“I realized life shouldn’t be this way. I was so unhappy. It got to a point where it was affecting my well-being.” Six years of toiling away at a job that didn’t fulfill him and spending countless hours in traffic were beginning to break Rob Sese. “My soul couldn’t take it anymore.” Photography, his passion, was relegated to weekends and vacation days.
“In photography, you learn that using different angles and perspectives usually achieves better results, and I have applied that same concept in life. Perspective taught me to look at my issues and problems in different ways and apply different actions towards them.” So, he shifted his perspective. “I realized nothing would change unless I took a risk and just went for what I was passionate about. Photography is what lights my soul, and it’s all I want to do in life.” After a year of preparation, he left his day job to become a freelance photographer.
Not long after, he took a trip to Washington state’s North Cascades. An Illinois native, Rob hadn’t seen landscapes like that before. He says, “Seeing those sights for the first time made me fall in love with nature.” He soon went on another road trip, this time through Washington, Oregon, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons. Unexpectedly, his perspective shifted again. “That whole trip blew my mind. After practicing almost every theme in photography, I found that outdoor/travel photography gave me the most happiness and creative fulfillment...I was hooked.”
He moved from Illinois to Washington state to pursue outdoor photography. “Being able to hike and bask in the natural surroundings gives me so much joy and peace. I chose outdoor photography because of the way nature makes me feel when I’m out there soaking in the moment. It's humbling to feel so small in the vastness of epic mountain ranges, and just being in the moment when I'm out in nature. I found my passion.”
Now, instead of spending his days in an office or in traffic, Rob spends much of his time outside, whether he’s working, engaging in deep conversations around a campfire, or contemplating the world around him and writing about it.
While many nature photographers focus on light and sun, a quick look at his Instagram feed reveals that Rob, unsurprisingly, has a different perspective. “The moody atmosphere here in the PNW – those dark days – evoke emotion and feeling. It’s always the “bad” weather that gives me the most transformative experience when I’m outside. Most of my favorite work came from really harsh, cold, moody weather. When we think of rain, we naturally think of it more as a negative than a positive, but what outdoor photography taught me is that so much positive happens when you "dance in the rain". Storms are always temporary. Having that perspective changed my life and well-being for the better.”