Photos ©2020 Tracy + David.
Tracy Boulian and David Ahntholz, otherwise known as Tracy + David, had surprisingly similar career paths before teaming up as a photography duo. At 16, Tracy landed an internship in the photo department at the New Haven Register in Connecticut and at 18, David was shooting for newspapers in Iowa. Each finished their college degrees in the arts: Tracy has her B.F.A. in Photography and Imaging and Anthropology, and David holds a Master of Visual Communication.
Separately, they went on to work for a number of newspapers around the country. Tracy was a staff photojournalist at The Cleveland Plain Dealer. David was the art director at The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Illinois, and a photographer for The Des Moines Register. With photojournalism as their foundry, they started stacking up state, regional, and national awards. Tracy won third place for best portfolio in the photojournalist of the year category at the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar. David was awarded runner-up photojournalist of the year in NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism awards.
Their fateful crossing happened through their staff jobs at The Naples Daily News in Florida. Once they knew their road ahead was meant to be a combined one, they settled in Southern California in 2010. Together, they’ve continued to win awards for their work, including several from APA. They now call San Juan Capistrano home and spend a good deal of time on the road for clients and personal projects. Individually, their talent stands out. Together, Tracy + David are a force of special talent. It’s fascinating to hear from people we look to when defining partnership at its finest and I’m excited to hear what they have to say.
You’ve found an interesting way to combine the photo genre of lifestyle with landscapes. Is that a specific direction you’ve determined or simply a way to introduce your work?
We’re passionate about telling stories and creating imagery focusing on people living healthy active lives because we live this type of lifestyle ourselves, and always have. One of the things we love to do outside of work is to be immersed in nature, so connecting with nature through our cameras feels very second nature to us. We also greatly respect the outdoors and will search the globe to find beautiful places and epic landscapes to photograph. When we can photograph talent in those locations and capture both the place and moments of people adventuring in the place, that’s our signature—our sweet spot. We love when we can merge active people in amazing locations so it manifests as active outdoors imagery.
You’ve photographed some exceptional locations. How do these trips come about?
When we aren’t working for clients, we’re working on personal projects. As photojournalists, we were constantly on the lookout for story ideas in our communities, and now we continue to always have a growing list of project ideas that we want to pursue. We’re always looking a few steps ahead to think through what’s on deck next. We love traveling and going on new adventures as well and are particularly drawn to find amazing, natural locations to visit.
Many of the locations we’ve photographed as a team have come about through personal projects, though we’ve photographed some beautiful locations for clients as well, usually in the form of a lifestyle shoot in a beautiful or interesting location. We’ve been building a body of personal work of landscape imagery, that we’d like to approach galleries with at some point.