Joshua Niven Photography | Exposing The THRU Project

We would like to introduce CMD client Joshua Niven, nature enthusiast, artist and photographer. Joshua and crew are about to embark on a 7 month hike to complete and document the 2,181 mile Appalachian Trail like none other. This Thru-Project is the first of this caliber for Joshua and CMD will be tracking their progress along the way. Let’s learn a little about Josh and be sure to check back to follow the progress. Good luck Josh! All eyes are on you!

“In my mind anything and everything that pulls emotion from your body is art and a camera can reflect these feelings with no hesitation.”

{Why and when did you become a photographer?}

Photography has always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My single mother worked as a stylist and makeup artist for photographers so I spent a lot of time hanging out in photo studios and being exposed to the whole photography culture in Charlotte, NC.  I never spent much time actually creating photography until I started high school and found myself in an awesome photography course with a teacher that inspired me to start capturing images. I think what really got me hooked on photography was the fact that I saw an opportunity to excel at something that came natural to me. This was a new feeling and it was awesome!



My grandmother is an artist  and when I was a kid my mother and grandmother tried to offset my hyperactive tendencies with hands on artistic projects which put me in a position at a very young age to understand line, form, color and most importantly how to express my thoughts and visions. I owe all of this to one particular project my grandmother would always make me do, she would take a piece of paper and a pen, blindfold me and make me make draw;  then she would take the blind fold off and I would have to create a work of art from whatever I thought the crazy lines on the paper could be. This little exercise I think may have been a catalyst for all the creation to come in my life.


{How would you describe your style of photography?}

Photography for me is everything. No matter what you do, no matter who you are, no matter what you’re involved with, it can be captured, manipulated and turned in to an exciting piece of art. In my mind anything and everything that pulls emotion from your body is art and a camera can reflect these feelings with no hesitation.


My photography is a direct reflection of my personality, It is about the hyper real and surreal, its about taking color and light and letting it explode off the page captivating the viewer.

One of the most important things on this earth to me is nature, and the life force of nature is light. Taking light and using it as the utmost characteristic of my work helps me express my passion for nature. When I look at my photography I want to see line, shape and excitement, taking all the basic elements of art and blowing them up like a balloon just to the point right before it bursts is what its all about. When I was in my formative years of photography it was Black and White, always, and it was about graphic forms and lines, a direct shot to the ole silver gelatin gut.  Now with the rise of technology I spend my time exploiting all the ins and outs of the digital craft. It is important to me to maintain the hands on experience that came from doing work in darkrooms and apply it to the post production of my digital work, I find my hands on craftsmanship coming out through printing and all the amazing ways you can process your work after it leaves the digital world and hits the paper, metal, wood whatever.


{What is your most difficult challenge in the business?}

I think the most challenging part of the business really has nothing to do with business at all. I have the hardest time dealing with my own excitement and patience; getting excited and attached to the challenge of completing an idea.

The unfortunate part about photography is the need for expensive equipment and all the ins and outs required to complete an idea. I recently came to the conclusion that inspiration is my everyday time travel, the idea hits me, I see it, I feel it, I taste it and then a few days, a few weeks, a few months later I am all of a sudden back were I started but instead of the senses existing in my imagination or minds eye, I am there in real time looking at where I went in my mind when the idea was created.

{Where would you like to see your talents take you?}

I want my talent’s to take me to places where I am inspiring others and using my work to help better our world. It seems so generic and overdone already in this world but for me everyone lives in there own reality and these realities effect others realities and I am a firm believer that any single moment in your life, any sentence that comes out of someone’s mouth, any image that you catch from a book or gallery can single handedly change who you are and what you are doing.

“Photography for me is everything. No matter what you do, no matter who you are, no matter what you’re involved with, it can be captured, manipulated and turned in to an exciting piece of art.”

I want to reciprocate; I want to be a part of the cycle and give someone the gift of that ‘OH YEA’ moment. All of that aside, I want to make work that goes beyond creating pretty things and helps awareness of our natural wilderness’s and preservation of this magical place that we live in. In my book, nature is number one and I strive to have all my projects to raise money or awareness of our natural world and reflect the magical world we were all meant to live in.


My first major project is occurring right now, The Thru-Project. This project is based on a completion of a thru hike of the 2,181 mile Appalachian Trail. A huge portion of who I am, as a person and as an artist, happened while hiking on the AT over the past 6 years. Its time for me to give back and I am doing so by creating a photo narrative unlike anything EVER created before on the Appalachian Trail. We are putting the cutting edge of photographic equipment, experience, and process into this project and the result will be nothing short of breathtaking. Twenty-five percent of our proceeds from the publication and gallery showings will be annually donated to the AT to help with conservancy forever!

You can check out our project and fundraising campaign at


{Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration?}

When I am not creating I am skateboarding. Much of my inspiration comes not so much from the skateboarding itself but the life style and the expression involved. Secondly as said before, nature in all of its glory, my church, my connection to the life source or whatever it is that exists that is truly real in this world comes from nature. ALWAYS, my mother, my father, my grandmother, my siblings, my family these are all sources of inspiration for me. Creating success and understanding about who I am for them is always important. I grab much inspiration from other photographers and artists, namely Alejandro Chaskielberg,  just nails it for me, his use of color and light just screams magic and I love him for it. Simon Johan is by far another one of my favorites. Most importantly though what inspires me is just this world and the possibilities of what it could be with the right direction and love.


{Tell us little about your studio.}

For now my studio consists of all my artwork surrounding me, a huge printer my computer and my cameras, sculpting materials and paint brushes. I will soon be living in the woods for six months working on my project so the my studio will be mother earth. I look forward to some day inhabiting a warehouse that will hopefully be sitting on a body of water featuring a half pipe for my skateboarding addiction!


{What advice would you give to an aspiring photographer starting out?}

My advice for any aspiring photographer is first and foremost craftsmanship. Your craftsmanship should always be seamless unless your intentions are otherwise. Make work that’s YOU. Find your own style, find what you love and exploit it for all its glory. Make nothing to fit into anyone’s categories, don’t just take pictures, capture masterpieces that scream YOU! Unless you have to pay bills and you have no choice LOL.

Please Visit Joshua’s CMD website

Facebook for the Thru Project.

Website for the Thru Project 

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