I would have never thought that my gluttonous ways would eventually lead me to an intense love of photography. As a matter of fact I never even had any intentions of becoming a photographer. It's funny to reflect back on where this whole journey began because it all started with my love of food. I heard somewhere that if enough people tell you to do something then they clearly must think you're good at it and so with that notion in mind I was eventually persuaded by my friends to venture into the world of food blogging. I was always that guy who made fun of my friends for buying these expensive, huge and bulky dSLR cameras. Little did I know that everything was about to drastically change for me with the purchase of my first expensive, huge, and bulky dSLR (Canon 60D). I blindly jumped in head first into the world of blogging and food photography with my blog, thehungryrussian.com. Besides taking the occasional horribly lit food shot with my iPhone, at that point in time I had absolutely zero photographic skill and knowledge. Luckily the Internet is a wonderful thing! I scoured the web's resources for anything I could find such as online books, videos, tutorials, and countless articles but more than anything else I was constantly shooting and experimenting with my new camera. With some basic fundamentals and skills in mind I started to shoot food for my restaurant reviews. Needless to say it was love at first shot and the rest was history! Not only did I become obsessed but I completely immersed myself in photography. Once again the countless online resources propelled my photography to new levels and my next progression was landscape and architectural photography.
Living the majority of my life in New York, I never got tired of looking at the New York City skyline so it was only natural that NYC would become the focus of my developing photography. I shot countless shots of the skyline as well as various places around New York itself. As much as I was enjoying landscape photography, I was still curious to experiment with other genres and this is where my other passion stepped forward: aviation. I began shooting airshows and aviation events. I also did a lot of shooting from the confines of my friend's airplane. I was really enjoying photography at this point in time and it was always a blast to look back at my previous work, not only to see my growth and development, but to see that what I once thought was "good" work had become sub par. What never ceases to amuse me however is the fact that during the majority of this time I had absolutely zero desire to photograph people or do any kind of portraiture work even though portraiture is primarily what I shoot now. Of course all of that changed when I did a WWII vintage aviation shoot with some friends.
That shoot was a major turning point for my photography for 2 reasons. I discovered that I really enjoyed capturing people not only in their natural element but I also enjoyed posing them and getting various "looks". Secondly and perhaps even more importantly, I discovered a deep passion for vintage photography. I absolutely loved the idea that I could use Photoshop to transform my images into time portals which created not only a particular nostalgic feel but transported the viewer to a long gone era. Some time after that I was introduced to the Jazz Age Lawn Party, an annual vintage event which takes place on Governor's Island. I didn't know what to expect but once there I was immediately captivated by what I saw and heard. It's truly a unique event like no other but what it did for my photography was beyond words. It was here where I truly realized how much I really enjoy photographing people and it was here where I firmly planted my feet into vintage photography. The Jazz Age Lawn Party not only propelled my photography to new heights, but it also solidified the fact that from that point on I was going to concentrate on portraiture, both modern and vintage. The Jazz Age Lawn party also introduced me to an entire vintage community of amazingly creative people in fields such as photography, fashion, makeup, and dance. I will be forever grateful to the NYC vintage community as well as the numerous new friends I made.
Fast forward to the present day and you will find me constantly at work on refining and ever perfecting my photography and editing skills. One of the many things I love about photography is the endless learning and never ending ways to improve oneself. What I love about portraiture is the fact that it allows me to work with individuals from all walks of life and all ages. I strive to establish a relationship and rapport with every individual that I photograph because I firmly believe that is what produces true and genuine emotion which eventually translates to a beautiful and thought provoking photograph. It is extremely rewarding to create a photograph that not only touches people who view it but also deeply moves the subject of the photograph itself. I have learned a great deal in a relatively short amount of time but I am never satisfied which I think is a good thing because I am constantly working on improving my craft. Most important of all is the fact that photography has transformed my life in many ways. It has taught me that one can find beauty absolutely everywhere if one has the time and patience to simply look from a different perspective.
A special THANK YOU goes out to the following individuals for believing in me, constantly pushing me, and helping me in so many different ways:
And a huge THANK YOU to all of my friends in the vintage community!