This week was a little overwhelming as far as shoots go, I’m getting more and more spontaneous as opportunities come up. As much as I’d like to individually speak about each one, I specifically want to share my experience working with one local brand that holds a very special place in my heart.
This week I worked with another local photographer friend of mine, Arjay Neyra (@arjayneyra). To this day I am extremely thankful I met Arjay, as it was a complete fluke for our paths to cross. He was filming a collaborative video for his Youtube channel that required three photographers (himself included) and one model. Basically, creatives get together and pull random types of shots out of a bag or hat that they have to shoot and the viewers decide what shot they like the best out of the three photographers. Unfortunately for Arjay and the two other photographers, their model cancelled the night before their shoot. Luckily for me, one of the other photographers (@seanchenn) who I’ve worked with contacted me to come in last minute. I had never done a Youtube video yet so I was completely on board.
When we first met, we were working on a professional level. When I meet people who are initially strangers, I generally don’t share a lot of personal information with them. So after filming the video I parted ways with Arjay. Less than a day later, he contacted me to be featured in his promotional video for 778co (@778co) which is a local clothing brand that he created. Within a weeks time we linked up and became fast friends. Not only did we shoot an amazing first video for his brand, but Arjay shared his story with me and only then did I realize how similar we really were.
He opened up about his struggles within the creative industry, how nobody believed in his work, and how there were times when he questioned what he was doing. He reminded me that with passion and perseverance he was able to stay true to his brand and continue to do what he loved. Arjay began in the creative industry taking shots with a GoPro, then soon moved into landscape photography. His main Instagram account which features the majority of his nature shots has around 10,000 followers. He told me that he only recently got into portrait photography even though it was something he had always wanted to do. There were people who had their doubts about him, but he continued to create and now his portrait account (@lostportrait) has almost 1,000 followers. Arjay has also kept an active presence on YouTube since 2016 documenting his travels all around the globe, as well as photography and videography tips. Also, as I mentioned above, he has recently developed his own clothing line. Each piece is handcrafted with a different backstory that Arjay creates that speak meaning to him. Although he and I were shooting his second design this week, in August we shot his first design and that one has inspired me beyond words.
GO AGAINST THE TIDE
DO MORE OF WHAT MAKES
YOU FEEL ALIVE
This is my story.
After I wrapped up my second year of school at SFU in April, I decided to stick around Vancouver for the summer instead of heading back to my home town on Vancouver Island. My original plan was to get a job at a bar serving drinks, but that fell through quickly as I wasn’t receiving any call backs for work. Prior to the summer, I had participated in 9 shoots, featuring one local brand. At the time, I wasn’t serious about modelling at all, it didn’t make me feel all that creative but I liked meeting people and spicing up my Instagram feed.
As the weeks passed, I was struggling to find work. The majority of my friends from SFU weren’t from the local area and neither was I, so started feeling slightly lost and confused with what I was doing in the city. At the beginning of early June, I moved back to Vancouver Island. Even though I quite literally packed all my bags and moved myself back home, within two weeks I was already back in Vancouver working with local swimwear & fitness brand, Vitae Apparel (@vitaeapparel). Looking at it now, I realize that I should’ve just pushed through my confusion and stayed in Vancouver but c’est la vie. From there, I was travelling back and forth across the Georgia Straight every couple weeks until mid July.
Both of my parents weren’t exactly impressed that I was spending my summer freelance modelling, especially because I claimed that I wasn’t serious about it and I honestly thought I wasn’t. I still wasn’t creating video content which was my main goal, I was kind of just spinning my wheels. Every day we would get into a fight about something new, so one day I decided to move back to Vancouver and take a complete risk on myself. For some reason I believed in myself when nobody else did. Although I didn’t think I was serious about modelling, I knew that I felt some sort of creative spark within myself that was worth sussing out and I’m glad I did because I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t.
To this date, I’ve participated in 37 photoshoots, 2 music videos and worked with 9 local brands. I am by no means successful, but I’ve worked hard to be where I am now. I don’t intend on modelling forever, but from what I can take from all of this is that I’ve created networks and met like-minded people like Arjay who have inspired me to keep creating despite having doubts. Ever since I was eight years old I had wanted to create YouTube videos, and it wasn’t until recently that I found it within myself to flip the switch on and remove the lens cover.
To me, success isn’t accompanied by a cheque, and it’s also something that doesn’t just happen overnight. Success is something you see within yourself when nobody else does, and to me, turning on my DSLR camera is just the beginning of my success story. It took me nearly two years to start creating videos, and it’s definitely been a slow start, but I believe in my work and what I do. If I hadn’t spent the entire summer modelling, I don’t think I would be creating my own content like I am now and for me, that’s what I consider a success. This is what makes me feel alive.