World Class Photographers Magazine would like to welcome Best Jamaican Photographer Orville Spence.
World Class Photographers Magazine: Please tell us about yourself.
I am Orville Spence of 10.06 Photography and I2 Model Management team. In my past life (previous job) I was a DJ (Disc Jockey) for Renaissance Disco which was one of the top sound systems of Jamaica. I also worked with Cactus and Asylum as resident DJ which were the top 2 night clubs on the island. I have also travel the world stage as a DJ for the sound system and also accompanying Dancehall artists including Cham (Babycham) and Mr Vegas. Been to various parts of the world, even to places where Dancehall/Reggae seems to be just a ripple in the ocean. World Class Photographers Magazine: Tell us what type of photographer are you or what of jobs do you focus on?
I am fashion, artistic and editorial portrait. These are my main focus but I like to translate that style of photography into what I shoot for any client who want to add flair and character to a portrait session. I do photojournalistic wedding photography but with the formals it’s back to the root of fashion, editorial style for the hour session.
World Class Photographers Magazine: What made you decide to dive into world of photography?
I have always had a bit of art in me and as with music, I use to love drawing but I never did much with it. I had point and shoot camera and would take pictures every chance I could.
World Class Photographers Magazine: Are you schooled or self-taught?
I am mostly self-taught but I did take two short summer courses at the University of the West Indies (UWI) at CARIMAC with established Jamaican photographers, Mr. Howard Moo Young and Mr Damien Baddy. Just so I could get out of the dreaded “Auto” mode..lol. I have always been an introspecting person, always looking back at shots I have done and asking myself how could I have done it better.
World Class Photographers Magazine: What was your first biggest break?
My biggest break is from a friend who was constantly telling me how good my work was and that I should take a chance at the Ministry of Tourism initiative called “Christmas in July”, a Government event held to help small business meet with Corporate Clients which includes Hotels chains, Banks and such. It’s not a pop up shop and it’s not just for photographers so I had to show evaluators my work and explain why I deserve a spot. Having gotten a place (booth) I was approached by a major Hotel CEO who liked my work and I was able to sell some pieces of my ‘Flower Girl” series which now hangs at a hotel in Montego Bay.
World Class Photographers Magazine: Let's talk about your early days, what helped you climb to where you are?
I am a determined individual and so I had my little point and shoot which I would take anywhere and just grab a picture wherever. One day I met a photographer name Stuart Smellie of Equilibrium Photographer and was speaking to him about his work and my love to genre so he offered to lean me an older camera that he wasn’t using. His words were “Go and shoot, it’s the best way to develop yourself.” and that’s where my real love for photography took hold.
World Class Photographers Magazine: How did your style evolved since you start shooting?
I started out shooting inanimate objects and architecture then I was on tour with Cham so I started shooting from behind the artist during a performance if I get a chance to just to capture the crowd reaction to vibe. From there I was asked (like most young talent) to take some pictures at birthday parties and family functions. I decided to start shooting friends who recommended others and it snowballed from there. Most of my growth as been through shooting aspiring models who were as clueless as i was so I had to learn how to be a director and convey the poses I wanted. This also meant I have to learn what poses that i liked and wanted to shoot.
World Class Photographers Magazine: Do you have any photography mentors?
Oneil Haynes @g10_photography who as been mentoring me in the art of Landscape and Macro Photography. Stuart Smellie @stuartsmellie who started me on this journey. However there are some photographers who have inspired me from afar. Peter Dean Rickards (RIP) Afflicted Yard, William Richard @will_i_amr , Wade Rhoden @waderhoden and Colin Milne
World Class Photographers Magazine: Let's talk about gear, what do you currently shoot with and what type of job your gear applies to?
I shoot the a Canon 5D Mark iv and a Canon 7D Mark ii. Lens are 16-28mm f2.8 Tonika for ultra wide shot, three Canon primes 50mm f1.4, 85mm f1.8, 100mm f2.8 macro and the beast of a machine Canon 70-200mm f2.8 for those tight shots. The 70-200mm is best suited for weddings once space is available to make the shots. The 100mm macro for those dreamy wedding details. The 50mm is my all rounder lens that I can use in any situation, the 85mm for studio portraits. The 16-28mm is those wide shots that might consist of a large family shot or doing landscape work.
World Class Photographers Magazine: Besides body and lens what are your other essentials in your bag?
TT600 Godox flashes and trigger, rechargeable batteries, tripod for long exposure and time lapse photography. Extra camera batteries and storage. Unless I am going somewhere overnight, my laptop stays home.
World Class Photographers Magazine: What is your favorite lens and why?
The nifty 50mm though mine is the f/1.4. The 50mm is one of the most versatile lens for any situation. For events, landscape, weddings, lowlight, portraits.. While the best portrait lens to have is the 85mm, the 50mm can guarantee an awesome shot when done right.
World Class Photographers Magazine: What's more important, skill or gear and why?
Skill is most important. Gear is just an acquired tool but without skills you are no more than a picture taker. Skill builds character and foundation which in turn builds a brand or uniqueness. Skills is how you stand apart from everyone else. There are photographers who are masters with any gear, even cheap gear, yet only amateurs think gear is the way to better composition, lighting and storytelling in a photograph.
World Class Photographers Magazine: Let's talk about post processing, what is your process?
I do. most of my work in camera first. This usually eliminate a lot of the unnecessary work that could have been avoided. Afterwards, I let each image tell me what it wants me to do. I will use frequency separation to tone the skin without losing the detail or texture of the models skin. After that, it’s whatever I feel the image wants to portray or what the client
World Class Photographers Magazine: What makes you unique as a photographer?
Because I have worked with lot of aspiring models, I have gained a way of relating to most client and first provide them with a relaxed atmosphere. This not to about the location of the shoot/job but a sense of being at ease in the presence of a camera. yes people still get intimidated by a large DSLR and some will freeze while others get nervous. As for style, my uniqueness comes from within, it’s a little hard to explain because I like various things and how I see whatever I am shooting has (for the most part) already been visioned in my minds eye. So to make it a simpler answer, I plan. I plan location, model, style outfit, poses and anything else that I can control. I still leave room for ideas, surprises and counseling by the team I am collaborating with. Can’t be too rigid I can try to see what other might see.
World Class Photographers Magazine: What advice would you give to next generation of photographers on getting where you are?
Be yourself, study your art even if you’re self-taught. Learn the rules before you try to break what you don’t know but at the same time find a way to master and pass them for the rules are only guideline to better your photography. Study light, not just lighting but light itself. It will be hard at first but if you can grasp how light works, you will see a major improvement in your work.
World Class Photographers Magazine: What celebrities have you worked with so far?
Bounty Killer, Cham, Ward 21 and other artists during studio sessions and recordings or live shows.
World Class Photographers Magazine: Any fashion experience?
I have shot fashion portraits, countless fashion shows which includes Caribbean Fashion Week CFW and Pulse Model Search.
World Class Photographers Magazine: What some of your achievements as a photographer that you are proud of?
I have stepped out of my comfort zone when I did “Christmas in July” at the behest of my friend and to have 5/10 (2 of each) images hanging a the “S” (Spanish Court) Hotel in
World Class Photographers Magazine: What is your best quality as a photographer?
The ability to listen, to change and to incorporate the essence of the model I am working with. While I may create or be inspired to do a concept, I still rely on the model, the mua for suggestions and not be rigid in my thinking or actions. Sometimes offbeat suggestions can be just as surprising as a candid.
World Class Photographers Magazine: What is your favorite pageant you shot so far and why, tell us a story?
To be honest I have only shot on Pageantry. World Class Photographers Magazine: Any amazing photography stories you would like to share with us?
This isn’t an amazing story but more on the cautionary side... lol. Anyways while on tour with Cham (the artist) in Europe, we had a gig/job at a festival but after a grueling flight and then travel by bus Cham and I arrived in Poland. I was a little tired but eager to see the place for it was my first time there and man it was like I was drop directly in to history. Everything I had imagined was still there, all the old building, tiny streets, almost like the game I use to play name Medal of Honor. Still it was also like an espionage movie, I had go out and capture images. Now I am a very stand off-ish kinda person cause I never know what people want when they approach me but this particular guy came up and was being friendly, not overly so but just enough to put me at ease. He spoke enough English for me to understand him and has he explain the history of the place, my interest was being seasoned..lol. Yes, like fine cuisine. So we started walking around the park at first then off to a church where i witness a Polish wedding but then he started to tell me of some other place where he could take me and damn, did those alarm bells in my head started going off.. At first I politely decline but then he was becoming more insistent (here comes a little Jamaican dialect) suh mi haffi start wid some patwaah and seh “Mi good breddah” (So I had to say “I am good sir”). Of course he was taken aback and with that I retrace my steps back to the hotel. Whew, I have seen videos of photographers being conned in Poland and quick silver thieves would make of with an expensive lens right off the camera. Well I lost nothing and live to tell the tale..
World Class Photographers Magazine: Most amazing places you shot at?
This would have to be when I am on tour for I love exotic places but this way before I started shooting models or even thought about Fashion as I would love to shoot. So the amazing places would be Europe and the UK. Whenever I get time off from working on festivals and club shows which were weekends, during the week I would walk about and try to find interesting about where I am. Call me a nerd but I love history and historic things. I want to know the story behind them and since I have always kinda followed WWII, Europe is definitely the place that intrigues me. Still I tend to stick to architectures and a limited amount of street photography.
World Class Photographers Magazine: Tell us about some of the highs and lows of being a photographer for those who want to follow your footsteps.
There have been days when I feel like giving up, turning back, hanging up the equipment but I have not. I sometimes cannot find anything to inspire me and have hit a ceiling or caught in a rut. That’s when I would try even harder, I would go through old shoot to see if I have missed any gems I didn’t have the eye to see at the time I shot it. I would look over old edits to see where I could have done better and I look to different places for inspiration. Everyone is on Instagram and there it is like a follow train, the same thing repeated over and over. When I look elsewhere and find something unique to inspire me, it brings a creative spark as to how I can do this my way for I am not a copy machine. When I nail that shot I envisioned, or the post production is even better than I could have hope for.. I can only imagine that is the high people search for in other things.
World Class Photographers Magazine? What can we expect from you next?
Well that will be hard to say but as part of I2 Model Management team, the sky is limit, literally.
World Class Photographers Magazine? What kind of legacy would you like to leave behind?
A tale of triumph. How so you ask? Well for I started from nowhere to become one of the best not just in Jamaica but the world. For I have seen where Peter Dean Rickards have made a difference (even if it’s unspoken) as a Jamaican photographer his photography has across the spectrum of time and countries. Hence this is also my road to travel and I don’t intend to fail.
World Class Photographers Magazine? If someone would like to hire you, how can they do that.
I can be found at www.1006photography.com or Instagram:
@10.06studio or @10.06imagry
World Class Photographers Magazine would like to say thank you for this wonderful interview.
Photographer Orville Spence, World Class Photographers Magazine
Photographer Orville Spence, World Class Photographers Magazine, Photo By: Orville Spence
Interview by Derek Tokarzewski Owner/Editor in Chief Mr United Nations 2018 Platform: Women Empowerment Ambassador to International Foundation for Orphans iffocares.org
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