This has been a while in the making. I've always been concerned with how to get my work out there, and everything I've done in the past has been a sort of temporary or makeshift situation. That said, I can't quite express how happy I am with how silvestography.com turned out, and it warms my heart to know you're here. Now, why don't we discuss how I got here, and why that matters...

Photography began for me as an alternative to music, another passion of mine. I began formally learning the art at Appel Farm Arts Camp, where we shot everything on Kodak T-Max 400 film, processed it, and printed everything in the darkroom. It took me a while to find a real vision, and I think part of that has to do with the fact that I didn't get my fundamentals down until my second year shooting, which brings me to my first point:

1. Learn things right the first time.

If there were to be one thing I would change about my photography education, it would have been the very beginning. To this day, I wish I had nailed down concepts like the exposure triangle and proper composition so that I could spend more time developing a style. Even so, I was able to pinpoint my passion for music photography by my third year.

My first venture into music photography. I shot this one in a dark theater using ISO 400 film (though I pushed it to 800 in camera), and printed it on warm tone fibre paper. As you can see, I had some work to do.

My first venture into music photography. I shot this one in a dark theater using ISO 400 film (though I pushed it to 800 in camera), and printed it on warm tone fibre paper. As you can see, I had some work to do.

Fast forward about a year, and I had gotten myself my first DSLR. I went with Canon as a matter of convenience, since my mom had some Canon lenses I could use, though I outgrew them quickly. That brings me to my second and third points:

2. Invest in good gear (glass in particular) early. 

3. Don't make purchases on a whim.

After getting my camera, I spent several months mucking about with the two variable aperture zooms I had inherited (an old 18-55 and a 70-300 for those interested), and I wasn't producing anything I was really happy with. A gear head at heart, I thought that buying a new lens would get those creative gears turning. What ended up happening was I bought a lens (my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8) that I wouldn't know how to use well until much later on, and a few months later, ended up getting the lens I should have gotten to begin with (the Sigma 50mm f/1.4). 

With my new fleet of glass, I took up street photography, which kept me going for a while. Shooting on the streets gave me time to figure out how I liked to compose my shots and edit my work. My fourth point is kind of subjective, but may hold true for many:

4. If you don't know where to start, shoot on the street.

This is a more recent street shot, but I feel that by this point, I was starting to get it when it comes to having a vision.

This is a more recent street shot, but I feel that by this point, I was starting to get it when it comes to having a vision.

I suppose you could generalize that above statement to simply saying, "shoot what's accessible". I say this because after picking up yet another lens, I began concert photography, which for me, was both surprisingly accessible and remarkably fulfilling. Oddly enough, the reason I shot my first show to begin with was that several of my friends were going to a sold out XX concert, and the only way I could possibly get in was with a photo pass. I was lucky to get one, and the experience of shooting was eye-opening. It simply felt right, so I did more.

5. If you find something you enjoy, stick with it.

This doesn't just apply to photography. I'm the kind of guy that believes in learning and working on something until you're amazing at it before moving on to other things. Likewise, it's always worth it to get your work out there once you've had some practice, which is exactly what I did.

6. Put yourself out there.

I'm not trying to sound like some preachy inspirational speaker, but persistence really pays off when it comes to getting work for yourself. I've had to email editors upwards of 10 times before getting a response, but hey, I got their attention and I'm getting to do work that I want to do.

Sometimes, you find hidden gems in your work. This was what I thought to be a throw-away image of an opening band but it ended being one of my favorite shots.

Sometimes, you find hidden gems in your work. This was what I thought to be a throw-away image of an opening band but it ended being one of my favorite shots.

I wasn't really intending for this post to go in this direction, but I sincerely hope you've gained something, or simply enjoyed me babbling about what's going on inside my brain. Cheers!

Comment