Joel Grimes – Start of A Photography Career
We start this podcast by talking about how Joel came to Photography. In his early years, Joel started his career as a photography student in college and went through the ara of shooting film.
In that time, he became aware of photography not being solely a way of documenting but also a way to be creative with the story you might want to tell and the processes involved when “making” an image.
For Joel being color blind, he could not print color in the darkroom himself. Nevertheless, he made the process of black and white images and the whole process his own.
Eventually, Joel came out of college with a degree in fine arts photography.
Being An Artist, Not A Photographer
When digital came along, Joel had to re-invented his role as a photographer. He saw his work not as that of a photographer but that of an artist, and thus, began marketing it as such.
That concept of being an artist with a set of tools first wholly changes the way one can approach photography. Nobody is bound by a fixed set of rules and steps to follow when one’s primary goal is to create and use tools on the way to translate one’s vision into reality.
Tools and Limitations
Back in the day, you could somewhat manipulate images in the darkroom; however, for the most part, a photographer had to get the final image in-camera.
Today this has changed, and an image can be taken predominantly to be put through digital processes. This may completely change one’s approach to photography and what the right capture may look like.
The process is the same, the tools have changed
Ultimately, every process and every tool has its limitations, but in the creative process, there are no limits. You have a vision, and you work with the tools you have available to make your vision come to life.
Photoshop and the Transition from, film to digital
Early versions of Photoshop were already part of Joels Workflows when he was still shooting film. That said, making the switch to digital was not a smooth transition at first. With the introduction of digital, color images were merely just the difference of pushing a button and demand increasing steadily. Color-blind Joel first was not convinced he could keep up with the expectations that came with the new medium.
Despite all the hurdles and nervousness about the new process, Joel found his way to making the process work for him. Thinking of himself as an artist, Joel manipulated images in a way he liked as art pieces. Within that world of what he likes as art, he could (and still can) work comfortably.
The Joel Grimes Look
The images Joel creates are far from what one would call neutrally color balanced but being an artist, Joel never tried to achieve this to begin with. One, therefore, can look at “being color blind” as being an advantage and what set Joel free from adopting what was “the norm”.
It seems like the edgy look almost came naturally to Joel’s photography. Always pushing his boundaries in the process of creating art, he broke many rules in the process of creating. And while he was pushing himself to keep creating, new and exciting looks came to be.
On the verge of fantasy, the grungy, desaturated, and dramatic look came to be. With that look, photography processes have changed to accentuate all these traits in Joel’s images.
The Joel Grimes Branding
With certain limitations in place and the will to push his vision, Joel stuck with the type of photography and art he preferred, ultimately branding this look as being intertwined with himself. He is the artist that creates and thus sells this unique look, eventually becoming known for it.
Joel mentions that this brand and his look plays in his hands when it comes to getting jobs. As he cannot “produce a perfectly red Ferrari” and instead gets booked for clients wanting him to create images with his very own look and feel.
Joel explains that copying others mostly does not lead to success. Those who are successful usually were the first in the market doing what they do. Therefore they are successful. It may take a lot to put yourself out there, to be unique, and to be yourself, but if you were merely copying what is successful, now will most likely not make successful.
You may be different from people you are looking up to, you may create different work, but that does not mean you cannot be successful. You ultimately have to find your own way and find the value in what you do. Then you can – with confidence – go out there and market yourself with your unique skillsets and your unique vision.