With our series “An artist´s life.” we want to share the stories of the people behind the art.
“An artist´s life.”
The stories of the people behind the art
Joshua Oliver #12
La Chambre Blanche
Equipment & Film Stock:
Kodak Portra 160
Kodak Portra 400
United States, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Contacting Sarah Taylor for an inquiry about shooting came at a very frustrating time for me and the only art I’ve been able to participate in. I was still living in my small college town in Georgia that I moved to from my small hometown in Georgia and I was having the most frustrating time just attempting to develop my photo skills and expression because of the low value people in that town seemed to place on those such things when it came to photos and my personal time. I was consistently making plans with people who don’t have much experience to do shoots where no payment is involved (which when I’m just trying to have a release if expression is not the biggest of deals to me!) and I kept getting ditched at the last second over and over. I just couldn’t understand how to figure out the conundrum of how some people, who I think my work compares favorably to, can charge hundreds an hour for shoots constantly and I can’t offer a free shoot to someone who hardly has the chance to get true quality (yet alone somewhat artistic photos) without being treated as if that’s a worthless offer that they won’t even get out of bed for the day of the shoot or at least write me a text about their change of plans.
“I wasn’t the only one who put some sort of value and quality on my photos and that it doesn’t matter that those where I grow up don’t seem to.”
Many people had the same solution for me: Deposits. But what no one seemed to understand is I was contacting these people myself just so I could shoot and practice my craft and get better, they weren’t contacting me and thus no money was involved, so there was no way for me to charge a deposit to make sure they show up! The last time this happened to me was when I woke up at 4:45am for a shoot (no money involved) and was again ghosted for the entire day and was thus truly hurt. I just couldn’t understand this because I knew in my heart the quality of my photos wasn’t the issue so that just made me that much more confused.
Which brings me back to Sarah Taylor. She’s based out of New York City and my entire life that’s been my happy place, when I was a kid it was through the television and as a young adult it’s been through my three awe inspiring visits there. I’d never paid someone to work with them before but after discussing with various people in this industry I decided that I would seek out my first paid shoot in NYC and so I decided on Sarah. I liked what she stood for through her Instagram and I was convinced that, because of her follower count and clear modeling skills, there was no way she would work with me without payment. To my surprise during that day where I was so hurt at being made to wake up at 4:45am for a shoot that didn’t happen I got a response from her in which she indicated to me that simply loves my style and that because of this she turned money down because the quality of my photos would be payment enough! No one else may understand what this means to me (Sarah herself I’m sure doesn’t because I’ve never said any of this) but personally, this just helped me realize that I wasn’t the only one who put some sort of value and quality on my photos and that it doesn’t matter that those where I grow up don’t seem to.