Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Exclusive interview with Joey L, The Twilight Photographer

Joey L, A Photographer Between two worlds
I got my start in the photography world taking pictures of dinosaurs. I was a kid and, like most kids, I was fascinated by dinosaurs. Those were my first pictures; like dioramas, selling a lot through photographing them for my website. That’s how I learned a lot about photography, Photoshop, lighting, compositions, etc…
I have been a professional photographer since I was 16 years old; that’s when I started to earn money from this business, by taking photos of local bands. I’m now 21, so it’s been 5 years since I’ve been in the domain.
My school:
I never had any formal training and never went to Photography College. Everything I’ve learned has been through reading books, on the internet, taking photography workshops or trials. I am self taught; practicing, reading books and the internet, I didn’t get any training from anybody.
My style:
I like to describe it as ‘cinematic portraits’. I get a lot of inspiration from movie sets. I like to photograph more traditional subjects and subjects from different cultures but giving them a very modern feel, as they kind of pick their way through life in the 21st century. Showing that they are still living through their traditional culture, but in the modern world.
I enjoy doing commercial shoots. They take me away from my more personal stuff, so when I go back to it, it’s more relaxing and more fun. Between my personal and my commercial shoots, there is a crucial balance. I consider myself a photographer in between two worlds.
How do you prepare for a photo-shoot?
I think about what the brief is, and try to integrate creative input with the concept as much as possible, because then I’m more in control and can take photographs that I am happier with, because I am my own worst critic.
I prepare myself mentally by seeing the vision that I have in my head, and trying to apply it in actuality to the physical world with the tools that I have to hand. And I don’t stop until I’ve reached the ideal image that’s in my head.
What distinguish a good model from ‘other’ models?
Somebody who is loose in front of the camera, I don’t shoot high fashion photography, so it’s a lot different for me. The good thing about my personal work is that my subjects are not used to seeing magazines and advertisements, so they stand the way they like, and the same thing goes for the commercial work. A fashion photographer might tell you something different, but I like it natural, dignified.

Your favorite lens:
Leaf shutter lens80 mm 2.8 versions for the phase one and 50 mm 1.2 Cannon version.
What Lighting do you use?
Profoto Lighting and broncolor
What camera do you use?
Phase one 365 Back on a Mamiya
During Sessions how many photos do you take, to get the right one:
In my personal work, 5-6 maximum, since I don’t want to make my subjects angry. So usually I do it very fast since it’s a pre-visualized situation. But for the commercial shoots, I can take a lot of test shots; maybe the client is looking for an expression different from mine; so it all depends.
Do you shoot personal work?
Yes of course.
One thing I’m often misquoted on is that I shoot my commercial work as a means to an end. But in reality I love shooting commercial stuff. And then when I’ve done too much of that, I want to do a personal shoot again. That balance is very crucial to me.
Website to share:
Famous clients:
Twilight, Nickelodeon, History Channel, Warner Brothers, NBC, Forbes, Kawasaki and many more
I have awards but they’re not that important to me. I’ve won international photography portrait award with my Ethiopia series but I don’t really enter many contests.
Right now I am represented in a gallery called “Photo Eye” and also galleries across the USA in difference places and a gallery in Paris will be taking my work soon. A lot of different galleries show my work.
Last 4 Photoshoots:
Pawn Star - Season 3 for History Channel
Nickelodeon shoot
Personal exhibition shoot in India (3 weeks)
Shoot for Capital Records
A word to your fans:
I have put my name to many things that people know (such as Twilight), but I am attached to many other things, and I hope that they see it all, because it all represents me.
Look at all my work; the whole spectrum of my work.
My advice to new photographers:
New photographers should experiment. When you read a book or look at photographs, try to dissect the light for yourself. When you’re looking at other people’s work, try to apply it to your own work; experiment with it, and make mistakes, because that’s how you learn.
Word for LPM:
I’ve never been to Lebanon, but I would love to come to do some personal work about Lebanese people.
To the Lebanese Photography Magazine, I say: Go for it and prosper!
Website: www.joeyl.com
Blog: joeyl.com/blog
Tutorials: Learnfromjoey.com
Twitter: twitter.com/joeyldotcom
Agency: Patricia Mcmahon Photography

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