We are in awe of what he’s accomplished and recently had the opportunity to discuss his thirst for exploring the unknown, how the moniker Joel Bear came to be, and what it’s really like to be in business with his wife.
1. How did you come up with the name Joel Bear?
Joel Bear was actually a nickname I picked up in College. I was a pretty grungy guy in College and my hair was lion mane-like. As I got older I started growing my beard, therefore the man cub turned into a man and Joel Bear was born.
2. What is your occupation?
My wife and I are commercial and editorial photographers.
3. Your wife is also your business partner. How did you guys meet, and why start a business together?
I wouldn’t trade her being my business partner for anything! We met in Bible College and became best friends almost immediately. When we decided we wanted to get married we didn’t want the typical 9-5 separate job life. We wanted to truly live life together. I had grown up doing photography and it seemed like a really good option. Over two years later, there is no way we would ever want to work separate jobs apart from each other again.
4. You and your wife are based out of Los Angeles and Denver. Why two (relatively far apart) locations?
We met and now “officially live” in California, but Maggie is from Denver and we have made many connections out there because of that. We love the fast pace and forward thinking of LA, but the community and adventure in Colorado are amazing. Our business and lives seem to flow between the two locations pretty seamlessly, so it comes really naturally to live in both places.
5. What is one interesting thing about yourself?
I was born almost blind, with cataracts in both eyes. Through my mom’s determination to get my eyes fixed and many surgeries, I can now see out of my right eye completely but my left eye is still pretty much blind. It’s honestly a miracle that I now have the job I do.
6. How would you describe your aesthetic? Who or what is it inspired by?
Organic lifestyle, inspired by makers and designers who are looking to progress and help push our culture forward… i.e. Mackey Saturday, Moneal, Chris Burkard, Rog Walker, and so many others.
7. You have traveled to many places. What’s your favorite place in the world?
Wow, that is a hard one. It has to be Swamis, a super rad surf spot in North County San Diego. Also Rocky Mountain NP in Colorado, there’s nothing like seeing all those fourteeners.
8. What is your greatest fear and have you conquered it?
My greatest fear is creating work that is not authentic. I guess that is something I will always have to deal with as an artist, but that will just teach me to always remain a student of life to keep learning and growing.
9. Where do you see yourself in the next year?
In our business and at this point in life I have been able to be around people who are big dreamers and who aren’t afraid to venture out into the unknown. By next year I will want to be working on larger-scale projects that are able to inspire and possibly change people’s perspectives on life. We want to venture out into that unknown even more.
10. What influenced you to grow your beard? And how long have you had a beard?
I’ve always been inspired by my father and his facial hair. I’ve had it for about two and a half years, and my wife will not let me cut it, which is all right with me.
Right now, I’m obsessed with: Design and architecture.
I’d love to visit: Greenland.
Rule I live by: Only storms make great sailors.
Learn more about Joel Bear on his website. Follow Joel Bear on Instagram @JoelBear.