What is your title, and can you explain what your daily responsibilities are?
Thank you for having me, Andrew. Now, I already can’t answer your first question properly, as I haven’t had an official title now for some years. I usually describe myself as both a journalist and photography enthusiast. My love for photography has got me to write about it and I usually spend my days creating articles and tutorials and the occasional book and shooting the images for these articles. Most of my stuff deals with Photoshop, Lightroom and of course plug-ins like the ones from onOne, Topaz or Macphun.
What inspired you most to become a Photographer? Why did you pursue this as a career?
The love for images goes back quite a long way. I loved to draw when I was a kid and then got hooked on photography when my dad gave me a Nikon FM. During school I’ve photographed a lot, developing and enlarging the photos in our own darkroom. I still remember the magic, when an image suddenly appeared on the paper.
Later, when I’ve moved into „real life“ and had a regular job I had to put the camera aside, as I had no darkroom and, even worse, no time anymore. It’s been a sad time as I’ve missed the creativity. I tried to find some o fit by going from a IT job into PR, but it’s not been the same.
In my spare time I started to learn Photoshop and tried to get as close to photography. This was long before Adobe even published CS, to buy a Mac was far out of my reach and to have a color 14“ screen was considered luxury.
When the first usable digital cameras appeared I had to get one – I think it was an Olympus. Then, as Nikon came up with the D100, I was back on the track and started shooting again. Soon after I’ve quit my job and started to work as a freelance writer and photographer, giving me the freedom to work on the things I really enjoy. Would I pursue this line of career again? Well, today I’d probably would be less scared and immediately get into photography; even it’s a hard market.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in the creative fields?
As in most businesses these days money is an essential point. Most artists have to work extremely hard to make a living. There is a lot of knowledge out there today, so you need to be really good to compete. You can’t make it being creative alone, you also need to commit yourself to constant learning and improvement.
Today you not only have to deal with a huge group of talented people but also there are clients who try to buy creative support as cheap as possible, even trying to get work done for free in exchange for “exposure”. A beginner in the creative field might easily fall for it and it’s important to learn that you need to insist on a certain value of the work you do. In the end you’ll find yourself working 24/7 and earning next to nothing. Also the so called “exposure” won’t ever buy you food or pay your rent and it’s pretty hard to raise prices after you’ve started as the one being cheaper than anyone else.
But there’s one reason you still should pursue a career in the creative field: you will feel better as you do what you love and you’ve got the change to meet some fantastic people in photography.
With all the new versions of Photoshop and Lightroom what changes do you personally feel are the most exciting or brilliant?
My personal game changer has been the development of content aware fill and the improvements in masking. Now compositings have been much more easy to create – I could suddenly create images I’ve not been able to do before. I love to use Lightroom to organize my images, it has really improved the clutter on my harddisk and I’m able to find images I haven’t seen for ages.
What Photographers & Photoshop artists do you follow, and why do they stand out from others in your opinion?
There are a few photographers and Photoshop artists I admire. I’ve had the pleasure to meet some of them in person and I’ve to say that I’ve never me a nicer bunch of people. I found that the really cool artists are down to earth people, they don’t to put up the ‘Look at me, I’m a great artist’ show. I’ve written about some great artists in my blog at http://www.sixty5.org/tag/sunday-inspiration/
So here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:
Frank Doorhof – www.frankdoorhof.com Frank is a genius when it comes to strobes and creative angles in photography. He made me use a lightmeter and inflicted the love to use a Deep Octa in me.
Glyn Dewis – www.glyndewis.com Glyn is a bit of a role model when you want to know how to start a career. He’s a hard working guy with massive talent and a great sense of humor. I love Glyn’s way of retouching his images and his stunning Photoshop tricks. He’s also responsible for one of the best magazine covers I’ve ever had the pleasure to approve as editor.
Peter Kemp – www.peterkemp.nl Peter is an amazingly nice guy and a creative mastermind. His head must be buzzing with tons of surreal ideas and it’s unbelievable what he comes up with on a set. From him I’ve learned a lot about creating stories.
Vernon Trent – www.vernontrent.com Vernon is probably the exact opposite of Photoshop and digital – he’s a master in old photography techniques and creates wonderful wet plates and prints. You can really learn a lot about photography essentials from him. All of his images seem to have something special, a certain vibe or feel.
What social networks do you like most? Which present good examples of Photoshop & Photography the best?
When it comes to photography I totally like 500px. This platform shows some really good artists and it’s easy to use. Facebook probably is the must have thing if you want to reach out to a lot of people and to connect with other artists and models. Yet it’s an optical nightmare with a lot of pros and cons in usage. But you can’t do without it these days.
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 networks are the way to go. Already most people are using Facebook and less people care for ‘old media’ like TV and print, so artists need to be present on social networks to find their audience.
I think 500px will still be the role model for showing photography. The next best thing would be Google+, but it does not reach as many people as Facebook. I would love to see Facebook adding more of the 500px feel to it. So my wish would be a mix of Facebook and 500px. Facebook still lacks in terms of image size and organization, but I think they will evolve in this direction over time.
What’s missing is a community for artists, where images got curated properly. There are some attempts like 1x or The Arcanum, covering some aspects of it, but no community where you’ll find about every artist.
What predictions do you have for the future of Photoshop and Lightroom?
I assume we will see more sophisticated features in the next generations of Lightroom and Photoshop seems to get more powerful with every release. I guess that the possibilities in shifting perspectives will increase and also compositing will see more and more automated features.