8/01/2011

An Interview with a Photog & Graphic Designer: Alan Camuto

Alan Camuto is a both a graphic designer and photographer. Aside from being a friend of mine, I am also a fan of his work. Not only has he designed some pretty cool stuff, but he's taking some great pics. He recently launched his site, and I thought this would be a great chance for me to introduce his work, to you, my loyal readers.

In fact all of amazing the pictures accompanying this interview have been taking by him. It should give you just a taste of his excellent work!

How did you become a graphic designer?
When I was younger, I really wanted to create graphics for videos games. By the time I was 10, I had owned an Atari 2600 and a Nintendo Entertainment System. Even though graphics were still primitive, I was amazed by them. Unfortunately, that didn’t pan out. While I did take two years of computer programming in college, I never developed my love for it. I always wanted to do something more visual, and at the time, video game courses and schools didn’t exist. 3D modeling was still in its infancy. So in my junior year of college, I decided to switch to fine arts and began to concentrate on Graphic Design. I never looked back.

Who are your biggest influence(s) art wise?
When I was younger, I would sit around the house and draw comic book characters all day long. Back then, my inspiration came from comic artists such as Walter Simonson and Marc Silvestri. When I was old enough to start reading Heavy Metal Magazine, I discovered and fell in love with the artwork of Olivia De Berardinis. At college, I studied the works of American Painter Edward Hopper. He painted realistic everyday life at a time when the modern art techniques of the 20th century began to flourish. I really admired Hopper for going against the grain and not changing his style. As many don’t know, Hopper was also an accomplished photographer. In general, the works of my peers inspire me to be a better photographer.

When did you notice your interest in photography?
In 2005 I began working on the photography web site of a popular photographer. After seeing his work first hand, I decided to give photography a try myself. Soon after, I purchased my first digital camera. I’ve been taking photographs ever since.

What do enjoy most about photography?
For me, photography gives me the ability to freeze time and share a moment that the naked eye usually takes for granted. This is basically what Edward Hopper did with his paintings. He took every day life and turned it into art. The only difference is that I’m trying to accomplish this with a camera.

What is your favorite subject(s) to photograph?
That’s simple… It’s New York City! This city never sleeps and there’s always something to photograph. Architecture, people, sporting events… The possibilities are endless in this city.

If you could photograph anyone who would you pick?
Since I can’t travel back in time to the 1960s and photograph Diana Rigg, I’ll have to settle for someone else. Otep Shamaya would be high on my list. Possibly a shoot of Otep in concert. I’m also a big hockey fan, and I think a photo shoot with CBC hockey commentator Don Cherry would be a real kick. The man is known for his eccentric suits and “tell it like it is” attitude. I think it would be fun to follow him around for a day taking photos. If you’re not familiar with him, look him up on Google. The man has a style all of his own!

What is your most proud photographic accomplishment?
I think my most proud accomplishment is having my photos published for the first time. A writer in Hungary saw my photographs online and approached me about an article for an upcoming issue. We spoke over e-mail and worked things out to make it happen.

What cons do you enjoy the most photography wise?
I love cars, so I think the New York Auto Show is my favorite. There’s so much to be seen there. The New York Tattoo Convention was fun. I wasn’t even thinking about going until my friend talked me into it. I brought my camera, and sure enough, some of the photos I took that day ended up being published. I also enjoy hitting the Horror, Anime, and Comic Cons. Photographing Cosplay is also a lot of fun, especially with the amazing costumes I’ve been seeing of late. This year, I’ll be attending all 4 days of the New York Comic Con. I can’t wait to see what photographs I’ll be bringing back.

What do you find most challenging about your field of work?
As with any line of work, it’s competition. In today’s world there are a lot of photographers and designers to compete against for jobs and opportunities. A lot of them are excellent at what they do, and deserve their accolades, but unfortunately the market is also flooded with “wannabes”. Learning Photoshop is only 1% of the game. You need to know design theory. It’s unfortunate that anyone can illegally torrent a copy of Adobe Studio CS5. You can’t download the title of Graphic Designer along with it.

What do you like to do on your spare time?
Besides taking photographs, I enjoy watching films, playing video games, and creating artwork.

What are some of your favorite video games, movies, TV shows, and music?
Right now I’m playing Final Fantasy XIII and the first Dead Rising. As far as movies, I’ve been watching a lot of Asian films of late. I’m a fan of Chan-wook Park and Takashi Miike. I watch a lot of sports on TV. And music… Well I like just about anything except pop and modern country music. I love Anime. If not for Akira, I would never have picked up a pencil to draw.

Where do you see yourself in the future?
Hopefully continuing what I love to do most, only on higher profile jobs. I’m expanding my horizons and moving forward with my work. As long as I’m having fun doing what I do, I’ll never give it up.

Where can people go to view your works or inquire about future photography and graphic design opportunities?
If you’d like to see more of my design and photography, you can visit my portfolio website at www.negativepop.com Visit the blog section for up to date photography postings. I also post to Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/nixed/

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