FEATURING: Erik Umphery
WHAT OR WHO DO YOU FIND INSPIRING?
People living life on purpose, pushing themselves beyond what others could have every dreamed, and using the talents they have been blessed with to their fullest. To me that is the most inspiring thing. I’m also inspired through traveling to new places discovering new thing and meeting new people when I travel.
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR CREATIVE PROFESSION?
When I was about 6 or 7 my mom put me in a photography classes and for years I carried my camera with me everywhere. She past when I was 11 and I stopped shooting, once I got into college I wanted to take a class at my school, but wasn’t at a point where I could invest in the equipment required. I ended up graduating with a degree in finance and worked in corporate america for 9 yrs, but my last 2 yrs working I purchased an DSLR, took a photography class finally decided to set out on faith and quit my job sold most of my belongings and moved to LA.
WHAT IS THE TOUGHEST THING YOU HAVE BEEN THROUGH PROFESSIONALLY?
Learning how to deal with the highs and lows of the business, particularly early on. I was fortunate enough to book 4 jobs my second year as a full-time photographer shooting for Gillette, I thought that I had made it and every job would be like that, then when the phone wasn’t ringing with jobs or the jobs were no where near the level of the Gillette jobs it caused me to hit a really hard low. Eventually I pulled myself out of the low and just started shooting a ton of personal work. And through the personal work my phone start to ring a little more, but I really work hard to not let big opportunities or disappointments affect me and just remain even and continue shooting personal work every chance I get.
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN INSTRUMENTAL TO YOUR SUCCESS?
Definitely my friend and first person I interned for Derek Blanks (www.dblanks.com) he taught me to be fearless and experiment. Then there is Elton Anderson (www.eltonanderson.com) he’s probably one of my closest friends we bounce ideas off of one another, we challenge each other to work harder and we give one another very open honest feedback on everything we do. Cali Capodici she was the art director that my best friend kind of dumped me in her lap and she took me in and has done so much to help me grow and taught me so much about the industry Dhane Scotti my best friend who dumped me in Cali’s lap, introduced me to Elton, and introduced me to so many amazing people in general.
WHY DO YOU LOVE ADHESIVE?
The first time I went to an Adhesive event it was for an anniversary party in NY and it was held at this amazing loft, with free booze, a photo booth and so many incredibly cool people. I was with my boy Elton and I had probably been shooting professionally for 1yr at the time and I just thought this was the coolest thing ever. Since then I’ve been to dozens of Adhesive events and for me it not about selling myself to people but just a relax environment to meet some amazing creatives. Everything from writers, directors, illustrators, art directors, reps, photographers, and they all have such amazing stories. And as a fan of photography it is always cool when I meet a photographer who’s work I love.
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