It’s a good thing I didn’t get famous when I was 20.

TB9_4699Ok. Not really. I’m sure the benefits outweigh the bad things. But sometimes people hit something in their youth, something that really connects with people and takes off. The music industry revolves around this. Young musicians hit on something, get huge, and then spend the rest of their careers learning how to actually play instruments. If you’ve got 5 minutes and are in Shinjuku, I’ll teach you how to play Come As You Are. Really. It’s not hard. Have you seen the solo for Blitzkreig Bop?

TB9_4700Photography ends up working out the same way. Photographers pick up new tricks all the time, refining their style, even changing it, looking for the next thing that improves them. But occasionally someone hits something that strikes a nerve with people while they’re still in their experimental youth. The good news is, that means that the gear is probably cheap enough, and the strategy easy enough that it’s a great place for photographers to pick up and learn something new.

TB9_4701One of these guys is Spike Jonze. Now, I’ll be honest and admit that the first time I really heard of him was the Sabotage music video, and I had no idea until just this minute that he was the guy dancing in the Praise You video. Before Being John Malkovich, before any of that, he was a skateboard photographer. He defined that fisheye lens/hard flash look that we connect with skateboard and extreme sports photography. Walking home from a shoot with the talented Ashley Parish, I ran into some skateboarders in Shinjuku, and asked if I could shoot a little. I had my YN-565, so I threw it on TB9_4703the Nikon CLS TTL mode, and put it on the ground. I threw on the Nikon 20mm f/2.8 lens because it was the closest thing to a fisheye that I own constantly borrow from Fotojapao’s Meg Yamagute, and in 3 seconds, I was ready to go. Not bad for my first attempt, and an impromptu one at that. I’d like to try some more of this with some other lights and tricks.


  • I actually thought that this entry was going to go in a completely opposite direction, but it was really interesting to read~ I’m still of the opinion that being famous is vastly overrated, but hey. xD *shrugs* Talent is talent, and you’ve got some. : )

    • Thank you. I try to always be improving. Sometimes, I look back at my old photography, and I’m really glad that I wasn’t insta-famous back then. But then, I probably wasn’t insta-famous because I was really bad. Maybe someday I’ll get good. Cartier-Bresson said your first 10,000 photos are your worst. for me, it may be more like 100,000. I’m kinda jealous of the people that have that eye to create something that is amazing despite technical deficiencies. I was worried that this post might seem like a hack on Spike Jonze or Nirvana, but there’s a reason why they’re household names. They’re awesome.

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