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Interview with Michael Corsentino – Photographer & Educator

Michael Corsentino - Photographer & Educator
What is your title, and can you explain what your daily responsibilities are?
My title? Hmm, how about “Chief Bottle Washer”. That about sums it up! What I love about my job is that it’s always different and it’s way more than a job it’s a passion, it’s a lifestyle. On any given day I might be planning an upcoming shoot, fighting my way through another airport, shooting in the studio or location with an amazing team of creatives, doing admin, fielding the never ending stream of emails, working on book projects or writing on a column for one of the photography magazines I work with.

What inspired you most to become a Photographer & Educator? Why did you pursue this as a career?
I love photography’s ability to capture the moment, to tell stories, to reveal the unknown, to transport you to other places and times, to bring you inside lives otherwise unseen and emotions suppressed or forgotten. Images are like looking at lightning in bottle. I’ve been making pictures for over 35 years and my images, commercial as well as personal, represent a kind of visual journal of my life. With respect to educating and giving back, for me it’s a natural progression. As a leader I know there are people struggling with the same technical and creative issues I’ve been through. If I can help shed some light and help others along their path I feel it’s my responsibility.

What do you think is the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in the creative fields?
Business fundamentals or the lack thereof. Creatives need to think more like business owners and less like artists. That doesn’t mean not being committed to your artistic vision, quite the contrary. What it does mean is that you’re also as committed to running a business that sells art. Even with fine art, there’s a gallery involved, doing what? Selling art! Absent the selling there probably won’t be much full time art making going on for very long. Control your assets, don’t run your business like a hobby, don’t base your prices on what the guy down the street charges, don’t give away the farm just to be a pleaser, each of these is financial suicide.

With all the new versions of Photoshop and Lightroom what changes do you personally feel are the most exciting or brilliant?
As polarizing as the cloud based model of Photoshop was it’s inception I do feel it’s a step in the right direction. The continued innovation delivered right to the desktop has made me a believer. Lightroom mobile is also a great beginning, I’m excited to see where they take it. Since incorporating medium format digital into my work I’m using Capture One Pro for the majority of my RAW conversions and I have to say this software is amazing!

What Photographers & Photoshop artists do you follow, and why do they stand out from others in your opinion?
That’s a long and continually evolving list by if I had to name a few they would be: Rankin, Yu Tsai, Art Streiber, Joey L, Julia Kuzmenko McKim, Clay Cook, Calvin Hollywood, Natalia Taffarel. For me the artists who stand out, inspire and excite me the most are those who continuously push the boundaries and find new ways to express themselves with their amazing work.

What social networks do you like most? Which present good examples of Photography the best?
I’m a big fan of Instagram and Pinterest. I love the energy, immediacy, creative work and inspiration I find on each. Pinterest is also a great tool for creating and sharing inspiration boards with my team for upcoming shoots.

What is your prediction of the evolution of social networks? How do you think these networks will showcase artists and Photographers better in the future?
Social media has helped democratize all of the creative arts by removing the traditional barriers which prevented content creators from sharing their message with a larger audience. As technology moves forward and bandwidth increases this ability will only grow more robust.

What predictions do you have for the future of Photoshop and Lightroom?
I think both applications will continue to move in the exciting cloud based, mobile centric directions we’re seeing today.

Follow Michael here! corsentinophotography.com on Instagram on Facebook  & on Twitter

Interview with Zale Richard Rubins – Photographer

Zale Richard Rubins - Photographer

What is your title, and can you explain what your daily responsibilities are?
Our business is a corporation and I am the president. That being said I am the chief cook and bottle washer! I have a degree in graphic design with a minor in marketing. In my area of expertise I am self taught. We have had upwards of 10 employees over the years and now it is just myself and my office manager.

I have always made it a point to know how to do each and every job in the business and now with the economy being what it is that has proven to be extremely important. The term of art, I believe, is “force multiplier”. I can produce as much work on my own now as we did with 3 people 5 years ago with no loss of quality or attention to the client’s needs.

What inspired you most to become a Photographer? Why did you pursue this as a career?
A movie called “Blow Up” is what motivated me to be a photographer. I was 25 units shy of my degree in marketing and I changed majors and started all over.

I have always felt that what better way to live your life than to wake up every day and enjoy going to work. I never assisted another photographer nor once I decided on my career choice have I deviated from it. I have only worked for myself as a photographer and nothing else. That is a luxury that may not be as easily achieved today as when I started out. I happened to have the right skill sets and was able to make a great career. Now in its 43rd year. I love what I do and look forward to each new day with the same enthusiasm as when I first started out. If you have that as a dream don’t let anything get in your way. But, re-evaluate (re-invent) every 5 years without fail. Make goals that are realistic and readily achievable.

What do you think is the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in the creative fields?
The lack of work. And most importantly the lack of work for proper pay. There is plenty to do out there for photographers except that now we are treated as camera operators and not the artists we think we are. There is too much competition from high school students, moms with too much time, equipment mongers, in-house corporate studios, bean counters and hungry fellow photographers today. They all chip away at a finite piece of pie. Many are talented and many are just technically proficient. The part timers and the low ballers do a disservice to the men and women who decide to support their families through their pricing practices. Corporations do the same thing from the other direction by simply devaluing the service they are requesting. In a way we are living in the time of the perfect economic storm.

Talk to most photo professionals who have been around for 30 years or more and you will hear they are working as hard and for about what they earned when they started out. But, hey we love what we do and are glad to still be doing it. But, it is no longer what it was as a career when we started and I can say I am glad to be on this side of it as a career rather than looking to enter it.

With all the new versions of Photoshop and Lightroom what changes do you personally feel are the most exciting or brilliant?
I just look at it as a continuum. My skill set is directed at what I do not necessarily what I want to do so it is pretty static. The last three versions have been singular reasons to upgrade not the multitude of items put out there. The marketing of the products and add ons no longer hit me the same way. I have bought into it too often and now just concentrate on what I do. Once you get off the “bleeding edge” there is no reason to go back. If I need to do something different I do my research and buy accordingly. By now I have enough to let me do most everything I need to for a long time.

What Photographers & Photoshop artists do you follow, and why do they stand out from others in your opinion?
I really stopped doing all that pretty early on. It kind of reminds of when I started out. Kodak used to throw these magnificent seminars. Lunch, intellectual stimulation, tips,how to’s, etc. Round tables with highly successful shooters. Then I saw the trend. Some of the people were talking about business and technical issues I couldn’t quite relate to. After all I was just starting out. And, why weren’t the really cool shooters there? Oh, they were working? So I started doing those seminars less and less and spent more and more time just shooting and drumming up business and becoming my own success rather than supporting theirs. Don’t get me wrong I had a heck of a library.

Now, with the internet I have access to any area of knowledge I need. Also, truth be told I don’t need to be a copyist by learning someone else’s style and simply interpreting it. I need to come to my own style with the readily available tools. And, obviously you are always seeing other work so it does play an influencing role but I don’t study other photographers that way. I may be aware of their work no more no less.

What social networks do you like most? Which present good examples of Photography the best?
The most I do is Facebook. I have not really actively marketed on line. And, believe it or not I don’t spend a lot of time checking out others.

What is your prediction of the evolution of social networks? How do you think these networks will showcase artists and Photographers better in the future?
Because of the above I am probably the last person to ask about this.

What predictions do you have for the future of Photoshop and Lightroom?
They will end up having to lower their pricing structure because the long term trend seems to be a lowering of everyone’s pricing and a lot of artists can’t afford the monthly expense.  That being said they will continue to evolve their products and I would think video will play a greater part of the mix. Other than that I am not the best prognosticator – just check my stock buys over the years.

Follow Zale here! www.zalephoto.comwww.zalephotoart.com

 


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