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Traveling freak shows?

We all know photography as an industry has taken a hit. When an aspiring photographer contacts me and says he or she is in school for photography, I find a way to work in “Dump photography and go for business”. Perplexed, they ask me why and I explain to them that they can learn photography, business skills are best learned in school. There are plenty of traveling freak shows near them they can go learn photography from.

Jay Kilgore teaching a workshop  2007

Jay Kilgore teaching a workshop 2007

Some don’t get it, others are offended once they do. I don’t mean to offend anyone! Ever! But when I was learning photography, I was faced with an industry that kept everything close to the vest. No one was really teaching so wannabe photographers had to learn by trial and error or shooting and getting it wrong, until we got it right. I used to hate that no one would share anything in my industry. I wanted to be handed everything and make adjustments and my own style. Today, I am VERY thankful that I had to learn the hard way as my style is truly mine. I’ve learned may things that make my photography mine. Business school will teach you about marketing and running a business and it’s a generic enough of a degree that should you decide you don’t want to do photography, you can do into any aspect of Corporate America and do just fine. With photography, you can grab a friend and shoot, or your spouse/significant other and shoot them. No one wants to invest thousands of dollars into something that is a waste of time. At least I don’t.

This is where we enter the traveling freak show pandemic. Over the years, I’ve watched photography, model photography, go from a way to make a living, to almost a side job. There are many people who were forced with two options: Branch out from model photography alone, or sell their skills in workshop or photoshop actions…sometimes both. I have watched how not only model photography, but general portrait photography take a hit as a once big time Colorado child and family portrait photographer start shooting wedding photography. She posted on a forum that she’d not shot a wedding in 10+ years at the time, and a few weeks later she was teaching a workshop on wedding photography!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m View full post »

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Every professional must tell a small lie from time to time. We all tell lies from time to time:


Model: “I love your work, but at this time I’m only accepting paying jobs.” When they’ve most likely never gotten a paying job in their lives.

Photographer: “I can get you published with Playboy if you shoot nudes” When they’ve never been published anywhere.

The two above may be a bit extreme and put me on the side of non forgiveness with my peers, but I don’t care! Let’s look the green-eyed monster in it’s one big bloody green eye and call it as it is: dirty lies!

We all tell them. We all know for the most part, when we’re being lied to. It’s up to us to accept it or reject it. The problem with a lot of people, new people, is they don’t know when they’re being lied to. In order to be successful in our industry, you almost have to over embellish yourself and or talents. To get to the next level in your career, you have to oversell your skills to land the job you want, not the job you have. No one is ever happy with the job they have and always dram about the next gig or next opportunity. It is here that the problem lies.

Instead of loving the moment we’re in, we’re pissing away today and because we’re doing that, we lose the importance of what it can give us: the opportunity to tell the truth! If we commit to today and our clients today, we can do what we embellish so we don’t have to lie.

I see a LOT of photographers tell models and wannabe models View full post »

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The end of an era

The end of an era is now. After 10 wonderful years in Colorado, it’s time for me to move on to glamour capital of the world, Los Angeles, CA. Some people ask why I never went there to start with and I’ve never really been able to answer intelligently until now: I wasn’t ready. Some people said I should have moved from MN, to Cali and made my bones out there. I say I did it right.

I didn’t want to start my career in Cali as a rookie making my bones. I wanted to move out there established and having a direction. Lots of models and photographers pick up and move to Cali or NY with out a clear and defined goal and end up moving back with their tail between their legs. I’ve never wanted to be that and have always prided myself on having a plan. Even if people didn’t understand or like it, it was a good plan and it worked for me. My plan was move West, but not West Coast, not yet. When I looked at how I was shooting, making the stop in Colorado first was smart:

Granted, not all those images are as terrible as I remember. There are three, the first three, that aren’t so bad and could actually be used today. But the rest, meh.

When I got to Colorado, I was determined to make a stance, to be different. I had publications in FHM, at the very back of the mag in the FHM 20 Hot dates or whatever it was back then. Pic the same size as a postage stamp, but it was a national publication either way! I could have taken a few decent images and moved to Cali, but truth is, I was afraid. I wasn’t ready for Cali. I wanted to make sure when I hit the big stage, that I was ready.  And Lord knows I was no where near ready with the work above. At that time I thought I was a professional, but looking back, I’d say I was a hobbyist with good intentions. I speak often about View full post »

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Paying gigs?

Hello friends!

Been a while, eh? Sorry about that! As you know, I’ve been preparing my move to Los Angeles so that has been taking up a LOT of my time. I want to talk about paying gigs and the ignorance surrounding them, as well as my feelings on CO.

Initially, I was going to use this blog post as a blame and shame, my one and only response to all the “photographers” and “models” who have taken plenty of moments of their time to bash me. For 5 years I’ve never said anything negative about them, I wanted to use this blog post to point them out. Then I thought; “Who gives a crap? I’ve ignored them and have done 100 times the work and things they’ve done, why use MY blog to bash them?” So I won’t. But what I will touch on is two things people say to me, or about me:

1. Why do you hate Colorado so much now?

2. Why do you shoot porn?

Number one has everything to do with number two and vice-versa.

The gorgeous and lovely Janelle of Denver, CO

The gorgeous and lovely Janelle of Denver, CO

For the record: I do NOT hate Colorado. Not at all! I love it out here! I love most of the people, the mountains, the…everything about it! What I dislike is the direction this state has taken with regards to it’s limited, yet thriving photography industry. Let me be brutally honest: Colorado is a hobbiest state. There is no real work here. Some Coloradians will no doubt become upset, but it’s fact. Comments such as that, is what makes people think I’m anti Colorado, but in fact, I’m anti-lying. Part of my marketing was “The most nationally published and sponsored model photographer in CO.” which is very true. I have a lot of publications and a lot of sponsors. View full post »

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