Simchock_061110_1493

David J. Simchock in the Sahara Desert in Morocco.

RAD Photographer / Artist / Instructor

interviewed by Dennis Ray

A native of New Jersey, award-winning photographer David Simchock has had a life-long interest in the arts, although his early career aspirations brought him into the corporate world, practicing as a mechanical engineer in New York City and later in corporate management in Great Britain.

Life as an ex-pat inspired David to further experience our planet’s many cultures, and in late 1999, he departed from his technical and managerial career and embarked on a world journey that would bring in the new millennium – an adventure that eventually lead him to five continents over a three-year period – while creating an impressive photo essay that would be admired by even the most seasoned travel photographer.

In early 2003, David founded Vagabond Vistas Photography – a creative venture combining his passion for both travel and photography. He and his partner, Beth, have since moved to the Asheville where they have a happy home in Weaverville. David operates a photography studio /gallery in Asheville’s River Arts District.

Rapid River Magazine: Tell us a little about what you see as the most important aspect of your photography.

David Simchock: Actually, I now have three key aspects to what I do as a photographer. I am a photographer. I am a fine artist. And, I am a teacher. All three are distinct business activities, and I am in the process of splitting these activities into their own, dedicated businesses and websites.

David Simchock Photography is be the home of my creative “shooting” (e.g., commissioned editorial and commercial assignments). Vagabond Vistas Photo Tours is the home of my “teaching” business. And, finally, soon-to-be launched David Simchock Fine Art venture is where you’ll find my artwork endeavors. I also run a photo blog called got f-stop?. Oh, and I write a monthly “Photography Tips & Tricks” column for Rapid River Magazine! How can I forget that?

RRM: Wow! You’re a very busy man! Where do you find the time to do all of that?

DS: At times, it’s not easy, especially now as I continue to get settled into the Asheville scene, while progressing the restructuring of my activities. Once all of the website work is complete, I should be able to free up some time and, hopefully, do some traveling, and spend more time with Beth and the kids.

RRM: You have quite an impressive portfolio of work. You must have a lot of stamps in your passport.

DS: I guess I have a few, but it’s been almost four years since I made it out of the country. All being well 2013 will bring with it two or three exciting excursions.

RRM: What do you have planned?

DS: I’m in the process of expanding the reach of my Vagabond Vistas business into international photo tours. I started doing day tours a few years ago in New York City and in Philadelphia and, since moving to Asheville, I’ve gotten things up and running here. I’ve been offering “mini” tours in Asheville, and also full-day events in the mountains.

But, the bigger news is that I’ll be running a week-long tour in Italy at the end of April, covering the Tuscany region (including Florence). I’m also about to announce another tour in Ecuador for mid-August, and have a couple of other destinations in mind, possibly for the 2013 calendar. Basically, I’m linking up with tour companies who are expert in logistics, and together we’re offering multi-day, educational photo tours.

For the Italy event, I’m partnering with a local company, Private Italy Tours Ltd (www.Private-Italy.com). Mark Smith, the owner, is a great guy with an abundance of experience in Italy and other parts of Southern Europe. It’s going to be an amazing journey!

For the Ecuador trip, I’m teamed up with another compnay that I met via an Asheville Chamber of Commerce networking event (Amazon Andes Sky www.AmazonAndesSky.com). Whereas the Italy tour will be more about the famous Tuscan landscape and medievil architecture, the Ecuador trip will focus on indigenous culture and people in the Andes Mountains.

I’m also interested in forming alliances with tour companies who specialize in other parts of the world, particularly Asia and Africa, but wouldn’t rule out New Zealand and Australia. I’m also exploring itineraries here in North America as well.

RRM: Photo tours. That sounds like a great idea for Asheville!

DS: Well, I’ve been doing them for a while in the Northeast, but I’m taking things to another level with the move south, and with my overseas trips. As can be seen by the many eclectic tour companies operating in Asheville, it’s a great place to establish my “photo tours”. There’s a lot of creative energy here in the local community and, of course, we get our fair share of tourists passing through.

RRM: What does a typical local tour look like?

DS: Tours can range from a two-hour “mini” experience in Downtown Asheville to a full-day nature tour at the Biltmore or in the mountains. The maximum group size for my local tours is only eight people, which allows me to provide personal attention to individuals, as well as work with everyone as a group. My job isn’t to merely show people the sites of Asheville. My job is to teach and to mentor. They’re fun events, and a great way to meet like-minded, creative spirits.

We will continue our interview with David in an upcoming issue of Rapid River Magazine.

Vagabond Vistas Photo Tours
c/o David J. Simchock
375 Depot Street, Suite 101, Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 216-6457
www.vagabondvistas.com

Also check out…
– David Simchock Photography, www.DavidSimchock.com
– got f-stop? Photo blog, www.gotfstop.com

And, soon to be launched…
– David Simchock Fine Art, www.DavidSimchockFineArt.com