So maybe for those of us on the East Coast or just not in tune with our creative side, have you ever heard of Ace of LA? Let me just say, here’s one shooter who has completely transcended what we all think makes up the word “photographer.”
We got an exclusive chance to talk to Adalberto Ramos, or “Ace” for short, about his methodology behind photography, and generally what he thinks about a lot of common “shooter-esque” questions.
I personally know that starting out with my first camera, all I could think about was the fact that everyone’s equipment around me looked so much better. Forget talent or hard work. There were thoughts that I’d simply never be able to create something as great as some of these shooters with my little Canon Rebel T6 that plagued my mind on a day-to-day basis.
Ace was genuine in his answers and gave a perspective similar to so many shooters around the world, including myself.
“Cameras are like relationships. Some mean the world to me and some… I just don’t even think about them. I feel like cameras represent a time period as relationships do. So to say what the first camera I owned was like describing my first relationship – A MESS!
Now how many of us can relate? Ace continued:
“And it’s easier just to say “hey, I’m a photographer” versus “I really don’t know what I’m doing with this camera. I just know it feels right… I’m just simply enjoying moments.”
If that wasn’t you starting out, then I don’t know man, do you, but this to me is just too accurate. How many of us starting out in photography just wanted to shoot artists, models, or anything else, but couldn’t?
It’s always comforting knowing someone ahead of you experienced the same difficulties in the beginning.
“You have to understand, I didn’t go to school for this. I learned as I experienced life. Which lead me to figure out the camera. But it’s not the camera that makes you capture great moments because it’s just a camera…”
“It’s what you experience and what you want the world to see when you press that button. The pain, the beauty… you name it.”
He makes the best point here. The greatest aspects can’t be taught, they’re acquired. Everybody’s photos generally look the same, mostly because of editing, but once you scratch that, what’s left? Each and every shooter’s outlook on life.
For most of us, we find ourselves living life through a lens – Once you take that step back, and actually live what you experience, you might see your perspective change.
“My biggest challenge was allowing myself to see what I am experiencing.”
The Mexican American lensman has made strides within his craft and not for one second did he let his ethnic background or racial identity stop him from accomplishing his photographic goals. That’s the type of focus I’m talking about.
As we talked, we got more in-depth about working and really making photography more than a hobby. A lot of us have the talent, but just haven’t yet found the right outlet to make it sustainable.
“People pay for what they want. But free work is still work. That’s the biggest misconception people who just started ‘creating’ don’t get. You have to give in order to receive… If you do good work, people will pay for your good work. You’re only as good as your last job.”
It’s true really. We’re so quick to get the bag, that we forget the process. Sometimes expanding horizontally is just as beneficial as vertically. Another big point Ace of LA made surrounded preparation for shoots, and just maintaining focus.
“If you don’t love the subject then there is really nothing to focus on. So you must love the subject. As corny or as stupid that may sound. But it’s the truth.”
Ace explained that “when you love something, there are no distractions.” As a direct result of diving headfirst into his craft, “he’s able to ignore the world.” These emotions help bring lighting and composition to the world each photographer is trying to create.
It happens too often for young shooters either taking on a task they have zero interest in or too much to handle. Nonetheless, if you love and appreciate what you’re shooting, there won’t be a failure. Allow your senses to kick in and shoot your experience.
Everything we talked about was so relevant especially to this new generation of shooters worldwide – Even extending to creators, everything was relatable. As far as any last bits of knowledge, he said it best.
“Attitude determines what you capture. What you capture is what you focus on. What you focus on develops who you are.”
Thanks, Ace, and remember, young photographers, stay the course.