Drew Stoecklein ’03 and the outdoors have always gone hand in hand. More often than not, his hand is holding a camera, capturing the incredible beauty of not only his native Idaho, but also the landscapes of Norway, Sweden, Texas, Washington, California, and Alaska. As a professional photographer and former professional skier, Drew has been attracted to the outdoors ever since he set foot on Community School’s campus as an eighth grader.
“The Outdoor Program trips and the incredible teachers really helped me figure out who I wanted to be when I grew up,” Drew said. “Community School fueled my passion for the outdoors for life. I enjoy taking photographs of almost anything outside, and I don’t plan on doing any indoor work anytime soon!”
Photography runs in the family. As a young child, Drew’s late father, David, a world-renowned Western photographer, used to bring Drew and his two younger brothers along to photo shoots around the world for brands like Stetson, Wrangler, Jeep, and Chevrolet. The elder Stoecklein was a huge influence on Drew, not to mention a mentor.
“My father taught me everything I know about the business. You can’t go to school for the business of photography,” Drew said. “The only way to learn it is through trial and error or having an incredible mentor who is willing to share his knowledge of the business. I was lucky enough to have my father.”
After graduating from Montana State University in 2007, he traveled the world as a professional skier on the World Freeskiing Tour (2002-12) when he appeared in an abundance of ski movies for companies such as Black Diamond, Mountain Hardwear, Smith Optics, and Columbia Sportswear. He was never without a camera, though, snapping shots every moment he wasn’t in front of the movie lens, and became a semiprofessional photographer in 2005. Drew decided to devote his life completely to photography in 2011, opening up a studio in downtown Bozeman, Mont., where he currently lives. Since then, his career has not only morphed into photography, web, and video work for commercial and editorial clients, but Drew also published his first book in 2011, Seasons of the Steelhead, and has recently developed a series of photography workshops at premier fly-fishing lodges in Montana and Idaho.
“My biggest thrill is delivering unforgettable imagery to all of my clients. Having my own business is the best thing in the world. It is so nice to be able to pursue my passion.”
(Photo of Drew by Will Wissman)
This profile originally appeared in the [ ] issue of CS Magazine.