Taylor Allred, Software Programmer and Photographer

I have always been a traveller. I love being in new places and meeting new people. When I was 19, I lived in England for a few years doing work for my church (Mormon). When I returned home, I stayed in Utah for 6 months and then went to Fiji. I took a photo of a purple crab that I had never seen before in my life. When I came back to Utah, I used that photo to tell the story of my adventures in Fiji. I learned from that one crab that photos are great for storytelling.

Hi, my name is Taylor Allred. I worked as an international travel guide for 8 years, and then went to university and studied Philosophy and Linguistics. After graduating, I taught myself JavaScript and Ruby and started a career in programming. I am going to start a Master’s degree in Computer Science later this year. I wanted something that was intellectually challenging and something where I could work remote. Computer Science/Programming fit the description.

I am from Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, but I spent a lot of my 20’s in Colorado and travelling. I lived in Australia’s Gold Coast for a while, which was amazing! Now I am back in Utah, where the skiing and mountain biking are amazing! But I do miss the ocean a lot.

Besides programming, photography takes up most of my time. I love exploring the world, meeting new people, and trying to tell a story through photography. I love doing portraits of people when traveling. People always have a story, and so much of that is recorded on their faces. I try to capture that story. I have taken an international trip every year since I was 19 (I turn 34 on March 9), which is pretty good for someone living in America. Every time I go, I take my Canon 5D mark II with my L-series 24-70mm lens, a few batteries, and a waterproof carrying case.

There are so many fascinating genres of photography that it is hard to pick just one favourite. I enjoy anything that inspires me to take action and do something. Steve McCurry has done some great work, but there are so many today it is hard to pick one. I think I like my own the best. Not that I think I am the best, not at all, but all of my photos have taken me on some adventure somewhere and that is the most important thing – my own experience out in the world that I have shared with another.

I think when people get outside in the world, and to beautiful places, it is inherent inside of us to be interested in nature. We just forget, or do not know, how fascinating the world is living inside a city, always staying indoors and watching things on a screen. Life is a million times better than any screen ever will be.

My career is at least partially defined by my photography, as I think sharing your personality at work is inherently beneficial. Team building is important in a career, and seeing people for more than just being a workhorse creates better workspaces. But learning about photography, data storage, file size, etc. has had some small benefit. Photography is also fun, and I believe fun things are important. It is hardly ever for money. People ask me to do their family photos more and more now though. I never charge them, but the last person I photographed tipped me 20$.

There are some similarities to tech, or any career, as well. For one, you need to love doing it. Otherwise there is not point. Second, you should read a lot on the subject, in order to better understand the latest skills and find inspiration. Of course with that comes simply practicing it all the time. I always try to find time to take photographs, if only to balance the work I am constantly doing in programming. Finally, finding someone who can act as a mentor, or teach you the basics, will give you the confidence to keep learning.

I think people do not explore enough; we do not do random things or try something just because it is new. This leads to us living a life with only a small portion of the variety and beauty that is around us. When I travel I am forced to explore the new, the random and the beautiful. It is through photography that I can bring those experiences back to others and inspire them to step outside their box and go someplace new. My goal is to never stop; to always have another adventure to go on, and a reason to take more photos.

Follow Taylor on Twitter and Instagram for more pictures!

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