Meet Colton Van Ness...

Colton Van Ness is a photographer based out of the Wichita, Kansas area. I came across his work on Instagram. Like myself he shots and processes 35mm film. He has helped keep me inspired and has became a good friend. He is someone who keeps me motivated. We go shoot, bounce ideas off each other and talk street photography. Happy to introduce everyone to Colton Van Ness a.k.a. @coltonvanness!

© Colton Van Ness

© Colton Van Ness

What got you interested in photography?

The thing that got me interested in photography was definitely the fact that my parents always had so many cameras, prints, and processed negatives lying around. As a toddler they were more of a toy to me, but over time I understood the camera better as a way of documenting your life, so I ended up attached to looking at old photos as a child.

Who or what inspires you and keeps you inspired?

I’m inspired by just knowing that whatever I document and preserve on film, I can pass down as a physical artifact of my generation and my individual experience. 

© Colton Van Ness

© Colton Van Ness

What camera and film do you use?

I’ve been shooting a Nikon F3 with a 35mm focal length  for around 2 years now. Always on Ilford FP4 or HP5

How would you describe your photography?  What is your style? 

Determining my own “style” seems to be the biggest challenge. I tend to just shoot anything that catches my eye in the moment. Which is why it’s so important to always have a camera, even if it’s just your iphone. 

© Colton Van Ness

© Colton Van Ness

What are you favorite places to photograph?  (Around Wichita?)

My favorite place to photograph in the city is literally anywhere north of Kellogg between Ridge and Greenwich. That’s the  area I’ve stuck to for years now photography-wise, and I still haven’t seen everything. 

How much are you able to get out to shoot?

I’m not able to plan days out to hit the streets much these days, but the camera stays with me for when I feel like I need it. 

Do you prefer color or black and white?   

Black and white.

© Colton Van Ness

© Colton Van Ness


Black and white can come off to some as less exciting than color, but to me, reducing images to black and white changes the reality of the image. Black and white has a special ability to amaze and confuse me. I’m drawn to them quicker than I am photos in color, because I live seeing in color. 

You are currently working on your first zine?   What is the process like and when do you think it will be available?  

The process of narrowing 3,000 images to 40 for the zine was harder than the 6 months of shooting. Every photo is chosen and ready for print. I’ll get a sample or two, decide on a paper and bind, then i’ll make the drop and announce it on my instagram. Expect it before halloween. 

© Colton Van Ness

© Colton Van Ness

Everyone always asks “Who are your top 5” when talking about any subject.  So...  who are your top 5 photographers that keep you inspired?

These lists are always filled with Magnum photographers, so this list is just friends and instagram accounts i’m inspired by. 

* Royce Stevenson -@double_r_the_superstar

* Geoff Haggray - @geoffhaggray 

* Sam Youkilis - @samyoukilis

* Jonathan Walker - @kingofkodak

* Lauren Lepore - @35mm.mistress

For people interested in Colton’s work you can find him on instagram… @coltonvanness!


Whatever you are working on.  Whatever your goals.  Keep your focus.  Through the good times and bad, keep your focus!  


A Day At The Museum...

Whenever I am in Kansas City I try to make it to the Nelson-Atkins museum. The first time I went was around 20 years ago. I knew it was a good museum because it had a Van Gogh. Outside of that, I really didn’t know a lot of the artists. But I always appreciated the fine art that was inside. But….

fast forward a couple of years. I began to realize that this museum has so many masterpieces and has some of the best artists works. Plus the best thing is on the weekends… it is free! Where else can you walk in and see works of arts from Caravaggio, Van Gogh, Monet, Andy Warhol, Dorthea Lange, Jackson Pollack and Cezanne… all for free! If you haven’t ever been go! If you have… then do yourself a favor and go again.