Carl Couchman was born in Ionia, Michigan in 1965, where he started taking photographs at an early age. Carl’s father encouraged his son’s interest, building him his first darkroom at age 10. Photographing school football games for the local newspaper was a highlight in his early career, and by the time Carl reached high school he had taught himself color processing and printing.
After college, Carl moved to Colorado, where he began his career in the photo industry as a printer. He had moved to the mountains to ski, and by 1990 he was working for local professional ski photographers. Tapping his early sports photography skills, Carl began building an impressive body of color skiing and nature images.
Moving to San Diego in 1996, Carl landed a job as custom printer and manager at a black and white photo-processing lab. It was then that he began revisiting his first love—black and white photography—and he never looked back. Printing thousands of black and white images for clients, he started working in earnest on mastering his shooting and printing skills, and on forging his own personal style.
In 1999, Carl moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and began his in-depth studies of the Pacific coastline that continues to this day. He continues to hone his craft, having studied under such notables as John Sexton, Kim Weston, Don Kirby, and Stu Levy.
In his 21 years of professional photography experience, Carl has built an impressive body of work, evidencing both a discerning eye and a confident darkroom technique. He has presented more than 35 gallery shows and open studios, and he teaches private workshops in San Jose, California. Carl’s photographs are a part of numerous private collections, and he is represented by the Xanadu gallery in Scottsdale Arizona, Lumen Gallery in Capitola California, and Transformations in Long Beach, California.
More than any other subject, I love photographing the Pacific coast. Since I came to Northern California in 1999, I’ve learned that the coast is ever changing. Whenever I return to a favorite beach, there’s always something new to discover.
My most recent work explores the Northern California and Oregon coastlines. I enjoy uncovering the mystery of the coast and showing its otherworldliness. Sand dunes, driftwood, tide pools—they’re all rich subjects for my studies of texture and light.
I study not only what’s “offered,” but also the unexpected treasures that reveal themselves if I’m patient enough. I enjoy the solitude as much as creating the images—just being alone in the environment, watching and waiting.