Connect
To Top

Meet Ira Meyer of Ira Meyer Photography in Oxnard

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ira Meyer.

Ira, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Once an avid bicyclist, I got hit by a passing car while on an 80 mile training ride with some friends. Broken ribs and scapula, as well as a ruptured spleen required hospitalization and surgery. Then owner of a small landscaping and lawn maintenance business, I was out of work for 3 months. But I regained my health and strength, completing the 172 mile Cross Florida bicycle ride at best ever pace of over 20 mph the following year.

Then living in north central Florida, May brought on summer. Five consecutive days of 90º+ temperatures with 90% humidity left me realizing it wasn’t going to get any cooler until the end of September… and that I’d had my fill of this work and climate. So I put my business up for sale, and was lucky to manage to do so within about 6 weeks.

Having just turned 40, I found myself not owning a business or home, nor involved in a relationship for the first time in quite a few years; and thought: when does someone have this kind of freedom? So I bought a used van in which to drive to Alaska. Knowing I was going to drive up some scenic roads and hike some gorgeous trails, I purchased my first ever camera: a $180 Fuji point-and-shoot.

I spent 6 months on the road, ending up in Southern California; where I have now lived for 30 years.

Everyone whom I showed the photos I took to remarked how good they were. But I thought nothing of it. (As I suspected anyone who’d been where I was would capture images of comparable quality.) It was only awhile afterward, while helping out a friend who owned a one-hour photo store, that I realized how poor the composition of most people’s photos were… and how my sense of aesthetic balance in the landscape was an asset in this regard.

 

 

I began honing my skills by stealing away to the Sierra for long weekends whenever it was possible, then took a 4 month journey to India, Nepal and Southeast Asia. I started producing note cards, which I sold at a number of local shops. Then I decided to get a booth at the Malibu Arts Festival. My work being well-received led to doing more art shows, which have now provided the bulk of my livelihood for over a quarter-century.

In between the India/ Southeast Asia trip and the art show in Malibu, I traveled to Patagonia, eventually making my way to Punta Arenas, Chile; which was then the port from which ships left for Antarctica. This was a destination I’d never considered traveling before. But I thought: I’ll never be this close again. So I went down to the docks to see if I could find a ship going that way, and was incredibly fortunate to find that one heading down to pack up a scientific base was taking some passengers. $880 got me to the ice continent.

Early the first morning I was on deck and said to someone: we’re not in Kansas anymore, are we, Toto? The beauty was otherworldly. To say the least, I was gobsmacked.

I yearned to go back immediately, but the cost of such a journey on a passenger ship in 1991 was in the neighborhood of $25,000. Sadly, I could afford to even dream of this.

But luck smiled upon me in 2005, as my dear friend Jeff Hall then worked for G Adventures, which had purchased a ship for Antarctic voyages. He traveled for free… and I was able to go along at a super-discounted friends and family rate. Seven days on the Peninsula making our way through Gerlache and Penola Straits, then through the Grandidier Channel in heavy sea ice got us 60 miles short of the polar circle. I don’t believe anyone on that trip came home the same person who went, as our time in the ice lent an incredibly different perspective to the planet we live on.

Much to my delight, the company invited me back the next year to do some photography for them.

Having returned to what is now my favorite place on Earth each year but one since as a photographer-in-residence with G Adventures, One Ocean Expeditions and Heritage Expeditions, I often ask my friends not to pinch me… for if this is a dream, it is not one that I want to awaken from.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t believe any roads in life are pothole and speed-bump free.

Though my work always received ample praise at the art shows I exhibited it at, sales did not necessarily follow suit. So I struggled to keep my life afloat in the physical/ material world with the income I was generating.

Fortunately, I am not much of a consumer, and live fairly simply. So I always managed to get by. And my work from Antarctica and the Arctic has brought increased sales, especially since having begun printing it on aluminum several years ago.

The path I’ve chosen ultimately seems to suit me.

But I would never recommend anyone follow in my footsteps.

Ira Meyer Photography – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My company is me.

I sell my work at around 20 art shows a year, as well as online.

My specialty is images of icescapes and wildlife from Antarctica and the Arctic.

Someone came into my booth at a show awhile back and said:
There’s a lot of really good photography here. But everyone else’s work is a variation on some them I’ve already seen before.

This is what sets me apart.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
~ A photograph I took of a mother polar bear and cub on a small iceberg was used on the cover of National Geographic’s Climate Change Special Edition.

~ An image of mine of a dripping iceberg arch framing another iceberg received a runner-up award in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Personal photo by Vlad Hrybok

37 Comments

  1. Alena Goodman

    May 1, 2018 at 14:59

    I am so inspired by you every day!! You have beautiful work and I am so amazed that you er to experience all that beauty!!! Love love love

  2. Fred Schaff

    May 1, 2018 at 17:20

    You know how much I admire your photos. Those of the Antarctic and those of the desert rocks — with interesting accompaniments !!

  3. Ann Cleaver

    May 1, 2018 at 19:00

    Thank you for sharing your story. I will always be a fan. I treasure the two photos I have.
    I look forward to seeing you at the Palo Alto and Los Altos Art Festivals this summer.

  4. Carole Stevenson

    May 1, 2018 at 19:43

    Hello, Ira

    WOW and WOW!!! What amazing work. You have brought back such awesome memories of my journey to Antarctica.
    I am now wanting to return for another adventure. And, by the way, thank you for your expertise on the ship.
    You are an amazing man and photographer.

    Carole Stevenson

  5. Dawn N Stevenson

    May 1, 2018 at 19:54

    WOW your work is AMAZING! Love it. I must buy…..

  6. Andrew Garczewski

    May 1, 2018 at 20:13

    I loved reading your story Ira. I am a big fan and can’t wait to add to my two photos I have from you! I look forward to seeing you in Escondido this year.

  7. Clark Myers

    May 1, 2018 at 20:53

    Ira: Hard to believe it has been a couple of years since you showed me how to shoot a picture of a flying bird at “eye level” on that old Russian ship in Antarctica. I enjoy your photos from that journey as often as I drift back into my collection of “favorites”. Glad to hear you are still following your inspiration. Namaste

  8. Colin Speirs

    May 1, 2018 at 20:54

    i am always inspired by your photos and to see what a long way you have come from your potato sack outfit at Heartland Cleave in 1971!!!
    Though the beard looks the same, other than the salt and pepper in it. Maybe see you in Amaroo this year, photograph some koalas and wallabies.

  9. Cookie Gorman

    May 1, 2018 at 21:49

    I knew you when you lived here in Gainesville, Florida where you encountered your bicycle accident. I prayed for you and the other bicyclists that were also injured that day….and look at your life today…amazing.

  10. Emet Martinez

    May 1, 2018 at 23:33

    Always loved your work and continue to be inspired by your life’s journey!
    Cheers to your good health and continued success!

  11. Frances Holmes

    May 2, 2018 at 01:56

    I met Ira at an art show in Palo Alto California. He is as lovely as his photography. SUCH a dear sweet man. His work is incredible. Thanks Ira for bringing these parts of the world to home to us. You are a wonderful human being. Thanks for loaning me the hand truck too! Hope all is well in your world! Hope to see you again soon. Warm regards. Frances Holmes

  12. Janet Wallace

    May 2, 2018 at 02:54

    Ira your beautiful smile says it all. You have enriched our lives by bringing us back images and stories from a land most of us will never see and which is being threatened by climate change. Thank you for being you and following your heart, your passion and gifting us all.

  13. Dan Coats

    May 2, 2018 at 02:57

    Ira, you’ve shown me the beauty you saw, a little bit. I think if I ever went I would be next to you on your next trip. Thank You…

  14. Fred Carter

    May 2, 2018 at 03:15

    Greta work. It’s an honor to own some of your work

  15. Greg Caster

    May 2, 2018 at 11:35

    Ira, Meeting you on my first trip to Antarctica in 2007 was one of the highlights of the trip. My wife and I enjoyed spending time with you “seeing” the beautiful continent together. Your exposure tips for taking pictures of ice and snow improved the quality of my own photos – some hanging on the walls on my home today. You and your photography are a gift. Thanks for sharing bud.

  16. Roberta Shepherd

    May 2, 2018 at 15:47

    I remember Ira from my trip to Antarctica. He was really sweet and helped me with camera problems and helpful tips of the trade. Turns out, I won the photography contest on the ship that year with my fun penguin photo. Thanks Ira!!

  17. Karen P

    May 2, 2018 at 19:25

    I treasure my photo of the mother and child polar bears and another of a penguin, both purchased from Ira at the Palo Alto art show. I will bring to next show and it would be my honor if you would sign!

  18. Shelby

    May 2, 2018 at 22:36

    I Love Ira’s photographs! He is super talented and I wish he exhibited his work in TN so I could see more of it!

  19. OC

    May 3, 2018 at 01:06

    Excellent work (as always.)
    The article is wonderful but cannot really express or describe do your talent and passion.

  20. Nathan Hoover

    May 3, 2018 at 01:42

    So glad to meet you on my awesome trip to Antarctica in 2011! I’m going back late 2019 – wouldn’t it be amazing if we were there together again!?

  21. Karen K

    May 3, 2018 at 03:58

    I am a fledgling artist. Ira’s photos take me to a different place in time where time stands still. I met him at an art fair in Palo Alto and purchased an Antartartica seascape book that I gave to my artist boss. He loved it. I did not realize Ira took the photo of a stranded polar bear and cub on melting iceberg. To take 10,000 photos and edit down to 5. To edit well is an art.

  22. Melissa

    May 3, 2018 at 04:02

    We love your work Ira and so enjoyed our time with you on our Antarctica trip!

  23. Martin Addison

    May 3, 2018 at 08:39

    Excellent images, good to keep in touch Ira

  24. Lynne Trine

    May 3, 2018 at 14:43

    Stunning photographs! They are truly works of art, and your love of the region comes through. Thank you for bringing this part of the world to us, and laying before our eyes the beauty that you see in it.

  25. Lynne Trine

    May 3, 2018 at 14:45

    Stunning photographs! They are truly works of art, and your love of the region comes through. Thank you for bringing this part of the world to us, and laying before our eyes the beauty that you see in it.

  26. Lynn Creighton

    May 3, 2018 at 18:34

    I have looked foward to your latest images for many years. Thank you

  27. bill salmansohn

    May 3, 2018 at 19:31

    Ira- yes…definitely GOBsacked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Its our good fortune to have you out there….Love Billy S

  28. Tamia L Hope

    May 3, 2018 at 21:47

    Thank you, Ira! I loved reading your story! I am so happy my mother Jacqueline Hope and I discovered you several years ago at a local art show in Sierra Madre! I am also very the proud owner of several of your works….. I hope you will once again return to Sierra Madre to offer your amazing work to the locals who truly appreciate fine art and especially when it highlights the beauty of nature!

    Your enthusiastic fan,

    Tamia Hope

  29. Gail Kvistad

    May 3, 2018 at 22:14

    Enchanting!!! Thank you for sharing your exquisite perspective and love of nature to inspire us all to Dream, Breathe Deep and Connect with the moment of magic that you capture❄️✨

  30. Richard Cohen

    May 3, 2018 at 23:10

    Beautiful work. My cousin purchased one of your photos a few years ago and she sent me a link to this site. While I am a pretty serious amateur photographer, looking at your images shows me that I still have very much to learn.

  31. Keith

    May 4, 2018 at 17:25

    Ira. U blow me away.

  32. Keith

    May 4, 2018 at 17:27

    Ira. U blow me away. I love what u r doing. Many great memories Keith

  33. Keith

    May 4, 2018 at 17:28

    Great work Ira. U blow me away

  34. Geoff Carpentier

    May 4, 2018 at 18:39

    beautiful story Ira .. I’m proud to call you my friend!

  35. Juliana Gondek

    May 5, 2018 at 12:38

    Thanks for the interview, Ira. I’ve loved your work for 20 years; it’s nice to know the back story to your artistry.

  36. Jeff Hall

    May 6, 2018 at 17:17

    Ira, thank you for being my friend! I cherish our friendship and love your work. I’m so glad to have had o role in your creative genius.

  37. Sativa Verte

    May 7, 2018 at 03:09

    <3 Ira is an AMAZING photographer, pure genius! <3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in