A business major at the University of Oklahoma, Ford Yates isn’t on what many would consider the typical path to becoming an outdoor photographer. The 21-year-old stumbled on photography just a few years ago through his mom’s 1990’s DSLR. Since then, he’s developed a speciality in capturing simplistic, outdoor scenes around much of the American South. His rise comes amidst a generation of new Instagram stars and storytellers—Yates has 52,000 followers—and an enormous amount of content that can be hard to filter through. Some of the new cyber stars are more puzzling than others, but Yates’ following isn’t up for debate.
Here, the college junior shares a few of his thoughts and favorite images from the rivers, tents, and hunting blinds of the south.
Yates: Some of my friends from the University of Texas like to make an annual weekend trip out of rattle snake hunting on a ranch near Albany, Texas. I chose to push my best judgement with this shot last March.