Could you give us a little background on yourself?
I’m a 31 year-old, San Francisco Bay Area native. I’ve been shooting since 2011 but I’ve tinkered with Photoshop since I was in high school. I got into photography because I was in a creative rut. I was playing drums in a band that eventually broke up and I no longer had an effective creative outlet. Inspired by some photographer friends at the time, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at photography since I already had a knack for using Photoshop. I became obsessed. Over the past 5 years, I’ve explored almost every genre of photography, I’ve created plenty of terrible photos (and some good ones), I’ve written 2 books, and I don’t intend to stop any time soon.
You create beautiful work. What excites you about what you make?
I get excited by creating photos that nobody else can. My favorite things to shoot are abandoned buildings. I dabble in other areas, but abandoned places always kick my inspiration into overdrive. I get excited by the notion that most photographers don’t have the desire to find, enter, or shoot abandoned places. This means that a very small percentage of people will ever photograph, or even see, the same places that I do. In a time when 100 new photographers are born every day, I still get to create unique art with unique subjects.
This genre, known as Urban Exploration, is also very difficult to shoot because the environments are often very dark. When you’re working with low light, you have to know your camera and your craft really well in order to create dramatic shots. Combined with the fact that I’m often trying to avoid falling through rotting floorboards, every photoshoot is a challenge. If it’s not challenging me, it’s not fun.
How did you come to meet Meural?
I got my MBA in Entrepreneurship so I’m always interested in hearing about new startups. I was getting my daily dose of Entrepreneur magazine back in April and I saw an article that explained Meural and its mission. I was really intrigued so I shot them a message and simply said that I’d like to get involved.
What is Meural to you?
Meural, to me, is an opportunity for artists to reach new viewers and it’s also a hope of reviving a declining market. Photography has taken a hit in the last decade. It’s become easier for anyone to pick up a camera and take good shots without much knowledge of the art. Also, we’re living in an age where many consumers expect free content. We’ve seen how this concept has affected the music industry. The combination of these two factors has created a market with too much content that consumers don’t want to pay for. From a photographer’s standpoint, it’s now harder to attract new fans and it’s even harder to make any money doing what I love.
Without sounding too prophetic, I think Meural has the opportunity to fix both of these factors which are hindering the market. Offering high-quality content to viewers at a low cost is a win-win for both photographers and fans of the medium.
What’s next for you?
Since most of my income doesn’t come from photography, I have the luxury of taking photos whenever and wherever I want without any pressure. Those two freedoms keep me happy and prevent photography from becoming “just a job.” I’ll be heading across the country shortly to photograph some abandoned buildings that I’ve never seen before. After that, I might try to put together a coffee table book of my favorite shots of the past 5 years. Who knows though? I only pursue the things that make me truly happy. There isn’t much time for anything else.