What is your title, and can you explain what your daily responsibilities are?
Formally my title would be Executive Director for our company, but I generally describe myself as a Professional Creative. Daily responsibilities vary a lot when you’re running a small agency/studio as we all wear a lot of hats. Some days I’m drawing storyboards, other days I’m writing music for a project, sometimes it’s building a set and shooting. But, sometimes it’s taking out the trash or writing contracts for upcoming projects. I’m partnered with my wife in our business, I handle the account management and creative direction for our projects and she handles all of our records/contracts and production teams. There’s definitely a lot of crossover in shared responsibilities.
What inspired you most to become a Photographer/artist?
I’ve been asked this before and I honestly don’t know that I was ever inspired to become a photographer/artist. But, doing creative things and my interest in craft/technical skills has always been at my core. I was given a camera at an extremely young age, and it traveled with me everywhere. There are pictures of me with my little 110 film camera at various geographic iconic places like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or Piazza San Marco in Venice. That’s going back to when I was around 6-8 years old. Getting to travel a lot as a child I was exposed to the art of many cultures, and photography fascinated me more as I got older. When I became a teenager I was really involved with music and skateboarding. Those two cultures, at that time (80s-90s), were magical. There were so many new styles and discoveries, from fashion to stickers, to magazines, I couldn’t get enough.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in the creative fields?
I think there are a lot of things we could unpack with this question. But at a high level, the biggest challenge is finding your voice. Your unique value. That usually takes time to mature working in the field, and many creatives starting out feel like they have it right away. Even if they are really gifted with ideas they might not be ready to explain them so clients or audiences can understand them. In a creative field, you’re constantly trying to sell your idea or opinion and asking for trust to execute your concepts. So a big obstacle is having patience, taking time, and really learning the craft. Knowing the programs really well will only get you so far in a career today and it plateaus fast as the software gets easier to use.
This will become more important as design software integrates more machine learning and artificial intelligence like Adobe Sensei. Because great soft skills like communication, facilitation, collaboration, ideation, and more, will increase your value more than the technical skills will. You still need to understand how everything is made, but the expectation of being able to make it yourself will shift dramatically over the next decade.
What predictions do you have for the future of Photoshop, Lightroom, and Photography?
This is a tricky one. I honestly do believe that one day, Photography will be very polarized. Many genres of shooting like lifestyle, casual, “everyday” photography, will likely be done on phones and edited in a mobile platform. Five years ago I thought that was crazy, today I have shot photos and videos for clients using only my Google Pixel phone and it worked great. It just depends on the need of the media. So Photoshop and Lightroom are already heading that direction. The point is that if you know how to shoot with a camera, you’ll want to start practicing with a phone. But most young people today already practice a lot, with their phones. So this will be the comfort zone for them.
We are going to see a need for more experimentation with photography. The improvements in the field will be more subjective than technical. It’s not like lenses have changed that much in the last 3-4 decades after all. Sensors will continue to get better, features will improve, but the vast improvement will come from how or what we shoot. So most photography will become more subjective as a measure of quality. Especially if the technology is applying what it thinks “good” is to an image or video. If we keep teaching machines what good has been in the past, it will require us to change the scope of good for the future. Otherwise, the art of it all becomes stagnant and complacent. That may serve many while commoditizing the craft, but it won’t push the envelope, and that exploratory innovation is a uniquely human value.
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