How long have you been doing this professionally?
Professionally, since Sept. 6, my birthday, of last year. Up until then, it was just a hobby.
So what did you do before that?
I was an office coordinator for a medical record company and just decided that as hard as I worked I needed to start putting that effort into doing my own thing. In fact, after I had shown my boss some photos from New York she told me I had missed my calling. That stuck with me. A month later I bought my website and never looked back.
What inspires you to photograph comedians?
I’ll be honest with you, and I know this sounds cliché, but I didn’t choose it. It kind of chose me. I was at a Dragon*Con, ran into a comedian and it just went from there. Then it just kind of became my life. I didn’t feel that anyone was letting people see how big and amazing the Atlanta comedy scene is. It’s such a staple and I think it should be shown in the light it deserves.
How do you determine the exact moment you want the picture to convey?
I don’t start shooting until the laughing starts.
I never want to distract the comic or the audience by hearing the click and usually that’s benefited me. It gives me the perfect shot. And by that I mean the one that comes whenever the punchline is made and they feel the energy back from the crowd. It’s just that one little moment where you see all the hard work a comic puts into a bit pay off for them. It might be my favorite thing about shooting comedy. It’s beautiful. I mean you see all these pictures at comedy shows and it’s just like “Hey, I’ve got a mic." I just think there needs to be a different perspective that shows how much depth there is in what they do. I feel like my style is just to say that in a single shot.
Who are some of your favorite comedians? Big time or local?
Rory Scovel is hands down my favorite. I think what he brings to a stage is brilliant. Of course I like Zach Galifianakis and definitely Louis C.K. Atlanta is so full of talent, there’s just too many I like to name.
Who would be your dream to shoot?
Maria Bamford and Zach Galifianakis. I had the privilege to shoot Maria in January at the Laughing Skull. She is so amazing at what she does and one of the nicest people you could ever have the pleasure of meeting. I should add that I saw Dov Davidoff on Comedy Central last year and knew I wanted to shoot him as soon as I saw his stage presence. I have become a big fan of his as well. He’s going to be at the Punchline in a couple weeks so I am more than excited to shoot and meet him.
Is there anything in particular that you do to put your subjects at ease when you’re doing private shoots?
Oh yeah, I try to make sure they can listen to the kind of music they want or maybe if they need to loosen up by having a drink or something and then I’ll start talking to them. Just small talk and such but it’s funny because comics are challenging people to shoot one on one. They’re so naturally comfortable on stage and that’s why I think those shots come out the way they do but then you get them one on one they’re just like “OK….what am I supposed to do?” I mean it takes a while, but I think that’s what I enjoy about it. Some people think doing the head shots should only take a short time, but I’m really trying to show who they are. To me, that just takes as long as it takes.
What's the most challenging aspect of what you do?
Just getting it all out on time and not repeating myself. I don’t want to run this thing into the ground, just having the same shots of comics in the dark over and over. I recently decided to have my pal Jamey McDaniel working with me. He also works sound at the Laughing Skull and is so incredibly helpful .
Is it true that you’re getting a book together to publish?
Yeah, I’m putting together a book that documents the whole Atlanta comedy scene. I feel like all the pictures I’ve taken of comedians around here are of more use than just putting them on Facebook. And even if nobody likes it, I feel that the comedians would enjoy having something they could look at 20 years down the road and just be like “Wow, do you remember all that stuff?” I figured it would be great to feature a picture of each one of them with my favorite joke of theirs in a caption. I’m hoping to have it out in September.
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