We had the good fortune of connecting with Josh Liberman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Josh, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
One of my favorite quotes is from Will Smith. He said: “Nobody knows what you are…following your dreams is a dangerous pursuit…you can’t wait for somebody to think you can do it.” This really resonates and is a quote I take with me to every project. I think, for a while, especially in my earlier career, I spent a lot of time trying to convince people I could do it, without actually having done it. Maybe it was just my way of coping with the fact that I didn’t even know if I could do it. I’ve come to realize that when you walk into a new project, people only know you from instagram, or from your highlight reel, and they really don’t know the depth of your character or the range of your talents. It’s up to you to show them. If you wait for somebody to think you can do it, you’ll be waiting a long time. Go out and prove you can do it for none other than yourself. If you do it for your soul and expect nothing in return, people will notice.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art revolves around shaping stories of humans and their connection to the natural world. I believe whole-heartedly that we will protect only what we love and understand. Thus, I aim to share an intimate and honest perspective of the natural world and its inhabitants, including human beings. I accomplish this through photography and film. I’m proud to say that, with the support of Nikon®, I’ve just launched my first wildlife show, A WILD Connection! It aims to help bridge the gap between humans and our natural word by highlighting characters whose lives and careers have been positively impacted by their connection to nature. It’s incredibly rewarding to create content I’m so passionate about, though getting here hasn’t been easy in the slightest. I crawled through school, lived in a garage for two years, and worked multiple part-time jobs just to stay in Miami and pursue photography on the weekends. To break into the world of wildlife production, I volunteered over 1000 hours as a photographer for the University of Miami Shark Research Team. To learn the business of production, I painted floors and ran around getting coffee for clients at a commercial studio, just to have a few minutes with the director at the end of the day. I’ve learned that no one but yourself will get you where you want to be, no one will do for you what you are unwilling to do for yourself, and, most importantly, the moment you stop trying to “make it” and instead focus on “making,” is the moment you start to become the person you want to be.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Miami is widely known for its nightlife, but if you take a quick stroll down the beaten path, you’ll find a plethora of natural wonders! One of my favorite places is the Virginia Key Outdoors Center. There, you can rent a kayak or paddle board and meet a resident family of manatees in the quiet lagoon or rent a mountain bike and blow off some steam at the volunteer-built mountain bike park, one of the best in South Florida. For those wanting to get even wilder, go explore the Everglades, which is the third largest national park in the lower 48 (Yep, bigger than the Grand Canyon!) I would highly recommend taking a day-trip to Shark Valley visitor center. There you can rent bikes, hop on a tram, or walk along their paved, 14-mile loop through this pristine ecosystem. Expect to see plenty of American alligators, wading bird species, turtles, and even a rare North American river otter or bobcat!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would be nowhere without the support of two strong women. First is my mother, Lisa Liberman. From a young age she instilled in me the deep belief that I could become whatever I dreamed of becoming. She would often say, “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?” When I was struggling, she’d remind me that the world only expects my personal best, and nothing more. She challenged me to give everything my best, from school to friendships. She was, and continues to be, my biggest supporter and my personal hero. The second person who has been monumental to my success is Dr. Amber Johnson. Amber was the professor of the one and only photography course I’ve ever taken. I came into that class as a pre-med biology major with a hobby for photography. I even had to borrow my mother’s DSLR camera as I only had a point-and-shoot! She was wise enough to spend little time on the technical aspects, and hours on the ethics and responsibility behind photography. At the end of the semester, she encouraged me to enter the school-wide photo contest. I ended up placing first in two categories, and runner-up in a third. She stood in front of the whole school and said; “Josh Liberman, if you don’t pursue photography, I will find you and punch you in the face!” That changed my life. She was the first professional in the industry to believe in me, and without that, I wouldn’t have started to believe in myself.
Will Smart, Liv Williamson, Chris Gillette