Former FBI Special Agent and Landscape Photographer Hadley McCann Captures the Beauty of the Metolius
Hadley McCann is a landscape photographer based in Sisters, Oregon. The camera was his constant companion as he traveled the globe during his twenty-nine year career as a Special Agent with the FBI and later as Director of the Global Security Investigations Group for the Walt Disney Company. Hadley’s work captures the varied beauty of Central Oregon, as well as sights from his world travels, and reflects his belief that a photograph is the tangible expression of a moment, memory and soul. We asked him a few questions about his work, which will be featured at our next Artist Spotlight Event on August 8, from 5-8 pm, at Eastlake.
Eastlake Framing: How did you get into photography?
Hadley McCann: When I was a kid. I don’t remember exactly how it started, but I wanted to take nature-themed photographs. I practically lived outdoors and I have had a camera in my hands since I was 11 or 12 years old.
EF: You’ve had quite an impressive career outside of photography. How did your camera play into all of that?
HM: When I worked for the FBI, I would take some shots during my travels. I’d take vacation days to travel and explore. All of that was fun.
EF: What inspires you?
HM: The story in a photograph. It can be a moment of real beauty that you see or something interesting. If I’m shooting a portrait, I’m trying to capture the person–the real them at that moment–if they’re having fun or being serious or whatever the situation may be, just trying to put something into the photograph. I guess you call that telling a story, even if it’s a little cliché to say. Trying to really get something into the photograph in terms of the emotional experience. That is rewarding, because you know you’ve actually captured something that people feel.
EF: Where is your favorite location you’ve shot?
HM: I’d have to say my favorite location is the Metolius River. Out of all the locations I’ve visited, I’d say it’s there. I went there as a freshman in college and I always come back because it continues to be one of my most favorite places to wander and shoot. Other favorites are in Switzerland and Egypt. How can you not be inspired by the Great Wall of China and other historical locations? It’s been wonderful, but I really do enjoy the Metolius River area.
EF: How did you end up in Central Oregon?
HM: I was in San Francisco and transferred back to Portland, where I had gone to college at Lewis & Clark. I stayed there until my retirement from the FBI. I searched around for a few years and wound up settling down in Sisters. It’s such a wonderful area. You’ve got everything within a few hours drive–it’s great.
EF: What is the most challenging part about what you do?
HM: Probably editing. You go out and take photographs and come back and try to edit something that you think is worthy of keeping. It can be tedious and is not nearly as fun as shooting. It’s difficult sometimes to make the choice to hit the delete key.
EF: What is your relationship with Deb and Eastlake Framing?
HM: When I first came to Sisters in 2001, I took some photos that I felt were representative of the area and I was taking them around to galleries and took them into Eastlake. They were really receptive and easy to work with. Deb has just done a great job and I refer everyone to her and her great staff. She’s been big in spending time, effort, and dollars in charity and has contributed a lot to the community. I admire that a lot. The girls treat me well and it’s been fun to go in and hear their framing suggestions. So it was just a nice fit, they do a great job.
EF: How has your work changed over time?
HM: It has become more refined over time in terms of knowledge base. When I was younger, I would shoot a lot of stuff and didn’t plan for shots as much. More thought goes into it now. The transformation from film to digital has also been fascinating. It’s been a big transition. I switched to digital and I started shooting it seriously in 2003.
EF: What are your future plans?
HM: Just to keep traveling and shooting and enjoying it; taking the camera on some new adventures. Right now, I have a 13-month-old little Aussie pup as my new traveling companion and photography buddy who is keeping me busy.
Thanks for sharing your art with us Hadley!
Get to know Hadley and view his work at our next Artist Spotlight Event, Friday, August 8, from 5-8 pm. Eastlake Framing is located at 1355 Galveston Avenue in Bend, Oregon. Subscribe to our newsletter to ensure you don’t miss other great features on local artists and shows!