Over here at BLVDSelect, we take pride in our diverse roster of photographers. International countries of origin of our members include Australia, Ireland, Denmark, Bulgaria and Russia.
Photographer Colin McGuire hails from Ireland, but has called Columbus, Ohio his home for the past 24 years. In order to come to the United States for work, Colin had to apply for an extremely competitive visa, where 10,000 or so hopefuls were picked at random from a pool of 50,000 to fill out an application in hopes of being approved. The first 2,000 processed are the lucky ones who receive the visas. Colin himself was short listed twice, and approved on the third try. When he reached his destination of Columbus, Ohio, his very first job was for a company called Glamour Shots who took mall portraits. Soon after starting this job he realized there was such a thing as a freelance photography assistant, and began down that more rewarding path. All the while he was assisting, Colin was building up his own portfolio, and started to have meetings of his own with ad agencies and clients of the like. These meetings helped him define his visual style which he has stuck with for the past 18 years.
Colin finds the opportunities for commerce in the US to be huge. The country of Ireland is about half the size of his home state Ohio, and the economy far more depressed. Small companies in Ireland are microscopic in comparison to small companies in the US. One doesn’t think of Columbus, Ohio as a photography mecca, though, because markets like LA and NYC dominate the scene. Colin finds it difficult to tap into those markets without living there, but being able to attend events like FotoWorks in LA and NYC allows him the opportunity to meet big name clients in these markets, and leave a lasting impression on them.
One of our other photographers, automotive shooter Lou D’Angelo, traveled all the way from Australia to attend our LA FotoWorks in search of a secondary market. His hometown of Melbourne has an extremely sophisticated market, but has very little opportunity. He has worked in Milan and other parts of Europe in his past, but none had a FotoWorks type event to help him get further into the market. Lou finds the fast pace opinions of the person to person meetings refreshing. Normally the types of meetings one receives at FotoWorks would takes months to make happen, so there’s nothing like that immediate feedback.
Lou met his agent at our LA FotoWorks review, and even though it took him 8-9 months to receive his visa, he was finally able to start working in the US. Being able to attend the event in LA also allowed him to see the real possibility of moving to LA. Being an automotive photographer, LA has one of the best markets for it next to Germany, so what drove him to move to LA in the end was being closer to the market in order to keep up withs trends. Similar to this idea, Tom Lindboe —a Danish photographer on our roster— came to the US and fell in love with the ever-changing American landscape. He finds the landscapes of the US to be amazing, quite possibly because he has traveled through so much of the European continent that it is far too normal and less exotic to him. Shooting landscape work is an outlet for Tom, and it has given him an edge during portfolio reviews. There are always great stories to tell about his landscape work, which opens up a unique conversation between him and his reviewer.
Not only does Tom’s unique content turn heads, but the style in which he shoots sparks an interest in these potential clients. There is a very different aesthetic when it comes to photographic style in Europe versus America, and Tom has made the conscious decision to stick with his European vantage point in order to stand out amongst the many talented American style shooters. His method of preserving his style to stay true to himself also rings true to another one of our photographers, conceptual shooter Lubo Sergeev.
Originally from Italy, Lubo makes his way to work in the NYC market quite frequently, and has attended many of our FotoWorks and BLVDSelect portfolio reviews. Going to FotoWorks made him want to make the move to the States even more, for it showed him all of the opportunities and possibilities the country possesses. He has consistently received feedback from reviewers on how his style is so unique that it’s hard to place him in a niche. While working in States, he is aiming to polish his vision for the American market. Though he hopes to expand his reach to cities like LA— where he can work in advertising for entertainment— he picked NYC as more of a home base, because he believes it has the best energy in the world. Similar to what Tom feel about the ever changing, ever stimulating landscape of the 50 States, Lubo feels that NYC is the photography capital of the world, offering a giant mixture of cultural diversity that in turn elevates his work.