Fstoppers Interviews Photographer Jeremy Cowart, Maker of 'I'm Possible'

Jeremy Cowart is a household name in the photography industry. Recently Jeremy was classified as one of the 30 most influential photographers on the web by the Huffington Post. After studying graphic design, he continued on to become a well-known celebrity photographer. We all know him from famous photos of Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and even the Kardashians. But who is Jeremy Cowart? And what motivates him to be a photographer, an artist, and a humanitarian? 

Jeremy is somewhat of an entrepreneur. From launching his own photography teaching platform "See University", to starting his own app "OKDOTHIS", to creating a worldwide foundation called "Help Portrait", Jeremy has always thought outside the boxIt didn't start out that way, though; as you can see in the video, Jeremy struggled academically. But his father gave him something that he could hold on to, telling him: "You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you." By believing and having faith, Jeremy challenged himself to take graphic design as a college course. Then, he had to take a photography class in college, but got a D. Fast forward down the road to a mentor named Jimmy Abegg, who told him that he should grab a camera and start taking photos. Falling back on faith, Jeremy bought a book called "Digital Photography for Dummies" and learned all that he needed to know to get started. From there, the rest is history. He started photographing his musician friends and from there, he stumbled upon Sting and became a celebrity photographer. 

To be a successful entrepreneur, you are going to have to learn to deal with impossibility, just like Jeremy did. There is no way around it. Thomas Edison tried over ten thousand different experiments before he finally demonstrated the first incandescent light bulb on October 21, 1879. Michael Jordan was once quoted as saying: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.”

I'm sure that throughout Jeremy's photography career, he has doubted himself more times than he can count. He has also had numerous instances of success, but it’s not even close to how many times he had to overcome an obstacle or difficulty. Imagine if Jeremy followed every teacher's advice, telling him that he wasn't smart, or something was impossible. The failures far outweigh the successes; that's the challenge of being a creative entrepreneur. Without failure, there will be no success, but without trying, there will be no failure. It’s the nature of the business of being an entrepreneur and of success in general. 

In my opinion, the most important thing is how you deal with the impossible; remember, Jeremy lived by the phrase: "You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you". Whether you subscribe to a specific religion, once you accept that the impossible is inevitable, you are able to learn from your mistakes and move on. It’s easy to let the failure consume you — not so much because you are pessimistic, but more so because it is hard to see something that you poured your heart and soul into be ignored or rejected. The sooner you can objectively analyze why you hesitated and learn the things necessary for improvement in the future, the better you'll be. Just like Jeremy reiterates in the video, "impossible" spells "I'm possible." Thinking that something is impossible is very challenging and extremely frustrating. Don’t believe me? Ask Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, or Michael Jordan! Ok, asking Thomas Edison might be a little tough, but you get the idea.

One thing that stands out with Jeremy aside from his career as a photographer is that he proclaims his faith publicly with no hesitation. He also loves taking photos of his children. Having two biological and two adopted children, Jeremy embraces the love for his family. There's definitely so many different ways that you can enjoy photography, but Jeremy loves to document his children's lives. 

Jeremy also touches base on photographers he admires, including Joey L., Annie Leibovitz, and Dan Winters. He's also inspired by younger, unknown artists who post their photos on Instagram. Overall, he loves seeing artists and their craft. Ultimately, what motivates him to continue to take pictures is that he is a dream chaser; he has ideas constantly and he tries to accomplish them by having that constant reminder from his father.

In essence, diving deeper and figuring out what voice you want to have as an artist is what Jeremy advises young creatives to do. Even though you might be focused on certain genres of photography (architecture, portraits, weddings, etc.), those might not be your passion. Find your passion and figure out how to put your unique stamp on that voice — that's part of what makes us grow as artists. While Jeremy loves to embraces the unknown, he is now facing the biggest journey yet: the idea of his hotel. Embracing the unknown and standing by his faith is definitely not an impossible challenge, but rather, a possibility that's ready to be encountered. Finding something or someone in which to put your faith can make impossibility nonexistent. Where do you turn?

Isaac Alvarez's picture

Isaac Alvarez is a Los Angeles-based photographer. His work is a reflection of contemporary/cinematic. While his images are often on the edge of any situation, photographing the situation is not nearly as interesting as photographing the edges of human emotions.

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Where's the interview?

The video at the top? I guess he was given a list of things to talk about, rather than straight question/answer scenario.

That video was what Jeremy Cowart made. That has been out for like a week now. At most this is a summary of his video. Unless there is something I am missing.

It's just a sales pitch for his website tutorials :\

I wouldn't say that. Pay attention to the whole thing. Jeremy briefly touches on that but talks about something much bigger towards the end. While I don't agree with the whole "FStoppers Interview" part I don't think its right to go off and say that a video is about something when you clearly don't know.

My thoughts as well Kris, I dont fell like the interview is suppose to be the video, that was his own project not the fstoppers interview

There was a Q&A but unfortunately we don't do Q&A post. At the bottom I added a few advice he gave and where he gets inspiration.

Still do not understand his help portrait thing on any level, but I've followed him for awhile and he seems like an honest and hard working guy with an extremely artistic streak. I definitely like his photography a lot.

Help Portrait is basically photographers that donates their time to give portraits to people. It's a great cause you should look into it.

Where's the interview? Am I on the right page? I clicked on: "Fstoppers Interviews Photographer Jeremy Cowart, Maker of 'I'm Possible'"... looks like an infomercial. Thanks for wasting my time and bandwidth.

I'm a big fan of his photography but I couldn't watch the video for the same reason I unfollowed his FB page. I was hoping it wasn't going to go in a certain direction but I got as far as the "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"......sorry I'm out. I'm just not into religion and I always find it a shame to see talented people credit an imaginary friend for something they themselves have achieved. Its obviously his thing and he's fully entitled to talk about it. It'd just rather appreciate his photography without the sermon.

It's who he is, which is why he is talking about it. Just like you not being religious is who you are, which is why you are talking about it. You're preaching, too, bro, just a different message. If you don't like his message that's fine, but you should understand that you're putting your beliefs out there hoping that others believe what you believe, too.

No you're quite wrong there, my lack of belief is not who I am. No more then me not collecting stamps is my hobby. If theres any photographer, retouchers or artists I take an interest in its because of the work they do in that field, and not whatever other irrelevant activities or beliefs they chose to take part part in. In all honesty I couldn't care less if he's a devout christian or a satanist. It really has no baring on his photography or what I appreciate about him. I don't know the religious beliefs of any others photographer, retoucher or artist that I'm a fan of, and yet I'm sure plenty of them have religious beliefs. I just don't know about them because they don't constantly refer to them or preach about them while discussing their work. If its a simple case of that's how Jeremy Cowart opts to define himself then that's fine. I can simply chose not to look or listen. I just find it a shame as I do very much appreciate his work.

As for the comment of me putting my "beliefs" out there hoping others believe what I believe. Apart from that being a really odd thing to say, you're also completely incorrect again. I regularly check out Fstoppers for the photography related news and the inspiring work in the community posts. I wouldn't expect nor would I particularly care to see religious debates or topics here as it really has zero relevance to do with photography. Which is exactly while I feel its unfortunate trying to take an interest in Jeremy Cowarts work that the two seem to be mutually exclusive for him. I accept it, I just think its unfortunate.

I think you're missing my point, Dave. My point is that you, in essence, went out of your way to post a comment stating that you didn't want to hear his religion. But in that very action you are making your own statement on religion. You put your religious views out there for all of us to see. Not only that, but nothing that Jeremy Cowart said was insulting or aggressive. In contrast, you insultingly said referred to his God as his "imaginary friend." Do you possess all knowledge? Do you know, with all certainty, that there's no God? Have you scoured the entire universe and everything outside of this universe, to be so sure that there is no God that you would insult someone else for believing as such?
You are doing exactly what you are frustrated with him for doing. Your beliefs compelled you to assert your beliefs publicly in your post, just as his beliefs compelled him to publicly assert his in his video.
I'm not trying to berate you or take an angry tone here, so please don't hear that from me. I just find it hypocritical to call out a guy for putting his beliefs out there.... And in doing so you put your beliefs out there. It's that scenario of the pot calling the kettle black.

Ok I think we may have a common ground here. If I accepted that my "imaginary friend" comment was inappropriate, then by exactly the same merit that also means Jemery's regular references to his religion are equally inappropriate. His belief is no more valid to him then a lack of belief is to any atheist. More importantly neither have any relevance whatsoever to do with photography.

You also don't have to look too hard to find reasons somebody may be offended by religion. I live in a country where there are countless people directly effected by the sexual and mental abuse inflicted by and swept under the carpet by the Catholic church. There's barely a day goes by where there aren't reports of some act of terrorism committed in the name of religion somewhere around the world. There's parts of the world where not following the states religion is punishable by death. There are vile acts of cruelty and torture carried out routinely as religious ceremonies. Religion has been directly responsible for the condemning of contraception leading to the spread of HIV and AIDS in many third world countries. Its also been responsible for the sickening condemnation of homosexuality resulting in everything from people being alienated from their own families to people even being put to death. I wouldn't imagine any of this comes as news to you as I'm giving you the benefit of doubt that you're an educated adult. So please don't be so ignorant to suggest that the mention of religion isn't insulting or offensive to anybody.

You're also wrong about me going out of my way to bring it up though. I was responding to Jeremy's regular references to religion on his photography page and videos. That's not going out of my way at all. It a very fair observation and completely in context given the fact that very few other photographers make an issue or feel the need to talk about their religious beliefs when discussing their work.

War is started by people not religion. People use excuses or their beliefs to cause harm to others. People have free will and what they choose is what they do, it's not base on religion, money or race. This is how war starts and hatred towards others. We should learn to accept everyone for who they are, not judge them by their faith. Yes I agree some people use religion to kill, abuse and dislike people but that doesn't mean that the religion caused this. Going back to what mother's say, if you can't say something nice at all don't say it. I have opinions with other photographers but that doesn't mean I have to bring out what I dislike about them. Yes Jeremy has great work that doesn't mean you have to agree with him, he is simply expressing his beliefs.

Isaac I'm commenting on what I seen in the content of a photography video, that was posted on a photography website, by somebody who is a world famous photographer, who sells photography tuition. My comment that its a shame to have to religious sermon spilled into this or any photography related content is perfectly valid as its just not in any way related. Of course I understand that not every religious person is responsible for the things I mentioned above, but the very topic of religion is divisive and has no place here. I think I've made my point quite clear that I'm not a fan of religion and I'm certainly not the only one. Jeremy is of course free to hold whatever beliefs he wants, and equally to share them however he chooses. His comments are considerably more out of context then mine though. I haven't said once that he shouldn't be voicing his beliefs. I do however find it both inappropriate and unfortunate.

I definitely think it's relevant due to that fact that he acquired his talents through his faith. Now as a reader or as a member you decide whether you should read an article or skip through. Jeremy proclaims that through his faith which is where he acquired his talents. He is simply sharing his beliefs and how he became successful. If someone would say that they got their talents through watching tutorials or experimenting then is that acceptable? Then why would Jeremy's beliefs would be any different? Bottom line is that this is his story and his beliefs, where does it say he can't share that as a testimonial to how he got started in photography. We all have origins and your origins might be different than his but it's still your origin on how you got started in "Photography" or being an artist in general. Without his beliefs do you think that he will still be Jeremy Cowart Photographer? Don't we encourage to stand for what we believe in here on Earth or that changes once we talk about religion? I know we have freedom of speech and we can tell people our opinion but where do we draw the line. Where do we say that this is simply not an opinion but merely bullying. What defines bullying? I'm just saying all this cause I know if someone says anything hurtful or negative about your beliefs you wouldn't like it either.

Look we all are entitled to our own opinion and all I'm saying is let's keep it clean for everyone here on FStoppers. Everyone is here to learn and I am a firm believer of sharing your knowledge and story can impact someones creative goals. Let everyone take what they want to take base on the article. Saying anything negative doesn't help anyone but can cause a thread of negative energy.

This is my last reply on it as you're either not reading or not understanding my point. You're still replying as if I've said he shouldn't express his religious beliefs. I've repeatedly said he's fully entitled to. My opinion is that it's a shame that he feels the need to talk so much about it as to somebody who doesn't share his beliefs this seems very much unrelated and frankly a bit ridiculous. Also why on earth are you bringing bullying into this? That's almost as much of an unrelated curve ball as watching what you thought was a photography video to then be lectured about Jesus. The point people of faith never seem to grasp is their beliefs, however real they seem to themselves, seem absolutely absurd to people who don't share their beliefs. I had no intention in this being a religious debate as it's really not the place for that. Although when it was suggested that the mention of religion was harmless I was more then happy to give a few examples of the many reasons somebody may find religion offensive. My point from my first post remains it's still a shame to have to listen to Jeremys preaching as it's an irrelevant devise topic that doesn't have any relevance to the topic of photography. I do fully accept he's entitled to do so (kinda getting tired of making that point) but it's equally my right to find it unfortunate.