Photographer Bret Gum’s handiwork fills many of the pages in Atomic Ranch’s book. A familiar name for Atomic Ranch readers, Bret Gum’s photography appears in many issues of the Atomic Ranch magazine as well as in the pages of Atomic Ranch’s latest book, Remodeled Marvels. We caught up with him and chatted about what it’s like to be behind the camera photographing these Mid Century Modern homes. Get his behind-the-lens perspective!
What first got you started in photography? What about homes/interiors specifically?
Bret Gum: Hi. I first got into photography through my Grandfather and my Dad. When I was a kid, my Grandfather was always taking photos of our extended family…really great, meaningful, candid photos. Later he’d invite me into his darkroom to see where the magic happened. It was like alchemy.
I’ve always loved interiors, and my aunt, who split her time between Los Angeles and France, introduced me to many, many places and spaces that informed my view of the world and design.Very early on, l cared about nothing but street photography, and still love it completely. But then I began to also appreciate the exact opposite…steady, still, contemplative interiors. When the two styles intersect is when things become most interesting.
Do you have a favorite photographer? What about a favorite subject to shoot?
How long have you been photographing for Atomic Ranch?
What’s it like to shoot these Mid Century Modern homes?
Readers see the beautiful finished product, but a lot happens behind the scenes. What sorts of things are you thinking about behind the camera when you’re on a shoot?
BG: Yeah, a lot happens behind the scenes, the best being kid and dog-related!
What sorts of questions are you asking when you’re on a photo shoot at one of these homes?
Do you have a favorite of the homes you’ve photographed for the book?
Is there anything distinctive about shooting homes for Atomic Ranch as opposed to other styles of homes?
Anything else you’d like us to know about you or the Atomic Ranch book?
BG: Just that I’ve really, really enjoyed meeting each and every person involved in the making of this book. All of them definitely made me look good, so I pray that I was able to do the same in return. They all worked so hard to create inspired homages to an endlessly amazing period in style and design. It must be appreciated.
Photography as a profession came somewhat late for Bret. It began in earnest when he was in my early to mid-30s. Bret grew up in the west Texas desert, but also lived for a short spell in an igloo. There was a period when he wore suits & ties, and held business meetings with Japanese executives and his very own interpreter. Then there was the time spent sailing a boat across the South Pacific to Australia, and thought lost for good. Having lived a varied existence and come close to death by way of drowning, snake, fire, shark, blood poisoning, an ill-fated border crossing and crashes of all sorts, it occurred to him that he should start carrying a camera…at least he’d have proof. Visit bretgum.com for more.