It’s Photography Month here on the ADC Blog, a chance to showcase the shutterbugs within the ADC community, sharing both their work and their stories. Photographers aren’t the biggest segment of creatives amongst ADC Members, but their passion more than makes up for their numbers. Whether they’re veteran shutterbugs, newcomers just starting to make a living, or just people who love to shoot on the side.
Not everyone featured during Photography Month began as a photographer. Case in point: our next featured ADC Member is a New York-based designer who brings a love for photography into both his professional and personal time.
New York, NY
How old were you when you became interested in photography? How did that interest come about, and how was it fostered?
I moved to New York at the age of 22 and New York has moved me to take photography seriously. There are just so many opportunities in this city to take photos of and I don’t want to miss any of them!
Do you remember the earliest photograph you ever took that moved you?
I remember it very clearly. It was a sunny day in Harlem on West 125th St. I had my old Nikon film camera and I decided to walk around the neighborhood and document it for my first time. Then I saw this fruit cart vendor. He had apples, oranges and avocados all neatly arranged with handwritten prices on pieces of cardboard. And the morning light was shining on them so perfectly, creating beautiful contrast and shadows. I just couldn’t resist.
What type of photography would you say is your specialty, and how did it come to be your specialty? Can one be transient — starting in one area of photography but evolving into another?
I would say documentary photography is what I do the most. I enjoy capturing an unexpected moment in time, knowing there won’t be any other such exact moment. I like walking around, seeing different people and places and discovering new angles for my shots. Right now, however, I’m trying to transition into portraiture and studio work more. It’s not easy but it’s interesting and I like doing new things and experimenting.
Define your photographic style in a single sentence.
Multiple perspectives from a single point of view.
What’s your favorite camera to shoot with? What’s so awesome about it?
I love film cameras and I take them with me often, but the one I use the most is my Fujifilm X-T1. First of all it feels like an old 35mm film camera but it has tons of great features that save time and open new possibilities. X-T1 is lightweight, takes great photos in low light, it has a fast focus and the image quality is awesome. It is also weather-sealed so I can easily shoot on rainy days. I use 28mm and 50mm lenses with it when shooting outside. No other accessories are needed. I like to keep it simple.
What is the hardest part about making a living as a photographer? Any advice on how to overcome that challenge?
Getting your work out there is hard. I spend hours choosing which photos deserve to be shown. It’s important to go out there produce good quality shots and build your portfolio. Don’t be afraid to take different assignments even if it’s not something as creative as you would like it to be.
“Don’t be afraid to take different assignments even if it’s not something as creative as you would like it to be.”
Is there a particular project of yours of which you’re especially proud?
In 2012 I went to Haiti with UN Peacekeeping and that was a unique experience for me. It was very humbling to see how people live and struggle after the devastating earthquake. You can read about my experience and see photos from Haiti here.
What would be your dream client/project/collaboration?
My dream client would be any art institution who would like to commission a project. I would also love to collaborate on any creative projects and connect with other artists. Hit me up people!
Nowadays everyone has ‘cameras’ in their pockets and Instagram on their phones. How has this changed the photography game? How has this changed your photography game?
It didn’t change much for me, perhaps because it was already there when I started. I use my phone and social media a lot. It definitely made it easier to share photos with a huge audience, which is a good thing. I like seeing other people’s work, it helps me to evolve and improve.
“So, you’re a photographer?” What’s the strangest question you’ve received when someone learned what you do?
“Was that your dream job?”
What are your other creative outlets and sources of inspiration?
I like going to photo galleries, which there are plenty of in NYC, looking at various artists and their projects online, 500px, Instagram, Behance, etc.
Fill in the blank: “When I’m not shooting, I am…”
…I am thinking about it!”
Which professional photographers do you look up to, whether from afar or as mentors?
Often, people walk by or would never think about a situation they saw on a street as something interesting. I like Lee Friedlander and Helen Levitt because they have managed to capture those, often overlooked, moments of everyday life.
When all is said and done, what is it about being a photographer that gets you up in the morning and drives your passion?
Every day there’s something new to take photos of and I love discovering what it is.
Photography Month takes place throughout March, and is open exclusively to ADC Members. Not yet a Member? Join today!