What are you shooting with?

A Canon 5D Mark II, and Polaroid 330 Land Camera.

One photograph that sums up your approach?

My wife and three daughters in our Volkswagen Bus. My family is my favorite subject to photograph, but many times, they are sick of taking photos and ready to go.

Something these images don’t quite capture?

The many miles I’ve traveled and the hours I’ve spent in my day job that I’m so grateful for—yet it leaves me yearning to document the important things in life: those moments where you don’t have anywhere to be or anything to do but be present. An opportunity to watch, listen, engage and share a moment while, hopefully, capturing a few frames of that experience before it’s time to tuck the kids in bed.

What do your kids say when they see the photos?

My daughters love to sit beside me and look through photos. We used to do the same thing when I was a kid. My Granny would invite us over for tea and always had a photo album out. I believe it’s good for the soul—to reminisce, look back on the good times.

How has life changed since you’ve started to document it?

My Granny gave me her camera my senior year of high school. I’ve been documenting in some capacity for nearly 20 years. A lot has changed, but one thing has remained the same: my love for documenting people in the Ozarks and those I hold dear.


Like what you see? Check out Derek’s Instagram for more great work: @derekriley.