Some of you who have been paying attention to The Union for a while now may have caught on to some of my subtle hints of some changes coming to the site. 2011 was a great year and I wanted to start 2012 off proper with some changes that I think will feature all of the new original content better.
We launched the new photogallery last week and there will be a few new additions to the site in the next week or two additional to the gallery that I think you will like.
I’m also stoked to announce the first of two new contributors to The Union. After Jeremy Pavia spent a number of years at BMX Plus!, he recently decided to part ways to pursue some of his personal goals. Some how, I managed to convince him to spend some of his newly acquired free time contributing here! Expect a weekly section from him starting tomorrow!
We have a fresh interview with Jeremy to introduce you to him and to find out what he plans on bringing to the site after the jump. After you check that out, check out some of his photo work in this brand new PHOTOGALLERY! Check it!
Name: Jeremy Pavia.
Location: Burbank, California.
Sponsors / Hook Ups: I would say I fall more into the hook-ups category. I have been pretty fortunate over the years to build some solid contacts within the BMX industry and have been helped out by a lot of companies with parts and all of that good stuff to keep my bike riding smooth.
Years riding: Oh man, I have been on a bike for what seems like forever but if I had to put a number on it I would say 15 years.
Years shooting: I have been shooting photos in some way or another for just about the same amount of time that I have been riding but I have been shooting professionally for about 8 years now.
What was it that first got you into BMX? Any early memories come to mind?
My two older brothers both rode when I was younger and my oldest brother raced motocross as well so I would always be riding around on my BMX bike at the races on the weekends jumping whatever random piles of dirt that I could find. It really comes down to just wanting to be just like my brothers and the rest is history.
What about photography? Was it something that happened because of BMX?
I pinpoint the start of my obsession with photography when I got my first point and shoot 35mm camera for Christmas one year before a family road trip from New York (where I am from) to Arizona. This was the first time I had my very own camera and also my first time seeing further west than Tennessee so it was a pretty eye opening experience to say the least especially for a young kid from a small town. Then of course, years go by and shooting riding photos was something that just fell into place. You tend to photograph what you do and BMX became a big part of my life and in turn shooting BMX just happened naturally. I love all aspects of photography but combining my passion with another passion to make a career was something that seemed all too good to be true until it actually happened.
All right, so at the beginning of the year you announced that after a number of years with BMX Plus! you were stepping down from your role as an editor and photographer. What were some of the reasons you decided to make the change?
I moved cross-country from New York to California in June of 2007 to work for BMX Plus!. I still remember the day I got the confirmation to come out to Cali. I was in Barnes and Noble (looking at mags of course) and got the phone call; three days later my car was packed and I was heading west. That was almost five years ago now and a lot has changed during that time to be honest. I had the time of my life working at the magazine and don’t regret a single minute of it but over the years I just started to out-grow it in a sense and wasn’t feeling the same passion that I did when I first started. I am the type of person that if I don’t feel right about something, I am not going to do it. Once working at Plus! started feeling like an actual job is when I realized it was time for a change. I put everything I had into the magazine and hope that during my time there, people can look back and see my influence somewhere within those issues.
It sounds like you are planning on doing more freelance work? Anything in particular you are going to be doing?
Well as far as freelance work goes I have worked with some rad companies within BMX including Dans Comp, Volume/Demolition, Profile, DC, Haro, Redline, Primo, FBM, Fox, Woodward and more. I have had a relationship with ESPN for years thanks to Cody York and Brian Tunney so things have been going well on that end. I think that ESPN does a good job at keeping up on the current “hot topics” in BMX as well as keep a good mix of original content so I am glad to be a part of that project. I have some work coming out in print soon in the new issue of A.R.T magazine and am also in the works with a different magazine as but until things become official I am going to wait to talk about it. Other than that, I shot some stuff for companies like WeThePeople and Madera recently and plan to continue shooting for companies that like what I do in the future. Really, being a freelance photographer has its ups and downs but the freedom and creative control of your work is what I like most about it. If you’re not down to hustle your ass off, it’s not for you and it’s simply not going to work. I have spent years networking and building relationships within the BMX community and without those, working freelance would straight up not be possible so shout-out to every company out there that has seen value in my work and brought me on board.
I know I’m pretty excited to announce that you will be one of the regular contributors for The Union now. What are some of the things people will be able to expect from you in the future on the site?
Honestly, I am pumped about this opportunity and can’t wait to get it rolling. I look back at my career in BMX thus far and when I really sit down and think about it, I have been my own for the majority of the path I have taken. Sure, there are people that have helped me along the way but for the most part, becoming a successful photographer comes from figuring that shit out on your own. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how rad it would have been to have someone to talk to along the way or someone to learn from and get real world advice from. Most photographers don’t want to necessarily tell you exactly how to become successful and make money doing what they do especially within a small community like BMX. With digital photography on the rise and more and more people getting involved in photography in general it seems like now is the perfect time to offer up a place for just that. My regular feature will be 100% photo related and hopefully help any up and coming photographers to get noticed and maybe even just get some new riders out there grabbing a camera. It will cover things from the basics of photography, to technical lighting set-ups, to stories from the road, to avoiding security to get your shot and more. We will also be doing regular contests with winners getting prize packages from some of the top companies in BMX. Basically I thought it would be a good time to provide a place for people to come to for real-world advice on becoming and maintaining the role of a professional photographer.
I’m sure you have a long list of places you probably could have tried to get involved with. What was it about The Union that caught your attention?
Well that is the beauty of doing things on your own which will no doubt eventually be a topic in a future feature on the site. I have been paying close attention to everything BMX related for years now and really like what I saw with The Union. The site has been steadily growing and gaining more of a following over the years and it seemed like the perfect fit. The Union has a clean style, and can only grow from here, and I look forward to watching that happen and if I have can have anything to do with that, all the better.
So now that you aren’t always crushed with deadlines for BMX Plus!, what is your schedule like these days? Have you been finding more time to ride?
Oh man, you have no idea! I have literally had deadlines 3 weeks out of every month for almost five years now. That means every week for three weeks in a row is a new deadline. So needless to say, my schedule now is something that would make anyone a little jealous. Get up around 10 or whenever really, check some emails, see what’s on the list of things to do and go from there. My days can vary from just organizing my archives, to editing photos all day, to shooting projects for ESPN, to shooting for multiple magazines and anything in between. Oh, and of course I have had plenty more time to ride and to be honest, I have been more stoked on riding lately simply because I can go out and enjoy a session without a looming deadline over my head. So yeah, more riding, less work = good times.
I know most of the BMX photographers in your position (Dolecki, Jeff Z., Adam, York, Etc.) are constantly on the road these days. Where are some of the places you will be going here in the future? Any trips you are stoked for?
Actually I am enjoying the down-time of the off season at home. I have been lucky enough over the past couple of years to shoot all across the country, as well as in the Middle East and Europe so spending time at home has been amazing. I have been going out a few times a week working on various projects all around So-Cal and will be spending some time in San Diego soon as well as take a trip up to Woodward West. You gotta’ remember that I live in So Cal and it’s winter time, so nearly every rider is making their way out here, or has already made their way out so in the winter being here and being available to shoot is beneficial by itself. But, come spring time, I plan on traveling as much as possible especially now that I don’t have anyone’s schedule to follow but my own.
What kind of equipment are you working with these days?
Good question, that is actually going to be one of my upcoming features for the site so I will keep it simple for the sake of saving the material for that. I shoot with a Canon 1D Mark II N and a variety of lenses from 10mm to 200mm. I shoot with Lumedyne, Quantum and Sunpak flashes and use Pocket Wizards transceivers to fire them. I also have a bunch of other random gear that gets used here and there. I edit mainly on my Macbook pro with Photoshop CS5 and an Apple magic mouse.
Do you have your dream setup, or is there something more you wish you had to work with these days?
Who doesn’t? You’re not a real photographer in my book unless you have a running list of gear you would love to have no matter the cost. My dream set-up includes the new Canon 1D X ($8,000), a couple Profoto flash heads and battery packs ($7500), a full line of Canon glass including a fisheye, tilt shift, and more ($5,000), Hasselblad H4D-40 body and lens ($20,000) and various other shit that will be really hard to afford unless I rob a bank or win the lottery. Sure, it’s not a bad idea to set goals but when your dream gear list ranks in at around $35,000 without scratching the surface, you gotta’ shoot with what you can afford until you save a few pennies. But as far as my current list of gear, I am pretty happy with it for sure. One of my favorite sayings is “It’s not the wand, it’s the magician” which in this case means it’s not amazing gear that’s going to create great photos for you.
What are a few of the goals you have set for yourself for 2012?
I don’t have a list written down anywhere or anything like that but from the top of my head my goals are to travel, continue trying to push my photography to new levels, ride my bike, continue to build new relationships and work with new companies, get more work in print, and hopefully inspire some people along the way.
What are you usually up to when you aren’t working these days? Any new hobbies?
I spend time chillin’ with my girl and our dogs seeing the sights of Los Angeles, skateboarding, collecting antique cameras, old photographs and anything camera related really. I also read tons of magazines at Barnes and Noble to keep up on current trends in design and print. I spend a lot of time online doing research, checking out other photographers work, looking for motivation and I enjoy getting tattooed when I can.
So you have a few tattoos. If you have to pick 3 of your favorites, which would you choose and why? Any plans on getting a few new ones?
Hmm, most of them seem all as one to me at this point but if I had to pick I have the word Family in script on the bottom of my right wrist and my little nephews initials on the top of my wrist and to me those two mean everything. I also have an eagle tattoo in honor of my grandfather that passed on the bottom of my left sleeve. He was in World War II and his troop was the Screaming Eagles so I wanted to have something to remember him by. That’s three, and I could probably go on for a while but I will say that every tattoo that I have has some sort of meaning to me and each one for sure tells its own story.
What’s the last song you heard, movie you watched and website visited?
That old 80’s song “Obsession” by some band called Animotion, some shitty movie from Red Box that I can’t remember the name of and if we are getting technical the last website I visited was YouTube to find out the name of the band that sang that song.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Whoa, I feel like I always read interviews with this question in them and wonder what I would say had I been asked that and here it is. I have said for years and years now that I just want to make a living with my camera and as long as I am doing that (hopefully surrounded by good people) no matter where I am in this world, I will be happy. But for real though I see myself still shooting, still riding, and doing my best to stay on top of my photo game.
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
Thank you to everyone that has ever let me crash on their floor, thanks to my girl for putting up with my hectic lifestyle, thanks to my family for all of their support over the years, thanks to every company that has ever believed in my work, thanks to every person that has ever visited my site and complimented any of my photos, thanks to everyone that has ever picked up a BMX magazine and kept print alive and thanks to my brother Anthony who without the full support of, I wouldn’t be where I am at today. Shout-out to all of my BMX homies, any rider I have ever shot photos of, and every person out there that is trying to push BMX in a positive direction.
Anything else you want to say?
It’s simple really, I am just a photographer looking to create and inspire.
Check out Jeremy’s introduction PHOTOGALLERY!