Photographer - But what do I ACTUALLY do?

With the prevalence of social media and the pressure to live that #wanderlust life photographers have a tendency to only show that cool, hip side of the job and I tend to be guilty of that. Of coarse some photographers do actually work travelling around the globe, shooting celebrities or unbelievable landscapes but you still never see an Instagram post of them figuring out their taxes or pitching to potential clients. 

Basically, no matter what your online presence shows there's always the 'behind the scenes' work that needs to be done in order to achieve those jealousy stirring posts. Actually, many of the photographers that I know with thousands of followers and a feed that makes anyone want to quit their job have day jobs or secondary means of income. Many of them are shooting the slightly less glamorous, more lucrative aspects of photography or have set themselves up by other means to support their photography.

Since I began shooting I've always been hard on myself by comparing my career to some of the photographers I look up to most. Photographers like Joey Lawrence who has been shooting huge, super cool commercial jobs since I first started following him on DeviantArt or a good friend of mine, Maria Govea aka The Supermaniak who spends her days shooting some of the worlds largest internationally known DJ's - but, what I failed to realize early, was that everyone has a different path, professionally or personally.

The following was taken while assisting Joey Lawrence in 2014

Photography is not easy career. The dedication it takes to succeed can only be fuelled by a passion so strong you're okay with the idea of possibly living off KD or rarely getting a full-nights sleep. For years I was balancing assisting, shooting, and in some cases working other full time or part time jobs within the industry. Although I have always hustled to advance I still may not have pushed as hard as I could have; for me, although photography is an extremely high priority, my career doesn't outweigh my desire to live a fulfilling and mentally-healthy life. Perhaps if I travelled or socialized less I would be further ahead but, at this point, even tho I haven't hit the commercial success of others or shot a Patagonia campaign (yet) I'm still completely content with where I am and the life I've built for myself.

Me and some pals in front of an active volcano.

Me and some pals in front of an active volcano.

Although, to be honest, I never thought I would see myself in the position I'm in, I'm so happy to have a job shooting, supporting the lifestyle I want to live, and providing me with enough support to explore my personal interests (travel/river surfing!). So, what do I ACTUALLY do? What happens behind the scenes of my Instagram full of adventurous photos? I guess you could say I'm an ecomm/advertising/fashion photographer.

About a year and a half ago I got hired by an advertising agency to take on a majority of Marks (formally Work Warehouse) in-studio, on-figure photography. Whats that mean? I take a lot of photos of models, wearing Marks clothes, for Signs, Flyer, Web, or advertising.

62 Looks shot front and back, styled each time. The minimum for one 'WEB' Day.

62 Looks shot front and back, styled each time. The minimum for one 'WEB' Day.

Some days are less glamorous where I shoot 100+ styled looks in an intense day of button pressing and some days are more exciting where I conceptualize, produce, and shoot 'look books' for new lines. Either way, I take a lot of photos.

Jean lookbook showcasing the stretch in the new line.

Jean lookbook showcasing the stretch in the new line.

Although, like most people, I would prefer to be travelling the world and taking photos of places and cultures that interest me, my experience with the agency has been unmeasurable. I've gathered an insight to the advertising world from the agency perspective, rather than a freelancer, and I've developed a mean process for getting high quality images at a fast, demanding pace.

Christmas campaign.

Christmas campaign.

'Spring New Arrivals' lookbook.

'Spring New Arrivals' lookbook.

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Adrian Martinus - Avenue Article

Local woodworkers Adrian and Martinus Pool take the increasingly desired 'reclaimed wood' aspect of woodworking to a completely new level. In addition to working with typical reclaimed materials such as barn wood and old floors, these brothers have come to be known for their ability to work with an otherwise overlooked building material - broken skateboards. From AdrianMartinus perspective 'reclaimed wood doesn't have to look dirty".

Growing up close to their grandfather, a hobby wood turner, and simultaneously immersed in the skateboarding culture, the two seemed to have naturally acquired the skills to combine these two seemingly distant worlds. "We didn't approach woodworking seriously until we started using skateboards, at the time it was an easily accessible material that wasn't being used" Martinus explained. Having seen countless broken skateboards being thrown aside the duo began playing with the idea of building out this challenging but equally rewarding material.

Since each skateboard is already pre-shaped, drilled into, covered in extremely adhesive grip tape, and significantly beat up, building with this distinct material can be challenging. Like most things, these challenges also come with their rewards - because each skateboard is completely unique and comes with so many varying characteristics each piece they create ends up being completely individual to the next one. Although typically built of seven dyed maple veneers each skateboard manufacturer varies in the shape and colours of their product, with this and the consideration of the difficulty in sourcing material it would be impossible to recreate any exact piece. 

When asked about their design and build process, the brothers typically like to keep their procedures a mystery, but are able to joke that it's "a lot of making things square and glueing them together. There's a lot of glueing". With the increase of 'How-To' videos online, small unique businesses such as AdrianMartinus need to keep an air of mystery to them to maintain the desire for clients to purchase and support theirs and other artisan businesses. When compared to potentially similar brands, Martinus is confident as their products are both aesthetically interesting but also practical - "our approach is to refine the process enough that we're able to create products that have the interesting skateboard aesthetic but also maintain the pieces intended functionality".

A potential misconception of AdrianMartinus is of the actual magnitude of the duo's production. Their North-West Calgary workshop is clear indicator of the companies professionalism and seriousness - the shop is huge and filled with enough machinery to make any woodworkers head spin. In addition to the well designed workshop, being brothers seems to also help productivity as they both seem to be on the same page. Martinus explained that, "We're both all in, it's easy to empty the bank account for a new tool or make a big business decisions when we're so invested. Also, growing up on an acreage made us used to being together - we can spend hours working in the same room without speaking."

With the increasing success of their business, more and more of AdrianMartinus work is popping up around the city. In addition to the many private furniture sales their work can also be seen at Alforno, Last Best Brewery, Made By Marcus, Cucina, EAT, Royale, and various other restaurants and markets.

For the future, aside from surviving their unheard of work hours, they "have no interest in expanding just yet as all of our ideas come from doing the production ourselves. We're always focused on refining our product line and plan to soon launch a furniture line.". Commenting on how busy they are, Martinus jokes about how they run the company; "we can be as busy as we want to be and we always seem to be incredibly busy"