From skateboarding to fashion, Colorado native Ladd Forde is making a name for himself through photography
Ladd Forde is humble when it comes to discussing his work, but his portfolio and work history – which includes everything from action shots to architectural photography to editorial fashion spreads – speaks for itself.
The Denver-based photographer grew up in Aspen and began experimenting with photography by taking photos of his friends out skateboarding. But it wasn’t until college, when architectural and interior photographer David Patterson took Forde under his wing, that he began to consider that photography could be what he did for a living.
After his first class with Patterson, Forde quickly realized that he had a love (and talent) for photography, and he pursued the career by designing his major at school and filling his days with digital media classes. Since graduating, Forde has steadily been growing his portfolio, focusing on editorial, fashion and lifestyle photography.
Through assisting for Patterson, Forde says he developed a love for studying light and for perfecting the lighting in his photographs.
“Learning lighting through him helped me out because architectural photography and interiors are such a tedious [endeavor],” Forde says. “All the lighting is perfect, all the time. I don’t think I would have studied light as much if I didn’t start out with David.”
For Forde, photography isn’t just a means to an end. He’s passionate about his work, and he has traveled to places like Nepal and Uganda to explore and understand different cultures.
“I was trying to get a good overall detail of what their culture is like,” Forde explains. “And to do my best to be honest with it all. I feel like you see a lot of pain in the media, but it’s not all like that. There’s happiness, too. And I think I got a good mixture.”
While in Uganda, with Aspen-based Action in Africa, Forde took over 5,000 photos in four weeks while teaching local kids how to take photographs with Instax cameras.
“It was a lot of selfies; we actually had to tell them to stop taking selfies,” Forde says. “It was a little bit of a struggle to get them to photograph what was around them. They were so interested in having photos of themselves and their friends and family, which was cool because they didn’t have that before.”
One day during Forde’s travels to Nepal, Forde found himself atop a mountain at sunrise, photographing the forbidden mountain Machapuchare, which stands at nearly 23,000 feet, the peaks scraping the clouds. After he finished shooting the scenery, Forde paraglided down the mountainside with a friend.
His photography in Denver is different than what he captures during his trips abroad, but Forde says that the photography he has been able to do here is some of what he enjoys the most.
As an editorial photographer, he explains that, “It’s all in my hands. To me, what I love about the job so much, is being able to work with a team of people to develop a concept, a story and then being able to light and shoot it the way I want to, to achieve that concept, is, to me, the most fun thing in the world.”
View Ladd Forde’s work at, LaddFordePhotography.com.