I was slightly hesitant to put this interview up since Rene is only 16. I knew her photos were good and she has a love for film but it wasn’t until I read her answers that I thought the simplicity of it all can sometimes be lost and I feel Rene’s story might inspire you to just getting back to the simple rules. Like, take your camera everywhere.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am sixteen years young, stuck forever in a little town name Ayer, MA. I’m known to be very loud and always creating art. I was born on my father’s birthday.
What made you get into photography?
I always loved the look of my mother’s Polaroid. She never let me use it because “the film is too expensive.” Well, now the film isn’t being produced at all. I was only about 7 when I met a local photographer. I told him how I wanted my own camera and so he gave me one. It looked exactly like a disposable but it wasn’t. I was so excited, but my mother told me it was cheap and threw it away. I never lost interest.
How did you get started?
Once I entered middle school and digital cameras became more common, my parents gave me a compact digital camera. I was told I always took better pictures than the others, and I wanted to get better. I ended up breaking a few of those compact digital cameras, but once I entered high school I became serious about photography. My school is very poor, and the art program struggles. There was not photography class, so I begged to join a pre-college class. That is where I was first taught B&W film. That’s when I got my Nikon N80, my first SLR. I fell in love, and I now have a special bond with my cameras that no human can form with me. 🙂 I didn’t get a DSLR until June of 2010. That’s when I started shooting a local band and they helped me create a business.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
Recently I’ve been shooting a lot of concerts and documenting my friends. I just bring my camera everywhere until my friends start to forget the camera is around and before you know it, you get the shot. Most people say I do portraits.
I really want to branch out into fine art photography and abstract landscapes, I want to put more depth into my photos.
What gear are you using?
I mainly use my Nikon D90, Nikon N80, and Canon Ae-1. For a lens I mainly use my 50mm f/1.4 or my kit lens 18-55mm f/3.5. I recently adopted five new (old) film cameras. Those are still being tested out. I also acquired quite a few lenses, flashes, and other accessories which I haven’t really used yet.
What’s your favorite lens and why?
The best lens I own is definitely my 50mm f/1.4. It is fast for my low-lit concert shots and has little distortion. Plus, who doesn’t like a shallow depth of field every once in a while? I also love that it is a fixed focal length because I can more easily predict the framing of the shot before hand. Sometimes, I wish it were a wider angle so I didn’t have to step back every time I wanted to take a picture!
How are you marketing yourself?
Word of mouth and social networking websites such as Facebook, Tumblr, and most of all, Flickr. I just befriend who ever I come across and remember to add them on a social site so I can send them a link. For concerts, I’ve been shooting all bands that perform, even if I only came for one band. That way I can send them a sampler image with a watermark (gross, I know) on it. that way They can contact me about purchasing more images if they like what they see. If they decide to steal the image I showed them, then at least the watermark will give me some publicity.
What’s your favorite photo you have taken?
This is too difficult. I don’t know which photograph is my favorite, but I was certainly proud of this one when I first printed it.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Well, I certainly don’t want to claim to be a professional. There will always be more for me to learn, but my advice to others and myself is quite simple. Bring your camera everywhere possible, and branch out of your comfort zone every once in a while. You never know when inspiration will strike and just keeping your camera around can help you compose shots more efficiently. Experiment.
Even if one isn’t trying to be pro, it is always wise to befriend fellow photographers! Every photographer is different and have different qualities to share with others.