Spotlight

Drew Doggett '02

“Sometimes I have to pinch myself because sharing the world’s beauty is what I have the privilege to do for a living,” said Drew Doggett ’02, an award-winning photographic artist. Drew has received over 120 prestigious international awards, honors, and accreditations from world-renowned institutions for both his photography and filmmaking work. One Eyeland ranked Drew as the top black and white photographer in the US and fourth in the world. His work is featured in private and public collections around the world, including the Smithsonian.

Drew’s approach to his art isn’t what you would expect, as he spends anywhere from 3 months to 3 years before ever picking up a camera doing extensive, exhaustive research on his subjects. “I choose subjects that inspire me and whose stories I want to share. Through my images, I aim to celebrate their most extraordinary qualities, whether it’s the Rendille and Samburu tribes in Kenya, the super tusk elephants in Africa- of which there are only 24 left- or the larger-than-life sand dunes in Namibia.” As Drew’s family grew, he developed a fear that cultures would disappear before his two children, Emerson (6) and Graydon (4 ½), had a chance to see them in person, so it hastened his quest to capture our world’s beauty in the hopes of unifying viewers to save indigenous cultures, animals, and places.

Defining a space in the crowded world of photography prompted Drew to develop a unique style that stemmed from his early work in photography in the New York City fashion industry. “I wanted to make my work immediately recognizable so viewers know when they have encountered one of my images.” Drew began to unify his subjects by documenting them through the “singular lens and visual language of fashion.” His perspective is also unique, as he photographs his subjects from below eye level to elevate the person or creature. In his latest series, Equus: Underwater Rhythm, he photographs horses from underwater, which he says, “allows you to completely immerse yourself in the beauty of the horses with no distraction to take away from their impact.”

Drew presents each of his works in a series, often accompanied by a short film, so that it tells a complete story. Fellow alumnus, Christopher Ward ’87 connected with Drew about 10 years ago and has since written the music for several of Drew’s short films. You just have to watch one to understand how the music elevates the experience of the video and Drew’s commentary within the feature.

At Landon, Drew was a “lifer”, attending grades 3 through Form VI. Maggie Raines, his advisor, and Austin Zimmer, his art teacher, were instrumental in his ability to pursue photography beyond the two courses that Landon offered. Drew remembers that Zimmer encouraged him to “expand my perspective” and “challenged me to push the boundaries of my creativity.” Under the guidance of Raines while doing his senior project, he finally got to produce something tangible, his first coffee table book that still has a special place in his office today. Each year, Landon awards a student with the Drew Doggett Photography Excellence Award and Drew is eager to help guide our students on how to make this “elusive but incredibly rewarding passion a career.”

Surprisingly, Drew’s most memorable times at Landon weren’t spent behind a camera, but instead on the lacrosse field. “It was the energy on the field, playing with a group of friends that were giving 100% that made us want to be on that team.” Today, Drew has traded the lacrosse stick in for a pickle ball paddle and plays at least twice a week when not on traveling the world. He also enjoys all water sports which stems from spending his summers on the Chesapeake boating, swimming, and wake boarding.

Looking ahead to this summer, Drew plans to be on location in Alaska photographing bears and Kenya photographing large game for his series entitled, Exceptional Creatures. The body of work from his travels will represent his 4th coffee table book; which he expects to complete in the next year. It will be centered on these majestic creatures from all over the world, which he passionately describes as “a celebration of all that is wild and free.”