Special Edition Spotlight Interview:  Dylan W. Kubis

Special Edition Spotlight Interview:  Dylan W. Kubis

I get to work on many books for photographers across North America in any given year.
None has been more inspiring in the past 2 years for me than the projects of Dylan W.

If you follow Dylan W. Kubis on Facebook, you will know he is doing a great job promoting his photography books and prints. Kubis, who has Down syndrome, has had his work featured in gallery exhibitions, sells merchandise featuring his books & photographs, and has done work for private clients. I had the opportunity to work with Dylan on his first book: The Beauty of the American Southwest in 2021 and he followed it back in 2022 with his new book, The Berkshires, My Vision, My Voice – Volume One. This 32-page photo book not only includes his photographs, but he has written a “What I Saw” and” How I Felt” comment on each of the 32 Berkshire-based photographs. This book or his first book “The Beauty of the American Southwest” make great holiday gifts.

We had the chance to catch up by email with Dylan and asked a few questions on his
book publishing endeavors and future.
MP: Hi Dylan, Thanks for taking some time to talk about your book publishing projects!
Could you provide a little background for us on what lead to your publishing the 1st and
2nd books?
DWK: Well, I wanted to professionally present my skills as a photographer and act as a
spokesperson, an advocate for others with special needs. No matter who you are what
your perceived limitations maybe you can be creative, you can enhance your special
need, I achieved both goals with I what call my special photographic vision, I see things
differently than most, combining my “special seeing” with photography was a natural

Images (C) Dylan W. Kubis

MP: How long have you been a photographer?
DWK: Prior to COVID I was working in the hospitality business, when COVID hit I
needed to find a new career. My Dad is a professional photographer and a photography
instructor and for many years my family traveled with my Dad on some of his
assignments. I have been around cameras and photography nearly all my life. I am
entering my 4th year as a professional photographer and special needs advocate.

Images (C) Dylan W. Kuybis

MP: I know the impetus for the first book was a road trip through Southwestern America
with your dad, (Thad Kubis). Were there any fun stories from that journey that you’d
want to share with the audience?

DWK: While visiting Canyonlands, my Dad and I took our 4-wheel drive Willy’s JEEP
down the Canyon wall at Canyonlands. The trail starts about 3,900 feet above the
canyon floor. In some places this dirt road is barely wide enough for a single vehicle. I
was more than concerned about the drive down and for a while I was frozen in my seat.
The photo I included shows me and my Dad at the top of the Canyon wall. About my
Dad’s left shoulder, you can see the Canyon floor and the road that leads to Moab.
On a funnier note, halfway into our 3-weeks on the road, we took a few days off and
visited Las Vegas, I was able to for the first time ride a mechanical bull at Gilley’s
Saloon, and held on for over 1 minute, 30 seconds. Whew, that was tough – but fun!
MP: What type of gear are you using on images in these books?
DWK: I have been using a Canon Rebel T6 and a few different lenses. On occasion I
borrow my Dad’s Canon EOX 1Dx and I also use an iPhone 12 Pro Max as well.

MP: How do you go about making final editing decisions on which images to use or not
use for your books?
DWK: While on the trip to the Southwest, I downloaded each day’s images into a
customized titled folder using lightroom. When we arrived home my Dad and I reviewed
each day’s work and started the selection process. My book is in chronological order
and that helped me make the needed selections. Once I had made the initial selection it
was matter of choosing the photographs that best worked with the timeline, book design
and of course with what I felt best represented my creative vision.
Images selected for my second book, on the Berkshires, had a slightly different process,
I wanted to use images that could include my feelings, and the reason I captured that
specific image, and I wanted to include images that provided a broad overview of
Berkshire County. My business is called Inspirational, Sensational Photography so
these words played an important part in my final selection.

Images (C) Dylan W. Kubis

MP: Do you have any plans for future book publishing projects in 2023?
DWK: Well, funny that you should ask that question! I just started creating images for Volume Two of my Berkshire series. I spent the entire day with my Dad driving around the county, hours after we received our first significant snowfall. I hope to undertake an extended trip to 14 or more National and State parks in Fall 2023. I also plan to create with the help of my Dad a series of posters that will be produced by Marathon using their poster production web based tool (ROES). I have started to select the images for the 4 theme structured posters, National/State Parks, The Berkshires, Classic Cars and something new, yet to be announced. There may be a surprise in the making, a trip that would be magical for me, but more on that once the details have been finalized (hint think of the home of pizza, pasta, and wine).

MP: Oh yes! I think I have heard from Thad  about that Tuscany workshop he’s running for next year! 🙂

Images (C) Dylan W. Kubis

MP: Have you learned anything from the first 2 self-publishing projects that will help you
in the making of future photo books?
DWK: Sure, the process has made me a better photographer, I am more focused on my
compositions and am very involved in the final image selection/editing process. I also
learned that the choice of Marathon Publishing was critical to my first book being
published. My Dad was not that familiar with Adobe InDesign and when we sent the files
to you and Cate, you were about to “correct” a template issue that eluded my Dad’s
InDesign experience. I guess the strong partnership with Marathon is part of my
learning process.

MP: What would be the top 2 or 3 things you could share as most important things to
consider when attempting to become a self-publisher of
photo books?
DWK: It is not easy to be a professional photographer. I did learn that I need to create
images that not only fulfill my own needs, but to listen to the requests of people that are
purchasing my photographs, books, and merchandise and create images that fit their
requirements. At first, I was not a strong believer in sunsets, but I have seen my images
of sunsets fly off my website, so I guess listening to your market is important. I also
become very aware of the need to plan, follow a timeline, understand the image
postproduction process as well as to understand that the quality of a photo book must
be as good or better the original image.

Dylan W. Kubis with his dad- Thaddeus Kubis

MP: Dylan, can you give us all the pertinent links and contact information for people to
find you, your books, and photographs?
DWK: Sure, I have two websites, www.dwkisphotography.com, and a more enhanced
site that includes all sorts of merchandise that can be customized with my photos.
You can reach me directly at: DylanWK@dwkfineartphotos.com


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