vesselcollective

Patrick’s Words

In Interview on March 26, 2013 at 3:24 am
Photo by Erica Peters

Photo by Erica Peters

I met Patrick at Art Pool’s 2012 Wicked Winter Wonderland fashion, music, and art event. He was shooting the vintage fashion show and I had volunteered to be one of the models. He was so easy to work with, he gave clear and helpful directions and took wonderful photos. When it came time to host The Travelogues in January, I wanted to have the first evening documented, and Patrick was just the one for it. Patrick is clearly great with a camera, and he’s equally great with people. I look forward to his future projects, and hope you enjoy his photos and words. Cheers.

When did you first pick up a camera? What was that like?

I picked up my first camera in high school. It was a 35mm Minolta, which I still shoot with. I didn’t have that magical moment most photographers talk about. In fact I gave up photography after my first class thinking it was an easy A, only to come back to it years later to pursue it as a career. Now I can’t stop.

Screen shot 2013-03-25 at 10.31.18 PM

What are you looking for when you take a photograph?

Always the light. The light is everything, without it, a photograph is nothing.

Can you tell me about the beach self-portraits in your portfolio? What was it like trying to get participants? 

Sure, I basically wandered the beach for a few days finding interesting folks to photograph. Except for I wanted them to take the picture of themselves. I would set the camera on a tripod and hook up a 30 ft. cable release, which is what you see them holding in the photos. That way they have full control over the moment. Most people were happy to volunteer. Confused, but happy. The beach is a weird place when you think about it.

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Is it easy for you to approach people for photographs?

If you’re super outgoing it may be easy, but I had to work through it a bit. I just think of the final image and the awkwardness subsides. The more you shoot, the easier it gets. If people see that you’re confident and exited about it, then they’ll get exited too.

When did you realize photography was a thing you could do for a living?

I still don’t know if I’ve realized that yet. I feel genuinely lucky to do what I do, but the lack of financial security that a consistent paycheck offers is one sacrifice I had to make for my craft. I embrace the challenge, and I’ll do whatever it takes. The idea of not being a photographer is much harder to live with.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a photographer?

Probably a musician, or maybe a carpenter. Pretty much anything where I get to work with my hands and solve creative problems.

What has been the most difficult day working/living as a photographer?

There are so many. I recently had a shoot that required me to ride a bike and shoot one-handed while dodging traffic. Oh, and shooting underwater is always difficult. I have a bunch of underwater projects planned for when the weather warms up.

*The photos Patrick shot while riding one-handed through traffic are from St. Pete Shuffle Club’s 2013 ‘Tweed Ride St. Pete’ and can be found on his blog.

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What do you tell yourself when things get difficult?

I usually think about my grandfather, who was one of the hardest working gentlemen you would ever meet. He was an Irish immigrant, fought in WWII, and provided for seven kids and a wife. Never once did I see him complain, so neither can I.

Finish these sentences:

I hope to: make my mom proud.
I’ll never: compromise quality.
I love: Sundays.
Sundays are for: love.

Check out the rest of Patrick’s work at patrickstevensmith.com
Or follow his daily photos on Instagram @patrickstevensmith

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