Back while I was still a student at NYFA, my homie Louis Guarino asked me to do a shoot with him. Louis is a personal trainer and body builder in NJ, West New York or whatever you want to call it. At the time, I still was a novice at studio lighting. I didn’t have any idea of how I would light my shots or how I would pose him. Now, about 6 months later, I had a solid idea and concept for the shoot and together with Lou, we made it happen. No really, check out the back of his shirt.
Phillip DeFranco, host of the Phillip DeFranco show posted a video yesterday talking about what he believed his self worth was – what his purpose in life was. After coming to his own conclusion, Phil asked his audience, The Nation as he calls it, what they believed their self worth was. What gave them purpose?
Coincidentally, one of my favorite photographers Chris Burkard posted a video for Insivity talking about what inspires him. What makes him go out and capture amazing photos time and time again. Sitting at home on this Friday night with not much to do because Im trying to conserve money, I felt the urge to follow in Phil’s and Chris’s steps and state what I believe gives me purpose.
Before I began this Sports Photography program at NYFA, I think I figured out the key to being a successful photographer. I looked at the works of Chris Burkard, Little Shao, and Atiba Jefferson, all of whom inspire me and it became obvious. They all shot what they were passionate about. All of their work came from what they loved. They lived in their world of photography.
I attended a seminar a few months back for Shoot NYC. Lara Jade, a young fashion photographer did a presentation on the business of photography and the end, she posted on a monitor “Shoot what you love and the rest will follow.” I firmly believe this has to be true. The rest WILL follow but you have to exercise a bit of patience because it is not going to simply happen for you. You have to make it happen.
The question now becomes “What do I love?” What am I passionate about? Many people who know me would say the obvious answer is track and field. While that is true, it isn’t the only thing. I grew up a skateboarder and lover of action sports in general. I have spent hours watching videos of hip-hop dancers doing of all kinds of movements that I didn’t think the human body could do. And what kind of American male would I be if I didn’t enjoy watching some good old football, basketball, and baseball. I guess the truth is that I am in love with the idea of motion, athleticism and what we as humans can do with our bodies.
With all that being said, track and field is still my number 1. The sport has been my world since I first stepped on my high school track in 2000. 10 years later, I graduated from Florida State University bringing the end to my athletic career. However, I didn’t want to leave the sport. It had done so much for me. Introduced me to people from around the world that I now consider friends and brothers. It brought me to places I never thought I would go to. The only way to pay tribute to track and field is to use my creative skills to promote it. I want to document track in a way that I haven’t seen before. That is why I made my series of track videos. That is why the series of photos I took of Gonzalo before he left for the Olympics are my favorites. My heart went in to to those projects
So we come all the way around to first question of what gives me purpose. What drives me to commute 3 hours to and from Manhattan every day to go to school? I know it is to become a better photographer. To hone my skills so that they can be applied in a professional environment. An environment that would enable me to pay the bills, keep a roof over my head, and food in the bellies of me and my loved ones. But it’s more than that. It’s what truly makes me happy.
To be able to share my vision of this world in motion through whatever means. That is my purpose.
See how I tried to end that all epic-like?
So Ive entered my first photography contest! I was encouraged by NYFA Alum Jonathan Henry to enter PDN’s The Shot Sports Photography contest. I decided I would use two of my favorite pics I shot of Gonzalo Barroilhet from this summer; one of him throwing javelin and another of him pole vaulting. Contest winners will receive a DSLR, $50 giftcard to Adorama, and their picture published in PDNs February issue amongst other things. I WANT/NEED THAT CAMERA, even though they don’t specify which it is. If everyone could please go to the link I will provide and vote, I would be extremely grateful. Tell your friends, tell your family, your neighbors, mailman, whoever and lets win this thing! I will update you WHEN there is good news!