22-year-old Max Depatie’s first encounter with photography happened somewhat by chance, when he stumbled across a Nikon D3000 during his move from a small Southern Californian town up to San Francisco. “I had always seen the [camera] laying around, but I decided it was a good way to get out and explore my new surroundings…then I started to take my camera everywhere I went,” Max says.
Skimming through his heavenly snaps now, you could say that this accidental camera discovery some eight years ago was fate; a prophecy spelled out by the photography Gods to capture the scenery of life as an emigrant San Franciscan. And as his portfolio showcases, Max jumped at this destiny with a camera on his hip and the Bay Area peninsula in his focus. “I started to take photos around the age of 14. I really started to treat it as more than a hobby after about two or so years of taking photos,” he says.
Since then, Max has expanded his photography career from California to Chicago, and these cross-country road trips comprise some of his standout shots and memories. Whether he’s trailing a red convertible in hillside suburbia or traipsing through a neon-lit street in Michigan, Max’s work is expansive and expertly-composed.
“From helicopter rides over the Golden Gate Bridge, to seeing the sun hit the horizon and come right back up again in Iceland, it’s a bit hard to narrow down the craziest thing I’ve experienced while taking photos. [It was also crazy] to climb a crane in Chicago in the middle of a winter storm, overlooking the whole city as our hands froze. There are countless highlights and I know there will be countless more to come,” Max says.
But for all the high-stakes epicness that these experiences have created, it’s the quieter, simple moments on the road that Max enjoys the most. And, after all that travel, Max still relishes the manmade-meets-wilderness quality of his sunny hometown. “I love to be on the road, traveling with a very loose plan. There’s something so exciting about not knowing exactly what’s on the horizon… It’s hard to beat that feeling of knowing you stumbled across a composition that will be killer when the sun sets.”
“But there will always be something special about the Bay Area and the hills that surround San Francisco which make it such a unique place to shoot and find great compositions. I think I’ll always be drawn to that clash between the natural and built landscape,” Max says.
Scroll down for more of Max’s awe-inspiring work, and check out his Instagram here.