Neil Ever Osborne is a photographer-in-residence with Canadian Geographic Magazine, a Nikon Ambassador and an Associate Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers. Neil also helps run Evermaven, a communications agency in Toronto that produces editorial content about the relationship between people and planet.
“Some weeks I’m a lone wolf photojournalist and other days I’m part of an inspiring team who champions a national initiative aiming to mobilize organizations working towards ecological sustainability and social justice.” — Neil Ever Osborne
Journey to a Rockhopper Penguin Colony in 360
Do you know where you got your drive from?
Ultimately, my drive comes from a moral compass that reminds me to contribute in a positive way. I believe that if we market and advertise social and environmental issues through visual storytelling, just like we do cars and milk, we would see a different world. I’m driven by human agency, both my own and others.
How do you stay self-motivated?
Confidence and naiveté is a promising combination that gets me in almost any door these days.
I’m very persistent and a dreamer so I stay fairly self-motivated. But, I do get in funks. The last person to bring me up was Cory Richards who was interviewed by Robin Moore on his No Filter podcast.
What would you say is your preferred way to network?
That’s easy; a good old chinwag over a cup of coffee or glass of wine, or a walk through a forest.
How would you describe your process for deepening relationships?
I have found the best way to do this is to look someone in the eyes.
What are your preferred tools for keeping organized?
I’m a minimalistic guy so I don’t make much room for clutter. It’s usually easy to keep things in some order. I use lists because, admittedly, I like the shot of dopamine I get when I place a checkmark beside a completed task. I’m a projects guy so I sometimes nerd out in Asana, a web and mobile application designed to help teams track their work.
What is your favourite way to market your product or services?
If I was to pick one, it would be public speaking since any addiction to Instagram ebbs and flows. I always like telling stories and the human connection it makes.
Who has been your mentor in helping you find success?
It is a very long list. I call them my rocks. They know who they are. I’m also greatly influenced by the characters I meet on assignment. When you spend a week or more with some stranger who then becomes a friend, it’s amazing how much insight you gain in that period of time. For example, Chuy, a Mexican turtle poacher turned conservationist taught me a few things. So has Guujaaw, a hewer of wood and hauler of water from Northern BC.
What social issue does your organization raise funds and/or awareness for?
Evermaven is exclusively focused on the connection between people and planet since we appreciate that many social issues are linked to environmental concerns.
How and where do you continue to learn?
I’m doing my Ph.D. at York University (very slowly).
How do you feed your soul?
Five years ago I started a photography project on my three nieces. It is shot very casually on my iPhone and I publish it in black and white. It’s mostly just mundane everyday moments that I capture in a square composition. I don’t really show it to many people but you can see a hundred of the images in a 10×10 grid on one of my walls.
I showed these images to a National Geographic photo editor during a recent trip to Washington, D.C. and she said it was better than my professional portfolio. That was a gut check.
How would you describe the eating ritual that makes you feel most powerful?
The most “powerful” meals I have are the home-cooked ones that come unexpectedly.
What type of content do you find most compelling on Instagram?
I am most intrigued by the profiles that are monochromatically and meticulously ordered. The profile of illustrator Sam Larson is a great example of this.
What lifestyle brand would you say shares your values most?
@adam.mar is an active guy living and working in New York, but he struggled to find clothing that moved seamlessly between the city and the beaches or mountains. In his words, “What worked in the office, didn’t work for the trail.” Adam and I connected on the idea that quality clothing shouldn’t have to involve compromise. His brand designs and manufactures forward-thinking, durable pieces that use technical features found in active apparel but with a fit and styling that makes sense for all of our urban lives. Because I’m almost 6’4” he had to tailor some of the fits for me, but I’m very curious to learn how this collaboration might advance our respective goals.
Who is your favourite artist?
I tell people I don’t have a favourite anything but Salgado’s photographs are on my walls, Ed’s new album is played the most in my iTunes nowadays, and I could watch endless episodes of Suits. The art coming out of The Amplifier Foundation is rad.
Where is your favourite place to unwind?
The best part about going away is coming home.