Each month, I interview a local photographer. Interested in participating? Please leave a comment!
Jerome studied many forms of dance when he was young, and performed in Washington, California, and New York. But during the off-season, he worked as a photographer in Tacoma, where he learned to utilize the camera as an extension of himself to capture moments and movements as he saw them.
Roxanne: When did you become interested in photography?
Jerome: I became interested in photography when I was 19. I was a ballet dancer at the time and started working part time as a photographer during the summers with Carpe Diem Studios in Tacoma. The photographer I worked for has since moved to the Midwest. I started shooting 35mm film and medium format, but as an assistant photographer.
Who or what influenced you to become a photographer?
The photographer I worked for at the time started telling me that I had a pretty good eye and was teaching me about what shots to take at a wedding. Soon afterward I started working for several other photographers as an assistant during the summer months during ballet’s off-season.
Why is photography important to you?
Photography is important to me because I’m documenting special moments. For instance I’ve documented weddings where a loved one died soon afterwards and the images that I’d taken were the last photos of that loved one. It makes me realize that there are no oh-well moments, that each moment is special and needs to be documented.
What motivates you?
Hmmm… lots of things motivate me, I think being a photographer makes me look at life differently. I look at a street scene and see a photo, I look at moments and try to anticipate what the emotion is or see interaction between two people and capture it at the right moment in my mind.
What’s your favorite lens or other piece of photography gear?
I love my 85mm lens, it’s fast and I do probably use it the most for wedding days. It makes me move around a lot because it doesn’t zoom, so I’m constantly seeing different shots to take.
What advice would you give someone just starting out in photography?
My advice for new photographers is perseverance. This is a tough business to get into because starting out the pay is low and there is a lot of work. I didn’t start enjoying the photography business until about three years ago, so it took me five years to actually like my job. : ) Even now there are new hurdles that I face, especially the accounting and business side, so also start out by getting a good business consultant, whether that is an accountant or a bookkeeper or someone who knows something about business.