Behind the scenes of WinterWonderGrass, we have a crew of truly talented individuals who are dedicated to our mission—creating a true and authentic platform for artists, vendors, attendees and the planet to connect as one. Throughout the year, those who follow us on Instagram see snapshots of the WWG experience and it would not be possible without our talented team of photographers who work tirelessly around the clock to capture all the moments that make these events so special!
Molly McCormick is one of our photographers and we wanted to go “behind the lens,” so to speak, to discuss her inspiration, how she got involved in our community and what sobriety means to her.
Molly has been published in National Geographic, Rolling Stone and with local Denver news outlets like 9News, Denver 7 and Fox 31. A portfolio of her work is available at: www.mollymccormickphoto.com.
We are so lucky to have Molly on our team again this year!
What’s your origin story with photography?
Ever since I can remember, I have always had a camera in my hand. I was the kid toting around a Polaroid (my poor mother probably spent hundreds of dollars on the film). I took a bunch of photography classes in college but my fuse really got lit when I traveled to Tanzania in 2008. Since that trip, photography has stolen my heart.
What inspires your photography?
Anything and everything. People, places, things—they all inspire me. I really try to live in the moment, it’s somewhat of a mantra for me. I think that’s the beauty of being a photographer, you don’t necessarily need to plan in order to capture something incredible. There’s so much inspiration and greatness on this planet, if you live day to day and in the moment, you’re sure to catch a glimpse. Of course, being a nature photographer, the outside world is my biggest inspiration.
Music isn’t your usual subject. Outside of music, where will we find you shooting?
If I’m not embraced fully in the bluegrass scene, you can find me adventuring in and out of Colorado, waking up hours before sunrise and chasing the sunset. I am a wildlife and nature photographer and an avid conservationist. A few of my favorite spots in the world are Serengeti National Park in Tanzania; Byron Bay in Australia; Monteverde in Costa Rica; Rocky Mountain National Park; Grand Teton National Park; Moab, UT; and the North Shore of Boston where I grew up. One thing that’s incredibly important to me is nature conservation and making sure our public and private lands are thriving, and not being destroyed by humans. I play by the rules, and you should to.
How did you first get involved with WinterWonderGrass and Bonfire Entertainment? How has this relationship grown?
I had been a patron of WWG’s sister event, Campout for the Cause for many years, and my relationship to the other side of the stage happened really organically. Bridget Law has been a good friend and inspiration of mine, and she was and continues to be pivotal person in me being able to share my work. I shot Campout two years ago, and the rest is history. I’m fairly new to the team, but I feel like I’ve known these people forever. Not only am I surrounded by some of the best talent out there, but also the best people. That’s what makes WWG so great—it’s put on by some of the best individuals out there.
Sobriety is a huge component of your story. How has working with the WWG community varied from other “jobs” you’ve taken over the years? How has it inspired and empowered your growth as both a photographer and an individual?
I am an open book when it comes to my sobriety (Molly recently penned a piece for Backline on the subject).
Currently, as I write this, I’m 1,582 days sober—that’s about four and a half years. Alcohol was my drug of choice, which, as one can imagine, can be a little tricky in the entertainment industry—it’s literally everywhere. I remember being pretty nervous my first go around with WWG, after all I WAS the person in the crowd slamming beers all day long. Since I’m pretty open about my sobriety, a lot of my coworkers new, and if they didn’t they soon found out. From day one, this has never been an issue, and I sincerely mean that. Of course, there are moments or days that are harder than others, since we live in a very alcohol-accepted culture, but I have always felt accepted and most importantly, supported by every member of the WWG team.
I’ve shot at different events throughout my photography career and I don’t always feel that acceptance or support, especially in the music industry. WWG sets itself aside because they care about the mental and emotional health of their staff. That was a deal-breaker for me, especially after a recent loss I had in February. I lost my mother to Stage IV cancer, so not only am I living day-by-day sobriety but it’s hand-in-hand with my grief. During that time, the WWG crew were not my co-workers, they were my family. If I can do what I love, and stay sober doing so, what more can I ask for? Plus, I make a really good DD.