Wednesday, August 20, 2008

When All Signs Point to No: Part 1

I can't remember exactly when I started to think that all things happen for a reason, but I think it was a combination of certain events that led me to be open to that idea. And so, without further ado, I will tell you guys why, within a year, I received all the wrong signs for pursuing photography.

When Ryan and I moved from the townhouse to a new neighborhood, it was kinda exciting. Best part was that we had a pool in the backyard. The day after we moved into the house, I was taking Xander for a morning run through the new neighborhood. It was then that we bumped into another dog owner. Little did I know at the time, this dog owner would prove to be an essential part of photography .

Thinking I would never see them again, Xander and I continued on our run. By that I mean, Xander dragging me as he chased the squirrels of the new neighborhood. But for some reason fate had different plans for me. We kept running into them, the dog owners not the squirrels, always exchanging a few bits and pieces of one another. After months of 3 minutes, and 22 second conversations (I carried a stop watch with me), we finally decided to walk the dogs along the same path. This really gave us a chance to get to know one another. Kinda scoop out if any bond would be established. This was a bold move, because one little slip up can turn, "Hey Serg, how are you?" into "Hey Serg.... I gotta go that way. Oh, are you going that way too? I meant to say I gotta go the opposite way. You see... the thing is, don't follow me please."

I told her of my participation in a paranormal society (she didn't look at my funny, sweet I was in), and more importantly of my passion for photography. What I got was a sign. She told me of a photographer friend in the area who was always looking for help. I was blown away. It was at that time I needed a job. This was perfect, not only would I get to do something I love, but I would get to work underneath a professional. I rushed home, and checked this guy out. His website was amazing, his portfolio was unique, and I really thought that my photography career was about to come together.

I emailed him and explained who I was, and who told me about him.
I got a response that day that he would save some time for me for a phone interview. This is where we reach the climax folks. Thinking that this is it, that the roller coaster of life is about to begin, I was ready to jump into this photography business. Unfortunately, someone forgot to mention that this roller coaster was no longer in service; as I got a huge disappoint bomb dropped on me.

I called him the next day, at the time that he specified, and got the assistant. Apparently he was not in the studio and would be back later on. Ok, maybe he was busy? Four hours later, I decided to call back. He was in the studio but couldn't talk at the moment. He said he would call back in half and hour. I waited, perspiring, wow this guy must be a really awesome photographer; what with being extremely busy and all.

Thoughts raced through my head, as I panicked on what to say to him. After all I want to be grateful that he took the time to speak to me. "What do I say? How do I impress him? Should I tell him a joke? Whats that one about the chicken? No! Leave the chickens out of this. Hmmm, what about us photographers and our big lenses. *wink, wink ladies* No! This isn't high school Serg. Come on, think!!!"

The phone rang!! Its him, its him!

Now how do I write this without making him look like an ass? Well I'll summarize what he told me: You need to go to photography school; I don't want to be teaching, I want people to already know the skill. My dreams and hopes crushed. You know what happens if you leave a grape out in the hot sun for like 3 days? Now speed up that process into 30 seconds and replace that grape with my heart. Its ok, I survived. That's what bear wrestling as a child did to me; it made me stronger.

But I later faced another sign, just like later you guys will receive a second part of this story.

Updates: I recently had an interview with a model. I am rather excited to work with her and I hope to have a photo shoot with her within a week. I


Nina said...

Here's the thing Sergey, there are no certifications a photographer has to have to call himself a professional. If you have a camera and someone's willing to pay you then hot damn! you're in business!

I can recommend a couple of excellent books if you like :) but you don't have to "go to school" to be a photographer, all you need is a camera, a lens, and something to shoot. If you're wanting to print your own images then you might want to pick up some classes on film and development. Other than that. In fact, I'll drop you an email about those books and classes :)

Katie said...

Serg, I have seen some of your photos and I think they are rad. That guy is probably just a diva. I have a friend who got a job taking pictures at weddings and such without any formal photography experience at all. You will find what your looking for, and it will probably show up when you least expect it to...

Actually, my cycling team and I have a collegiate race in state college in the spring and I was thinking about contacting you to take some race photos if you were interested. We always need someone to take action shots but we are usually on our bikes racing.. so it makes it a bit difficult.

Hitting bumps in the road are never fun, but you will be glad you stuck with it once you reach success.

Anywho, I'll shoot you an email closer to the date of the race (Im not even sure when it is yet) to see if you are available and what you want to be paid etc... btw, should I look up your email on the PRS site, or would you prefer another?

Okay, I'll stop rambling on your comment page now haha..

Take care countryman!

до свидания

-Katя (Katie)

Anonymous said...

"Photography school" is a joke.

Really, no one interested in paying for your services is going to check and see if you have a certificate in photography, they're going to ask for you portfolio. It's obvious you have the raw talent. My advice: take some photography courses to improve and fine tune your skills. It's a much better investment than "photography school."

Anonymous said...

ps: if you're looking for a space online to temporarily host your portfolio, I'd recommend htt://

It's free and wicked easy to set up. You can also set up more than one presentation under your account (for example if you want two different portfolios for separate concentrations).

example: sample shots from a wedding I did last year

Pretty amazing, yah?

Amanda said...

That's the one thing I dislike about professionals. Even if you did go to such a place like "photography school", they're still gonna judge you as a newbie, unfortunately :| As long as you have an awesome portfolio, which I'm sure you do :), then in my opinion you'll go far!

Charlotte said...

What sells you as a photographer is your portfolio and that is something you build up over time. Photography is only half skill. I believe the other half is just something a person has in them. You learn what you are good at through hit and misses.

Go out and take the photos, play around with the editing, have lots of photo shoots so you can find what works for you (style, set up, etc)

For now just keep it simple. The more you become comfortable behind the camera (especially shooting and directing people) then you can work on bigger and more difficult forms of photography.

The only schooling you need is
1) Graphic Design is what you are wanting to do or
2) You are looking to learn how to use a dark room (though this is usually a course you can take in a few weekends)

There is nothing better than creating your own photos from scratch. And the smell from the chemicals isn’t too bad either :P

Have a good weekend toots!

Charlotte (A photographer who got into Photography College but never went and yet still does pretty damn well with out it)

Amy said...

Sergey there's absolutely nothing to worry about with the talent and skills you already have, there really is no such thing as a "professional" when it comes to photography. Just because someone went to school and has the most expensive camera around dosen't make them any better than you. And you already have popularity from Paranormal State so there's no doubt you can also gain fame from your photography.

No matter how down you feel sometimes, always keep your head up and everything will be fine!

I wish I was that model you are going to shoot soon...good luck! (eventhough you don't need it!)

Andrea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea said...


Let me tell you a little story...

Once upon a time I attended art school. Once upon a time I walked hallways and flashed glances with artistic geniuses and greatness. Many of them graduating and sadly went to live in Oregon only to take up jobs at convenient stores. I mean they were pure greatness, people I looked to for advice with paintings and photography. People who I would kill to see again now, and not randomly come across them in some sort of adventures in the woods. lol.

I actually left school 2 years in to pursue other experiences in my life. My photography professor was crushed I was leaving. I mean that in the least amount of gloating possible. She just knew my strengths more so than I knew the back of my hand.
Now although I left school, my camera never left my side. And in working really damn hard to get my work out there I have had my work shown in small areas and even had a gallery show.

I am no professional, I simply love to just pick up my camera each day and take a shot of something that will never be the same the following day. Everything is always changing.
You could have a million titles for who you are as an artist, but at the end of that long list, you can either sit and gleam over who you "think" you are (like this guy in his studio), or you can let the passion live and breathe and flare up with every click of your shutter regardless of what you're taking a photo of.

So never let the man get ya down. It's a vicious world out there. :) Artists will eat you alive...haha.

You know what you need to do, you know where you want to go....

All the best,

cindy said...

i think that lot of people is willing to buy your work of art, when you put them up for sell..

not to be rude, but it seem that you placing the horse before the cart..
i mean why give fear to what IFs'

do what your heart tells you is right, and do what is right for sergay..

stop seeking after squirrels, nuts..and do it on your own..
you will feel way better to have said," look what i did, with no one help, and i did this on my own."( something like that any way).

don't follow in anyone else foot step, cause if you do, you see that with much rain even the foot print will become bog down and mudder..

let me know when you find the picture you want for me to buy..
i put my trust in you as it being the right one for me..

be bless,

eurochik said...

Serg, I think what you have to do is practice, practice, practice. experiemnt. NOBODY can teach you to be a "pro photog." You either have it or you don't. And personally, I think you have it. Your photos show originality and an eye for your subject. This isn't just "praising the dude who is in Paranormal State." This is what I really feel.
If it makes you happier, then take a course or two, just to have some expertise under your belt. Maybe then you can experiment with different lenses and the like that are available. But going to school and just using all that energy???, I think your energies can be better spent elsewhere.
When a door closes, another one opens. Believe in yourself. And that is cool that you get to work with a model! :)

Jackie said...

Awww, Serg!

You don't need no stinkin' schooling to become a great photographer..
Damnit, you're already there!

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.

And Serg, I believe that you can do great things.
You'll go far.
If it is meant to be, it will happen.
I believe in you.

Miss ya!

- Jackie

Anonymous said...

Sergey you don't need 'photography school'. you are a great photographer, that guy has no idea what he was taliking about. and plus if he really wanted you to work with him he would have asked you to come to his office. trust me and all your fans Sergey that guy doesn't know wat he was misin when he didn't hire you.

Elizabeth said...

Sergey I love your work =D, don't let this guy to you.