Cowart's ability to build and leverage his platform depends on the equipment of his craft. He shoots on a 50 megapixel camera that generates RAW images of about 23MB each. Each of these streams into a tethered MacBook Pro, which in turn backs up files to any of the several G-DRIVE ArmorATD rugged drives that Cowart totes about in his bag.
With fifteen years as a pro photographer, Cowart knows what it's like to lose files, which is why he's now nearly obsessive about having multiple backups.
"I try to keep every job on multiple externals in case of something going bad," he says. "I also try to keep it on my cards and not erase any cards in case something bad were to happen. You can never be too careful."
Cowart never trusts his computer as a storage medium. Beyond flash cards and G-DRIVE ArmorATDs, he relies on an 64TB G-RAID Shuttle with Thunderbolt 3 which also has another backup in his home.
"Thunderbolt is such a major step forward that I'm kind of giddy with it," says Cowart. "I need speed, and SanDisk Professional is delivering that in this Thunderbolt unit. I'm just loving it."
The drive will be one more node in a chain of drives reaching from Cowart's house to his office and even to his business manager's office as he segregates current work from long-term file storage and implements his unique strategy for backup protection.
Device performance saves time, but nothing matters more to a photographer than reliability. Any pro needs to know that the work he or she captures in the field will survive intact all the way into editing and still be available for retrieval many years in the future.
"In the past, I used to buy whatever," says Cowart. "But I've lost a lot of photos over the years to alot brands. Now I trust SanDisk Professional drives. It seems like all the pros I know use SanDisk Professional. They're just very reliable. It says a lot to me that SanDisk Professional is the major drive brand in the Apple Store. If Apple is willing to trust their brand SanDisk Professional, that's huge."
As amazing and transformative as Cowart's work is, he needs the peace of mind that comes with being able to trust his digital media storage. In a sense, his platform is built on it, and that platform is at the heart of the legacy he's striving to leave.
"I want to be remembered as somebody who used his platform to give back to people in need. You know, photography in general is a very arrogant field. It's all me-me-me. 'I'm the best, I'm the best.' But I could care less about the competition or being the best. To me, it's just about building a platform, being good at what you do, and using that to make an impact on something bigger than yourself."