Grand Canyon with my son, Weston. We arrived there during a rainstorm, but as the clouds parted, we got some beautiful light at the end of the day. When a rainbow briefly appeared just as the sun was setting, it created a moment I’ll never forget. (Photo #9 in the gallery above)
CR: How would you describe your photographic style?
JMW: Bold, colorful imagery integrated with well thought-out compositions. I love taking all kinds of photographs, especially during the magic hour of sunset and twilight. Digital technology has provided some great new tools like HDR and High ISO that give us photographers new ways to capture images.
CR: What’s at the top of your photography bucket list?
JMW: I love traveling to interesting international locations for the amazing natural beauty and historical significance. Currently, I have my sights set on New Zealand and the 2020 Olympics in Japan.
CR: Any advice for aspiring photographers?
JMW: Shoot lots of images, review them right away, and learn from them what is working and what’s not. Find subjects you are passionate about, and assemble a portfolio and a website of carefully selected images. I also advise using a tripod to slow yourself down, and to avail yourself of the full abilities of your camera.
CR: Motto to live by.
JMW: Love what you do and do what you love.
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See J. Miles Wolf's recent work in the gallery above. You can also see more of his work on his website.