Hear It!

In this edition of Hear It!, we bring you American photographer James Peragine. James loves shooting for fashion with his Canon 5D Mark II, and his favorite lenses are the L 24-70 and 50mm prime. Using his heart as a compass, James always strives to evoke new emotions with his photography.

Photographer: jperagine / James Peragine
Country of Origin: United States

1. Production Equipment: Please list the production equipment that you use on a regular basis (eg. Cameras, lenses, flash & lighting, photo editing software).
I use a Canon 5D Mark II. My favorite lenses are the L 24-70 and the 50mm prime. These lenses are sharper than those silly knives you see on TV that cut through cans. Another one of my essential tools for sharp images is my Manfrotto Monopod. I have added some bells and whistles to the top for even easier use of access and mobility. If you're not on a monopod or a tripod you are truly gambling when its comes to sharpness.

2. What do you think of photography these days?
There are so many different genres and fields of photography and with the "Digital Revolution" upon us we have seen so many new photographers emerging and some really amazing work. In the old days you had to drop your shots off at the lab and say a prayer to the Patron Saint of Good Exposure (St. Kodak). Nowadays you can see your shots, exposure, and color immediately and post production in programs like Photoshop with RAW format shots is incredible. With the advent of the "MicroStock Revolution" so many amateur photographers have finally put their hobbies toward making some more money and some really great art. I think as high end cameras become less and less expensive we will see even more amazing art continue to be made.

3. What did you want to be when you were younger?
I didn't have many friends growing up (awwwww) so in-turn I wound up watching a lot of television and reading a lot of books. My best buddies were Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Elmer Fudd. I also watched movies like Superman, Canon Ball Run, and The Pink Panther. As a result my dreams of the future changed as often as a politician's opinion. As I got older I realized more and more that I was and am an observer of life and beauty and have passionately embarked on many fields of the arts where such a skill could be put to use well.

4. Tell us about the time when you first got started in photography.
I have had cameras since I was a child. Like most it was more a hobby and I never considered myself a professional. I got started shooting some fashion look-books for my friend's charity. She didn't have money so I took a chance and ..... so did she! They came out better than we all thought and people convinced me that I should really keep going with it. My other business came to a screeching halt and the rest is history.

5. In your opinion, what does it take to become successful in this industry?
Observation, Recreation, Innovation, and Determination. I typically shoot 40,000 shots a month. I look to what others are doing for inspiration and to see what buyers are looking for. Stephen Meisel said "A great photograph has three essential components. Great Lighting, Great Color, and Great Gesture. Of these three Gesture is by far the most important!" I cannot think of an industry that this applies to more.

6. What was your biggest challenge coming into this industry?
Freeing up enough time to spend shooting without a big financial return initially. Also getting a real feel for the stock photography industry and what sells best takes some time and re-evaluation.

7. What are the best perks as a Photographer?
Pretty girls smile at you a lot. When you travel you can write a lot off as long as you take some pictures. I have also heard that photographers are guaranteed to get into Heaven.

8. How do you plan for your shooting sessions?
I have a list of shoots to shoot that I keep. "Back to School", "Business", "Parties" etc... I choose the models that will work best and the locations that match next, I then think about outfits and colors. I try to think about what area of my portfolio I want to strengthen and what emotions I want to evoke that I haven't in the past. I also look to see what has been working well with others and with my past shots. I am always making notes as ideas pop into my head throughout the day and I write them down immediately. I look back to these notes before I shoot. These are usually the ones that seem to do the best.

9. How would you describe your work to first time viewers?
In progress. I learned young that self deprecation is a valuable tool.

10. Do you shoot to what your heart tells you or do you go through a complex check list in your mind when you produce your work? Describe the feeling/check list.
Both. Your heart is a great compass. I think that the longer you shoot the more second nature a lot of things become. Similar to a writer who has learned to type fast. He doesn't have to worry about where the "Z" or the "P" are, he can look to the screen instead of the keyboard and transfer what is in his imagination quickly.

11. From your experience, what subjects gives you the greatest satisfaction? Any examples?
I love shooting fashion the best. I feel like I'm prolonging a beautiful moment and sharing it with the world. Listening to the news before bed gives me nightmares, I'd rather look at pretty pictures and dream of plumb fairies instead.

12. From your experience, what subjects are the hardest to work with? Any examples?
Kids are without a doubt the most beautiful creatures on the planet! Getting them to sit still is one of the hardest!

13. What is your philosophy when it comes to your work?
Deliver the best quality and the most useful product to the public and infuse each photograph with realness and my own style.

14. Describe who/what inspires you, tell us why?
A great movie! My favorite actors are Johnny Depp & Meryl Streep. I'm sure I'm alone on those though... Movies fill the artist well for me. There's 24 pictures every second and some of the most brilliant artists in the world. They are filled with emotion, beauty, humor, gesture and music. Honestly what could be better!

15. What do you do when those creative juices just seems to evade you. How do you "get creative"?
I drink some absinth, no that's a joke. I look to other amazing photographers that I respect for inspiration.

16. Tell us about a time when inspiration just hits you, and you felt the insatiable urge to create. What did you do with that energy?
I am inspired at the most random of times. For some strange reason I seem to do some of my best thinking while I am in the shower. This is also the same place I seem to do my worst singing as well.

17. What have you discovered about yourself through photography?
That wrinkles tell a story and that the eyes reveal everything. I have learned the amazing depth of life in what on the surface may seem superficial and the absolute importance of paying attention to details.

18. Whose work do you admire the most? Why?
Yuri Arcurs has definitely set the bar in this industry. He is passionate at what he does, giving to others, and his work is impeccable.

19. Do you have any advice for those who are just getting in to stock photography?
Stick with it! For most there is a big curve before you see results but stay the course and you will get the results!

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