Professional Photographer Interview: Samer Almadani Of Chicago, IL
Q: When did you decide to become a photographer?
A: I had studied medical for years thinking that is what I wanted to do. One day I was dissecting a pig fetus and realized that was definitely not what I wanted to be doing. I had always lived for three things; photography, music and travel. So, I worked really hard to get into the photography program and have been shooting since.
Q: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?
A: I did. I studied Commercial Photography at the School of Visual Communications at Ohio University.
Q: What does photography mean to you?
A: Not only being able to capture a moment, but also be able to create something beautiful. We have the technology to be able to create anything we can imagine. I think it is really amazing to dream about a scenario and be able to create it the next day.
Q: Can you recall the first photo you took that made you go WOW!?
A: I was doing a series of band promotion images for a band called Shotgun for Royalty. It was the first time I didn’t care what repercussions I got for the images I was making. I just wanted to have fun and do fun scenarios.
Q: How technical is your photography?
A: Very technical in the sense that every single aspect of the image is controlled from lighting, composition, location, talent, etc. A lot of thought goes into every single detail of the image.
Q: Where is your favorite place to live and work as a photographer in the World and why?
A: I had always wanted to live in Chicago, IL for photography because it has always inspired me artistically. I think a mix of Midwestern mentality as well as big city feel really does it for me. I travel quite a bit, so I think its the perfect base.
Q: How does your personality change when you look through the camera?
A: I somehow begin to see, visually, so many more layers than only what is currently happening. What the final image will look like, what the talent is feeling, the mood that is in the air, etc. It is a really amazing feeling to have all of these senses overwhelm you at the same time.
Q: Who are your influences?
A: Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Annie Leibovitz, David La Chappelle, Tim Tadder, and many more.
Q: Describe a day in your personal or professional life.
A: One of my favorite things about what I do is that everyday I get to see behind of the scenes of someone else’s life. One day we’ll be photographing an architect and see, feel, and experience what it is like to be an architect. Same thing goes when you photograph a celebrity, President Barack Obama, CEO, or juggler. Everyday is a new insight and new experience.
Q: What are the biggest personal or professional challenges you face on a daily basis?
A: Balancing out everything that needs to be taken care of. You are on set shooting for one client while putting in bids for others and sending images from the shoot all at the same time.
Q: What has been the single biggest obstacle against growing as a photographer in whole?
A: Not having enough time in each day to do everything you would like to do.
Q: What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
Q: Have you ever thought about or actually stopped doing photography? What were the circumstances?
A: I will always go with the flow in life, but I really hope that I will never have to stop shooting for a living.
Q: What types of assignments are you attracted most?
A: Quirky imagery and fun, elaborate sets.
Q: How do you describe your photographic style?
A: Crisp, colorful, and somewhat quirky.
Q: Tell a little secret about yourself that no-one knows…
A: I am a musician as well. I am also technically half human and half phoenix.
Q: How do you feel about digital manipulation and to what extent do you utilize it?
A: In my personal opinion; as much should be done in camera as possible. Photoshop should only be used to make the impossible become possible. By that, I mean if something can absolutely not be done in camera, then it is a wonderful tool!
Visit Samer’s photography website and MySpace profile!