The one thing that it takes to be a successful photographer is to constantly be shooting. It’s the best advice that I could give anyone looking to pursue photography as more than a hobby. In fact, even if it is just a hobby I say keep shooting. The more you shoot, the more you learn and the more you grow as a photographer. I shoot for a lot of different outlets these days ranging from print to online and although I try my best to get most of my work used, there are times when some photos never find a home. I keep a folder on my laptop labeled “photos to be sold” and I try to constantly make sure that every one finds somewhere to go. For the most part, they get used for print, ads, or online features. Once in a while a few will slip through the cracks and as I said, I always try to find a place for every photo to go so that’s exactly what this feature is for.
I have to be honest with you here, there are times when I sit around and think for hours, days and sometimes a full week until an idea for a new column pops into my head. Week after week I have been searching for ways to keep things fresh and ways to keep people interested. I simply try to give a reason to check back every Wednesday to see what the new TTL will be about. For those that don’t know, I have officially started my East Coast summer at Woodward and for this week’s column I am very stoked to present an interview with vert legend Jamie Bestwick. Jamie is arguably the best vert rider on the planet and although he doesn’t like to admit that, I doubt there are any riders out there that would argue that fact. He is the type of rider that has an incredible drive to be the best at what he does. He has had a wild journey in BMX so far and has set the bar to an almost unreachable height. Jamie has won eight X Games gold medals in a row and shows zero signs of slowing down anytime soon. He is at the peak of his career and somehow remains level headed, modest and as down to earth as it gets. We recently spent some time hanging out on a quiet afternoon in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania and while we were hanging out I fired some questions his way, and this was the result. Enjoy.
It’s pretty crazy how fast time can go when you’re staying busy. One of the biggest things that we’ve been trying to do with The Union lately is producing an original feature everyday of the month. Now… I’m sure a lot of you are thinking “that wouldn’t be that hard”… But when you work a real job that kicks your ass along with trying to keep up with the constant flow of BMX videos, products and parts, it can get a little hectic. Luckily, we were able to pull off another full month which has lead to opportunities to take a closer look at bikes, get to know some of your favorite riders, take a look at some of the latest BMX products, keep up with all the latest and greatest videos. There’s a good chance you missed a few of these things, so I’ve compiled all of the features into one post so you can easily get to each and every one. Take a peek!
In today’s world having a cell phone is the norm and a huge majority of smart phones actually have a pretty decent camera on them. I can say personally that the “camera” that I carry most happens to be my iPhone. I always have it on me everywhere I go and I happen to shoot quite a bit with it. I never really do anything with any of the photos from my phone and the other day I was reminded of the saying “The best camera is the one you have on you.” To me, as a photographer that makes perfect sense. It’s one of those things where you don’t think; you just shoot. For example, if I’m out and don’t happen to have an actual camera on me, my first instinct is to grab my phone and capture the moment without focusing too much on the end result. That is what photography is all about. It’s about living in the moment, it’s about capturing what’s in front of you and it’s about taking advantage of your surroundings.
For this week’s TTL I wanted to take some time out to catch up with someone who knows what it means to put in work. Miles is the type of person to always have a ton of projects going on at one time. He not only is a professional rider but he is also a very well respected filmer in the BMX industry. He offers a unique perspective on riding, does his own goddamn thing and lives a lifestyle most people only talk about doing. Miles takes each day as it comes, and has that unique passion that it takes to succeed as a creative person. All of that together will be what helps bring Miles to the point he wants to be at in life one way or another. I’ve known him since 2007 and since that time I’ve seen him risk it all to move out west and pursue his dreams, I’ve seen him progress as a rider, and I’ve seen him put out some quality, original edits that make him stand out among the sea of filmers these days within the industry. It’s nice to know that there are other people out there working towards a goal and just simply trying to leave their mark. Check out what Miles had to say about the current state of the industry, what BMX needs and more right here.
Today’s feature is all about archiving. The importance of it, what it really means to “archive” your images and how to make sense of it all. This is something that every photographer has to deal with on some level regardless of the medium. If you grew up shooting film, or still do, you most likely have binders full of negative sleeves. If you shoot exclusively digital or even mostly digital like myself then surely you have hard drives filled up with gigs and gigs worth of images. If I had to guess I have over 75,000 or so images floating around from the past six years since moving west, which takes up quite a bit of space. Am I the most organized person in the world? Probably not, but I put forth a solid effort to try and stay on top of my archiving as best I can. When you work freelance and constantly put out different projects for different outlets it can get a bit overwhelming making sure that everything is neatly organized, labeled and safely stored for future use. On that note, if you are interested in learning a thing or two about archiving check this out.
When a BMX company has been around for fourteen years you have to figure that they are doing something right. That was my exact thought when planning the next company to feature for the column and that is why I chose Volume and Demolition. Also because Brian Castillo is a dedicated, hard-working person who constantly pushes BMX in a positive direction. He multi-tasks like no other and still finds time in his day to shred. He rides BMX simply because he loves it, and helped take a dream and make it a reality which is something most people will never do. It takes an incredible amount of drive to run multiple BMX companies for over a decade but he handles it with a small crew working alongside. I made my way down to the offices recently to hang out for the day, shoot some photos and talk to Castillo about what it takes to make it all happen.