What started everything? How did you get into photography? When did you start taking it more seriously than a hobby?
I’ve always been fascinated with photography. I grew up reading Transworld Skate Mag and had all the photos plastered on my room walls. Photography has always been a part of my life and something I liked to do. After I got my first iPhone back in 2013 was when I started to use Instagram. I still hadn't taken it that serious but after moving downtown I had way more access and my love for photography grew. As a graphic designer a lot of composition and eye flow just came natural. A year later in 2014 I picked up my first DSLR camera and was on a mission to make my hobby a second job.
Do you remember your first shoot?
My first real time out shooting the streets was with my iPhone after work in my dress shoes and dress clothes. I had some local photogs let me tag along to a rooftop. It was one of the scariest, yet exciting experiences that definitely fueled my desire to push photography to the next level. Climbing 35 floors, mid-summer in 90 degree heat, and dangling my dress shoes off the ledge was definitely one for the books.
How do you define your style, and how did you discover it?
I feel people have two different styles. The way they shoot and they way they edit. I would define my style of photography as a whole as vibrant and edgy. I feel I discovered it by just being me and shooting what I thought looked interesting and could tell a story. It eventually evolved into what it is today.
You’re known for taking risks, like shooting on the edge of a rooftop. How do you find and get to these unique locations?
Being aware of all my surroundings and exploiting security flaws. Rooftop photography is one of those things best learned by experience. A lot of variables and things someone can't just tell you because it’s an in-the-moment kind of thing. If the opportunity presents itself, take it!
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Have you ever regretted using a dangerous location? Have you ever gone too far?
I never regret anything I have done with photography. The more dangerous the location, the more pleased I am to be honest. I wouldn't say I have ever gone too far for a shot, but I always have that little fear in the back of my head that keeps me alive. You’ve got to know your limits.
What's your craziest "location" story?
Craziest location would probably be on a moving crane. Little tip: cranes are not locked into place at night, allowing them to sway in the wind. I've never been more scared in my life than when a crane started to move while I was on it. This was a week after a crane had fallen in NYC so you can imagine the thoughts going through my head when I noticed the crane moving. Once I realized what was going on, I got back to taking photos. But it’s definitely one of the craziest locations I have shot.
What advice would you give to aspiring photographers who follow you and look-up to you, your work, and accomplishments?
I would tell them that gear doesn't matter. It’s all about the photographer. I feel a lot aspiring photographers feel intimidated because they don't have the best cameras and lenses, but all that isn't needed to grow and learn. Learn and master what you have and everything else will come with time and consistency.
Are there any photographers on IG that you personally look up to? Why?
I look up to a lot of photographers on IG but a one that stands out is @19tones. He has a very vibrant editing style, rich with color and contrast. @19tones has very versatile work with a good mix of portrait and cityscape, as well as always keeping up to date with trends. I reached out to him awhile back and did a collaboration edit, merging one of my shots with his Moscow shot. I have been following him ever since and watching him grow as a photographer and editor, which is a true inspiration.
How does YUMS tie into what you do?
YUMS is all about style and standing out from the rest, which I believe goes hand in hand with photography. I push myself to stand out and have created my own style and look that YUMS compliments.
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