What is your title, and can you explain what your daily responsibilities are?
I like to call myself a photo-digital illustrator, but these days I am more of a photo educator. I teach two different interactive online courses at ppsop.com (thats the Picture Perfect School of Photography) and develop tutorials, workshops and seminars that I teach all around the country.
What inspired you most to become a Photographer/photo artist? Why did you pursue this as a career?
I’ve always been interested in photography. I started off by taking photos of my monster models with a Kodak Brownie camera when I was 8 years old. I started developing and printing photos for my Dad, who was a safety engineer — he took pictures of various factories and other commercial building for safety reports. I had a darkroom in our bathroom with chemical trays in the bathtub! I guess I just got hooked on seeing the pictures developed.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in the creative fields?
Making enough money! Everybody with a cell phone is a photographer and we are exposed to so much media that most people don’t have an appropriate context for the value of creative work. This mostly means that to have any success you must become an expert at marketing.
With all the new versions of Photoshop what changes do you personally feel are the most exciting or brilliant?
Layers was the first and most important one! After that, there has been a steady evolution of features that make image editing and image creation easier. The history panel is another great innovation, the various newer retouching tools: Spot Healing, Healing Brush, Content Aware Fill, etc.. Some of the big wow features have been great for demos, but end up having limited application in the real world. Photoshop has sort of become the Swiss Army Knife of graphics applications with support for 3D, Video, and god knows what else will be added in the near future.
What Photoshop artists/creatives do you follow, and why do they stand out from others in your opinion?
Dan Margulis, who is more of an educator than artist, but he is a true genius with color in Photoshop. I’ve followed him for years. Dave McKean, an incredible creative genius who has been an amazing illustrator, designer, film maker, and graphic novelist – really amazing. Bert Monroy – need I say more about him? Some great photo-illustration artists: Christophe Gilbert, Riccardo Bagnoli, Erik Almas, There are hundreds of really amazing people all over the world – Justin Maller in Australia, Maciej Mizer in Poland, (Poland is a hot bed of talent)
What social networks do you like most? Which present good examples of Photoshop and Photography the best?
Oh… I don’t know, Facebook and Google+, certainly. I like 500px for photography, Flickr, maybe Deviant Art? Behance is growing since Adobe’s support…
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?
Well… its all about the social network, isn’t it? We will see continued growth of all kinds of specialized networks but Facebook and Google will continue to dominate. There’s no barrier to entry as far as showcases go so there just way too much material to look through – the individual will still need to develop a creative marketing strategy to get noticed among the millions of posts, and images online!
What predictions do you have for the future of Photoshop and Photography?
Photoshop will continue to evolve and I don’t see anyone offering anything competitive, which is too bad because we could use a little competitive stimulation. The technology of photography will eventually embrace computational photography and we’ll see more professional versions of things like the Lytro camera and other really innovative technologies for image capturing. There is a new wave of imaging technology right around the corner but I have no idea how long its going to take to become integrated into mainstream imaging.
Lee’s classes at PPSOP:
“Photoshop Layers Fundamentals” at PPSOP: http://www.ppsop.com/play.aspx and
“Portrait Retouching Fundamentals” at PPSOP: http://www.ppsop.com/prfp.aspx