“I’m Not Your Average Photographer”
I’ve been in this game for a very long time, long enough to know that being a photographer today is a game, a game of fake smiles in fake “selfies” around fake people and politically correct statements followed by hashtags. All a gimmick designed to generate revenue. Being a photographer today has become more about quantity than quality and quite frankly the passion for the art is all but forgotten.
Anyone can take a good photograph these days, but have you ever asked yourself why? The answer is simple, photography has become a formula, that’s why you see so many people shooting the same thing over and over AND over again. The reality is that most people today who claim to be “photographers” do not possess the creative capacity to evolve in their craft and simply make up for it with hashtags, fake smiles and politically correct social media posts.
When you’ve spent as much time as I have in this industry one of two things happen, you either become a part of the problem or you quit, either way you lose yourself in the process. I only know this because I’ve lost myself, who I was & what I was about, I fell victim to the game of being a photographer, I wanted fame so bad that I sacrificed who I was & why I do what I do in the process.
Who am I? Well sure as shit not your average photographer, I’m a real person, with real opinions & real struggles that I openly wear on my sleeves. I don’t take pictures I create timepieces. Why do I do this? The scientific answer, I suffer from a mental illness that makes most days fucking brutal to deal with but it also gives me an unparalleled advantage in the creativity department. The basic answer because I love being able to blow people away by being creative & the boost of confidence it gives them.
When I first started doing this in 2008, I came up with Ikon because at the time I was taking better photos with my fuji point & shoot than most “pro” guys in my city were doing with their SLR’s, I thought I was a bloody icon, in retrospect I’ve always had confidence in my skill, but I had a lot to learn. Since then my growth as a professional and as an artist was put on full display, every mistake, every achievement, every up & every down. It was like watching the movie Truman Show but in real life.
Not everyone responded to seeing this growth, my growth, in a positive way. I received a lot of bad press in the process & I constantly felt like I was under a microscope. So on one hand I was blowing people away with the quality of my work but then on the other hand receiving all this negative feedback because of the way I would post my trials and tribulations on social media. After awhile the bad started to outweigh the good and it took a massive toll on my confidence and self esteem, so I started becoming what everyone seemed to want from a professional photographer, I put on my fake smile, with my fake friends, and only posted politically correct statements, I buried who I was & the result ended up almost killing me.
After becoming what the masses wanted, all the acknowledgements, the accolades & the publications, I was more miserable than I had ever been despite having all the successes I had dreamed of as a photographer. It eventually got so bad that I had to walk away from what I was so passionate about because of the bureaucratic bullshit that comes with being a professional photographer, it became more about “likes” and “followers” as opposed to the art.
It took me a long time to figure out how I could still pursue my passion of being a professional photographer without having to deal with the politics that come with it, until one day I just said “fuck it, I’m just going to be who I am, be open about who I am, the struggles I deal with on a day to day basis & let my work speak for itself.” In 2014 for the first time ever, I came out about my mental illness (Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder) and being homeless as a teen which resulted in developing PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder). Still to this very day I am a HUGE advocate for people suffering from mental illnesses and homelessness.
In 2015 I started watermarking my work with “Beauty/Personified” as a way to spread the message that true beauty can not be constrained by a formula, beauty isn’t only what you see, beauty is what you feel. When you look at a beautiful sunset, the feeling it gives you is beauty. Over the years I have worked with thousands of people all with different stories to tell, some were enlightening and others were very saddening to hear, however despite their story or in spite of their story one thing always remained constant, each of them exuded beauty in their own way. I once again found my passion for my art by attempting to capture the essence of beauty and as a result “Beauty/Personified” was born.
Today I’ve turned the game of being a photographer inside out and on its head by refusing to be limited by its constraints. I am….