Fifteen and Focused on the World

Upon returning from a life-changing trip to Costa Rica when he was only eleven years old, Joe Goldberg (joe_goldberg on Instagram) decided to spend his bar mitzvah money on his first camera. Now fifteen, the high schooler, who lives with his parents in Washington, D.C., expresses his teenage self through the art of photography. Moose in Maligne Lake, Alberta, Canada / Photo by Joe Goldberg

What’s more, the young adventurer wants to inspire others to travel and explore the world, too. At an age when his peers may search for their raison d'être on the Internet, this millennial gets out and uses photography to bring life into perspective.

Antelope Canyon, US / Photo by Joe Goldberg

A conversation with teen photographer Joe Goldberg

Photographer Joe Goldberg at Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada

AM   Who are you in a nutshell?

JG   I am a fun and energetic fifteen year old who loves to travel to the wildest places, take photos, and explore.

AM   How did you find your way to photography?

JG   I was eleven years old when I went to Costa Rica and really discovered some of the most natural beauty in the world. I then realized capturing memories with photography is a really cool thing. I realized how passionate I am about photography, so I decided to purchase a camera with the money I received after my bar mitzvah.

"I then realized capturing memories with photography is a really cool thing."

AM   What does being fifteen mean for your creative work?

JG   I think the role my young age plays in my creative work is having this constant urge as a young kid to travel and see things most people won’t be able to see in a lifetime.

Iceberg through ice, Iceland / Photo by Joe Goldberg

AM   How do you balance school, teenage life, and your work as a pro photographer?

JG   I attempt to get the best grades I can, so I can afford to miss a couple days of school here and there when I travel. I hang out with friends and family when I can. And when I get the chance to go out on an adventure, I will take the opportunity and then return to my normal, everyday life in Washington D.C.

AM   What do the mountains mean to you?

JG   The mountains play a big role in my photography. Probably, because I believe mountains make for the coolest photographs. My favorite activity also has to do with mountains, which is hiking. To see those insane views after a strenuous hike is one of the best feelings!

"I believe mountains make for the coolest photographs."

Moraine Lake at Sunrise / Photo by Joe Goldberg

AM   What inspires you in your work as photographer?

JG   What inspires me is being able to share the beauty of the world with everyone. I love to capture memories and to look back on these incredible experiences I have been lucky enough to have. I love to hear how impressed people are with my work, which is a really big motivation to bring back the best work I can from these adventures I take. I also use my photos to try to encourage people to go out and explore.

AM   What’s your favorite place in the world?

JG   My favorite places I have been to have to be Iceland and Alberta. Alberta because the number of lakes and the abundant wildlife just blow my mind. You never know what to expect in the Canadian Rockies, and that is why I decided to go back over the summer after having gone during Spring Break. My other favorite place has to be Iceland. Every five minutes, you see a totally different landscape. I would love to return soon.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Iceland / Photo by Joe Goldberg

AM   What’s most important to you in life?

JG   The most important things in my life are my family and friends. However, being able to see the beauty in this world and pursue my dreams of being a the best professional photographer I can be is also something very important to me.

AM   When are you the happiest?

JG   I am the happiest when I am in nature, experiencing the amazing sights the world has to offer.

AM   What are you up to next?

JG   I just finished traveling to Iceland in October. Iceland is a place I wanted to go to for years now. The waterfalls, wildlife, volcanoes, glaciers, geysirs, unique landscapes, and the incredible Northern Lights are the reasons why it was on the top of my bucket list. △

Rainbow over the road, Iceland / Photo by Joe Goldberg