I’m trying to work out how to describe Joels work, but I’m speechless. Have a read of this interview then check out his website and you’ll see what I mean.
Tell us a little about yourself?
Well, I have a passion to create. This is built into my DNA. I have spent a lifetime using a camera to fulfill my vision as an artist. I believe that we are now in the greatest age of photography because of all the options that we have to create. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
What made you get into photography?
I ended up taking a photography class during my freshman year of high school and really was hooked from that moment on. It wasn’t until I begin taking courses in college that I believed there was a possibility to make photography my occupation.
How did you get started?
After I graduated from the University of Arizona in 1984 with a bachelors degree in photography, I did a short stint assisting in LA and then moved with a friend to Denver Colorado to setup a photography studio. I quickly learned that the real world was extremely brutal and that only the strong survive. The first lesson I had to learn was overcoming my fear of rejection. It is a 100% guarantee that in this industry you will be rejected on a daily basis. The second thing I had to overcome was the fear of making a cold call. During the first year I was in business I logged in over 3000 cold calls and showed my portfolio close to 250 times. This is how you get started in this business.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
I have worked in all sorts of arenas over the years such as architecture, annual reports, book publishing, fine art etc… but currently I would be classified as an advertising photographer. I would classify myself as a portrait shooter and one of the main subject matters that I am currently concentrating on is sports/fitness.
What gear are you using?
I currently use a Canon 5D Mark II.
Whats your favorite lens and why?
I am primarily a wide-angle shooter. For most of my sport subjects I am shooting with a 24mm lens. I love the forced perspective and the stretched proportions this lens gives you. Is very rare that I shoot with a lens longer than 50 mm.
How are you marketing yourself? There is no substitute for making cold calls and setting up portfolio showings. However, I’m currently advertising in a sourcebook called At-Edge.
Whats your favorite photo you have taken?
Typically a true artist will always tell you their last creation is their favorite. It is because we are always refining our craft and hopefully the last creation represents that.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
As I stated, unless you can overcome the fear of rejection you will never survive in this industry. And unless you can pick up the phone and make a cold call you will never be able to market effectively. In creating images, you have to build a body of work that brands your identity and represents your uniqueness as an artist. Art directors, art buyers, etc…. ultimately want to work with an artist. Technicians are a dime a dozen, but artist we immortalise.