Getting to Know Joel Robison - January 2023's 50/50 Challenge Judge

This Boxing Day, Rare Earth welcomes those playing on The Shooting Range to think about thinking OUTSIDE the Proverbial Box as we welcome to the Guest Judge whose work is often called "whimsical" and "inspirational' but above all should be synonymous with FUN!!!

First noticed for his creative chops by a major multinational brand and since featured across several major platforms, our January Guest Judge's journey as a photographer began (as many do) as an experiment. By taking the time to explore something outside the box, he stumbled upon something that is downright magical. To ring in 2023, we are extraordinarily pleased to introduce: Joel Robison!


Robison hails from Cranbrook, BC (Ktunaxa ɁamakɁis) and made the achingly difficult choice to walk away from one career that kept his boat afloat to another. While that career trajectory is not uncommon, the leap Joel made is hard to define. It sits in what many may call a "niche"genre, and the most interesting part of that is the "niche" he leapt into is that it's one that arguably didn't "exist" before he put his mark on it. 

Joel's credentials are impressive, but pale in comparison to the incredible body of work he has put out. His images are the perfect marriage of fiction, fantasy, and fearless self-expression we are starving for more of in today's world. Please join us in welcoming a master of Conceptual Portrait Photography and spend a few minutes getting to know him as you explore some of the whimsical storytelling he has earned his accolades for below.


What is the best advice you have ever gotten (or given)?

The best advice I've ever been given is when I met Jane Goodall. She told me that it was up to me to change the world and I've never forgotten it.

What was the last piece of equipment you bought or class you attended?

The last piece of equipment I've bought was an 85mm lens

What is your most (or how do you deal with your most) challenging professional struggle? (Digital hoarding, perfectionism/over-thinking, time management, etc.)

I struggle most with imposter syndrome and feeling self doubt. I get through that by talking with close friends and family and by trusting their conversations, I look back at my accomplishments or images I really like and it helps to get through those negative feelings.

If there was one thing you could change about the industry or an insider secret you think shouldn't be a secret, what would that be?

I wish the industry cared less about the gear we use and more about the work created with it.

What do you do to remain grounded, connected, balanced, and/or centred when life feels overwhelming?

I go running - going for a run always changes my mood for the better and allows me to unwind and make sense of things.

What is something you haven't done or tried yet, either as a personal or professional goal, that you hope to achieve in the next year?

I would love to learn more motion and animation to use in my work, I hope to learn more about using programs like After Effects to add this new element in my work.

Who do you admire (professionally or personally), and why?
I admire photographers like Dave Brosha, Lizzy Gadd, Renee Robyn, and Paul Zizka. They're not only good friends but they motivate me to work hard and constantly push myself to try new things and get out and do the work I need to do.

When and how did you know (or suspect) that you had found your calling as a creative?

Ever since I was a kid I always like to create, I would draw on every scrap peice of paper or in the margins of my notebooks, it wasn't until my mid-20's when I realized that I could actually pursue a life as an artist.

Do you have any advice to give (or that you wish someone else could give you) about maintaining work/life balance?

Finding balance as a creative can be tricky, what helps me is to give myself defined times to try and work within. Making sure I don't burn myself out by working unreasonable hours or saying yes to too many things. It's important to give yourself, as a person, time away from being creative.

If "Today" you could go back and tell "Last Year" (or Month or Week) you something, what would it be?

Good things are coming, you just need to open your eyes to them.


We are very very excited to share complete details of the first 50/50 Challenge of the New Year. Entries open when the Match Brief drops over at The Shooting Range on January 1, 2023 at 9:00am MST and will close at 11:59pm on January 21, 2023. If you'd like to learn more about Joel, we highly recommend this fabulous interview in Culture Trip and this one from The SLR Lounge.


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