Recently a colleague told me about the fine art photography by Harv Greenberg. Not only is his work breathtaking; Harv's story is incredible. Please join me on this journey with Harv and enjoy our conversation below. I cannot think of a better way to begin our 2014 Artists Series! Image above: Serenity, The Dead Sea in Jordan.
|A "Selfie" of Harv
Tell us how you made the decision to make time from your very busy medical career to become a photographer.
There’s little doubt that I am a very fortunate individual. I've always considered the practice of medicine to be a privilege. To have the ability to intervene in the lives of my patients when it matters most is a gift I have always treasured. Having the time and the resources to pursue my other passions of adventure travel and photography allows me to express my creative self and provides me with an entirely different feeling of satisfaction. I typically work a 70-hour week as a full-time, hospital-based radiologist specializing in MRI. My medical practice affords me the luxury of taking one week off each month which then allows me the time to travel to some amazing, far away destinations on all seven magnificent continents. Finding the proper balance in life is essential.
|Spiritual Skies, Machu Picchu Peru
Were you interested in art from a young age?
When I was younger I was primarily focused on pursuing a career as a physician. I spent my summers in high school and college performing research at Johns Hopkins, U.C. Davis and the Huntington Institute of Applied Medical Research and was fortunate to have published in the medical literature prior to entering the U.C. San Francisco School of Medicine. I knew from a very early age that medicine was my calling.
My father was born with a serious congenital heart defect and was treated by a world famous pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Helen Taussig. When I was just five years old, he had written to tell her that his son wanted to become a physician. Years later, when I was in college working at Johns Hopkins on a research grant, I looked up my father’s medical records and found the letter he had written to Dr. Taussig proclaiming my interest in becoming a physician. You can only imagine my surprise!
After I completed the four requisite years of medical school, a year of internship, four more years of residency in radiology followed by a one-year fellowship in MRI, I entered private practice. Soon thereafter, I began pursuing my love affair with adventure travel and photography. Specializing in the very highly technical field of medical imaging and the very creative endeavor of landscape, nature and wildlife photography has provided me with an absolutely perfect sense of balance and direction in life.
What countries and cities have inspired your works the most and where do you plan to travel next?
Without a doubt, the three adventures I treasure most amongst all of my travels around the world are the three weeks I spent circumnavigating the waters off Antarctica, the time I spent tracking silverback gorillas in the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda and one fabulous morning photographing Paris. You can only imagine the pristine natural wonders to be seen on the Antarctic continent. Seeing tens of thousands of King Penguins en masse was simply indescribable. Watching the blue hued icebergs floating like candelabras in Antarctica’s Paradise Bay as the sun rose was truly one of the most breathtaking moments I have ever enjoyed.
|China, The Great Wall
Several years ago on vacation in Paris, I woke up around 3 a.m. suffering from my usual jet lag. Rather than toss about for the next few hours in bed, I threw on some clothes, grabbed my Nikon and jumped in a taxi heading for the Champs Elysees. Paris was silent at that hour. The streets were empty and it seemed as though I had the city all to myself. I walked for miles photographing some of the most amazing architectural landmarks in the world including the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. As the sun began to rise over the horizon, the artistry of the city came to life and all I could see through my lens was magic. It was everywhere!
Capturing experiences in photographs like the sun setting over the Moai in Easter Island or the Tibetan monks chanting in prayer in Lhasa or the Silverback gorillas playing in the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda is what drives me.
This evening I’m off to the United Arab Emirates to visit Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Sahara Desert. The architecture photography should be amazing. In February I’ll spend a week hiking in fabulous Patagonia. Come March I’ll be on a very special adventure visiting London first and then flying off to the Maldives and the gorgeous turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Finally, in April I’ll be wading through chest deep waters in the Columbia River Gorge in the hopes of capturing some inspiring photographs of waterfalls.
Are there artists and photographers whose works have influenced you?
The photographers whose work I admire most include Yousuf Karsh (one of the world’s greatest portrait photographers), Julius Shulman (a founding father of American architectural photography) and Peter Lik (a photographer who’s ability to capture nature at its finest is nearly unsurpassed).
Harv you pay it forward in so many ways…what are the charities that you support through your work?
As I mentioned before, I feel so very fortunate in so many ways. Having traveled to all seven continents, I've seen first hand the immense poverty in a host of foreign countries, the struggles of oppressed peoples and the need for conservation efforts to preserve the wilderness and protect our precious wildlife. Donating 10% of the profits from Harv Greenberg Photography to four extraordinary charities (Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, Action Against Hunger, The Tibet Fund and Rainforest Alliance) is my way of helping to effect a change in the world at large.
These organizations are very fortunate to have your support!
Do you have upcoming exhibits planned for 2014? Where can people view and purchase your photographic works of art?
I have an on-going exhibit at the Spencer Art Gallery in historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina. Currently I’m displaying a collection of international wildlife photographs for the upcoming Southeastern Wildlife Exhibition to be held in Charleston on February 14th-16th. My photography can also be viewed and purchased on my website at www.HarvGreenberg.com.
Finally, what words of advice would you give to the aspiring artist of any age?
Quite simply, the most important thing for all of us to remember is that life is short so follow your passions!
Harv, thank you so much for sharing your art,insights, and travels with us. Your life is one many people can only dream of; however your story is a reminder to live life to the fullest and strive to make whatever dreams one has come true!
Thank you to my friends and followers who continue to support the arts!
The Arts by Karena
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