Adam Elmakias, a 22-year old with a romantic, lyrical-sounding name, is an inveterate foodie – and incidentally is becoming a major player in the music photography scene world wide.
There’s no doubt; this guy’s got a gift, and not just for great images. At an amazingly young age he’s mover into sensitive and prolific use of social media to grow his business and name recognition. All this without formal training, just a willingness to dig in and not be afraid to make mistakes, while literally apprenticing himself to his craft by doing, doing and more doing over a period of years.
SF: Tell me about Adam: the early years.
“At first I was really a fan boy. In 2006 I was just finding out about photography in high school. I got a little Canon point and shoot, and gradually moved up by taking money from my college fund to buy a Rebel and then later was able to buy a 5D with photo earnings. (Canon rules! – SF) Incidentally I tried college, and it wasn’t for me. I just had to be part of the music scene.”
SF: How did you get started photographing bands?
“I had made musician friends in my home town, and I just got started photographing concerts and shows for free. Sometimes bands needed a place to crash, and I wheedled my parents into letting guys sleep on the floor. Yes, I watched some on line camera how-to and Photoshop tutorials, but shortly realized there’s no totally right or wrong way to do anything. I know I’ve embarrassed myself technically in front of virtually everyone at one time or another. The trick is not to show it!”
Alligator makes an unusual_prop_in_band_photo_by_Adam_Elmakias
SF: How did the Lens Bracelet come about?
“When you go photograph a show or travel with a band like I do now, there’s always lots of other photographers and would-be photographers hanging around. I could see that being friendly and making my identity known to all these people in a lasting way is really important. In the music business you’ve got to know everyone to get access, connections and therefore jobs. You get to find out about events and jobs in the weirdest ways, it’s all indirect. So I needed a memorable calling card. Neither a corporate-looking piece of cardboard nor a tee shirt fit the bill. I give out dozens of lens bracelets with my website printed on the inside. Everyone loves them. They’re now a substantial part of my income.”
SF: If you work for free, how do you monetize what you do?
“I want to control and sell all my own work. I pay my way to concerts or to get to a tour kick-off city. These musicians are my friends, have become my friends, and I can usually bunk with them. The bunk is actually a seat on their bus. I get paid by the image for PR, posters, magazine articles and such. It’s really hard to get someone else to pay you up front for your idea, so I make my money after the fact by delivering the goods – images everyone wants.”
SF: Where does the eating come in?
” I just love eating, mostly vegetarian. Right now I think it’s the best thing to spend money on. In Melbourne, Australia I found this fun place called the VeggieBar – though I’ll admit the amount of wine I drank may have had something to do with how great everything tasted! The catering they give you at german venues is the best. You get there and there is food ready for you in the morning, then they just have a constant flow of fresh cooked food for the rest of the day. So good.”
SF: What’s next?
“I’ve got a wonderful on line following, and lots of them turn out to be aspiring photogs. I’ve started making tutorials about what I do, and there’s a new one coming out soon.”