If anyone was thinking of quitting a job to pursue something they want to do, go after it 100%. You can always go backwards. That desk job will always be waiting for you. If there's something you're even a tiny bit passionate about, go after it 110%.
In episode 09, we speak to financier-turned-photographer Joe Ladrigan about uncovering his latent camera talents later in life, the joy of learning and collaboration and the necessary evil of social media.
Daryl: So it’s the Tinpot Productions Podcast. And today we have photographer Joe Ladrigan who’s with us, who has … I suppose it’s a journey. I’m going to summarize it very briefly, but you’ll fill in the details.
Joe Ladrigan: I’ll try to.
Daryl: Essentially a journey from a nine to five city banker to a professional photographer. It’s not the traditional route into the industry, but you might maybe just fill us in on the detail of how that happened.
Joe Ladrigan: I was told you had to do nine to five banking to get into photography. That’s why I’ve done it [crosstalk 00:00:41].
Daryl: Really? Is that the way it works?
Joe Ladrigan: I must have read the wrong book I think.
Daryl: So each year there are multiple photographers graduate from Citibank, is that right?
Joe Ladrigan: Yeah I think you need your ACCAs in accounting to get straight into it. But you’re right, it’s definitely not … and sorry, first and foremost, thank you very much for having me on.
Daryl: You’re more than welcome. More than welcome.
Joe Ladrigan: Really appreciate it. And certainly you’re right, it’s not the traditional route of getting into this industry. For me there was no plan to get into it. I mean, as you said, I went from being in school and then trying college and realizing it wasn’t for me, I wasn’t particularly academic. I wasn’t particularly creative. And by chance, through a family member that had brought me into the bank, you know, very much, “this is a good job, try to get in there, take this opportunity.” Everyone else in my friend group was doing similar things and it felt like the right step to go and have a secure nine to five job because that’s what I needed at the time.
Joe Ladrigan: But that was a few years of doing that and I failed at that job and I really wasn’t doing well because my heart wasn’t in it, but I didn’t know I wasn’t doing well. I didn’t understand that this wasn’t my actual career path. I just really didn’t know what I was going to do and I was just kind of ticking along. Like a lot of people, I was settling for what I thought was good and that was about seven years in from the bank into a bit of media, back into a finance role where I was just going through the motions. Really just, you know, I’m okay at this, so I’ll just keep doing what I think I know.
Daryl: And while you were in the job, were you’re thinking about if there’s an opportunity I’ll move somewhere else, or was it just-
Joe Ladrigan: No, I’ll be honest with you, I was very lazy, just in a very bad head space of I’ll just get by, you know, I’m doing okay. The salary is enough for what I need. I had no ambitions to go anywhere else. I was just settling. So it was very much by chance that this happened to me, that I got into this creative industry and I’m very thankful for it.
Daryl: And how did that then happen? How did the transition happen from city banker to photographer?
Joe Ladrigan: It was my brother who really introduced me to this. And he’s not even a photographer himself. I mean, he is now as a hobbyist, but back then we didn’t own a camera. No one in my family owned a camera. I wasn’t brought up around this where I would see this day in, day out or anyone would speak about it, apart from like a Kodak disposable camera at a family barbecue or something like that. I’d never seen a DSLR. I didn’t know what a DSLR was. I’d just seen this big chunk of camera and thought, well this must be a professional wildlife camera. So when my brother had bought one, a secondhand 5D Mark 1, at the time he was taking pictures of college projects, pictures of the dogs, things like that. I just thought it was amazing that he was able to get these photos out of … I didn’t even know what this was.
Joe Ladrigan: So I started to kind of, you know, picking it up, playing with the dials on it, and asking him a million and one questions about, you know, how are you doing this? And he didn’t even really know himself. He was kind of getting used to what he had picked up. But he really taught me a lot and he showed me something that I’d never seen before. You know, professional camera that you could get professional level photos for fun. And that kind of sparked an interest that I didn’t even know I had. I had no idea that I liked photography. I mean I’d seen pictures, I’d seen wildlife magazines, but I never once looked at it and thought I want to do that or that it would ever be possible to be a job. Instagram wasn’t even a thing. I didn’t have Instagram. It wasn’t something I had known about. I mean I had Bebo maybe a couple of drunken night photos on the phone. That was the extent of my photography skills at the time.
Daryl: And when you first started taking photographs then what was it that fascinated you about it? Or what is it that kept that … because you must have had a huge curiosity and interest.
Joe Ladrigan: Massively, yes.
Daryl: What were you trying to photograph and what else kept you, gave you that kind of interest?
Joe Ladrigan: You know, what really interested me was I had spent my whole life with my head in my phone, like getting off a bus and walking from a bus stop to a job and you’re glued to a phone every single day like most people. I’d walk down streets in Dublin that I’d never even seen before. You know, I just wouldn’t even look up. And what interested me most was that I was seeing areas that I’d grown up in my whole life from a different perspective. And it’s probably the age old cheesiest saying in photography, but it opens your eyes to things that you just weren’t aware of. Like streets in Dublin or rooftops or facades of buildings that I didn’t even care about before. So I was now seeing the whole world that I was in through an entirely different perspective, through the lens of a camera.
Daryl: Did you ever do any training or was it all just learning intuitively and practice, practice, practice?
Joe Ladrigan: I say practice, but I didn’t feel like I was trying to learn anything. It was just so intuitive in terms of I didn’t pick it up and know what I was doing by any means, but I just wanted to learn so badly that I never studied it. I had no interest in … I still have no interest in studying it. I’ve no interest in the technical aspects of the camera. As I said, photography for me is not something I’ve wanted to always know about, I just love that the camera allows me to see it different ways.
Joe Ladrigan: So for me, the way I learned was my brother, friends, like friends I’ve met on Instagram, a couple of YouTube tutorials, but the people who have taught me everything, they are the most important to me because without all of those people I would not be in the position I’m in today. So I’m extremely grateful for all the time people have given me because I’ve asked a million questions, the same question over again and again, and I’m sure people at some point, you know, you should know this already, you have a professional camera. You’re a professional photographer, but there’s no end to the learning.
Daryl: What’s the question you’ve asked the most? How do you do that? How does that look good?
Joe Ladrigan: Pretty much. Or what does this dial do or why is this shot not turning or why is it not in focus? Like simple things, but it’s only when you do it again and again and again that you realize that it is intuitive. It’s muscle memory that comes with this. So, there’s plenty of photographers, I have plenty of friends who are extremely technically minded and they know everything about every camera. And I really admire that. And there are people that I always go to for questions and for advice and I try to work with, because they really help me learn. But for me, like a lot of people I think, I have to pick it up and try it.
Daryl: And then you’d come home, you’d have maybe a thousand photos. How would you select or whittle and pick these are the good ones or the bad ones?
Joe Ladrigan: Oh at the time I thought everything was amazing. At the time I was like, you know, I’m basically a professional now. I was convinced I could open a gallery with these photos. And it was only in hindsight when I look back and I realized, I’ve revisited those places since a lot of times and I’ve always looked at the photo and gone I could do that better or I want to get that better. So whittling it down there, it wasn’t even a thing to me. I didn’t take them for any reason. I just took them because I wanted to take them. They weren’t going anywhere. I think I just set up an Instagram page when I got that camera three years ago. And by setting it up, it just forced me to kind of put up a photo and say, here’s my photo.
Joe Ladrigan: And that’s that nerve wracking feeling of you see everyone else’s work and go, well how is mine going to compare? But I didn’t care about the comparison. It wasn’t a competition, it wasn’t my job. It was just fun to share it. And by sharing it, it opened up a lot of doors in terms of Instagram events in Dublin, meeting other people who were at my level. So there was no fear of going and meeting people who were professional photographers. We were all at the same space of starting off together and that really, really helped me get off the ground.
Joe Ladrigan: And I mean I didn’t have anyone. My brother had actually moved away as soon as I picked up the camera. He went to move to Prague for a couple of months. So I had no one to take photos with. So if I had not met these people, I don’t think I’d be in this position today. I’m not the most outgoing person in terms of, I wouldn’t go out and just ask someone on the street to go and take photos with me. So this really, really helped me get off the ground. So I’m very appreciative of all the people I’ve met along the way and they know who they are and I still work with a lot of them to this day.
Daryl: So you started essentially from nothing. At what point did it start to become apparent that, okay, maybe there’s a business in this or maybe there’s something that I can turn into a career. How quickly did that happen? It’s obviously happened over the course of the last three years, which is a relatively short time span. But how soon after you started did you realize there’s something here?
Joe Ladrigan: So when I picked up the camera, my brother had lent me that camera say for a few weeks and he took it with him when he left. So I’d had it for a month. And I said after that I had to buy a camera. I just had to buy any camera just to get it in my hands and just try it. So that was a month after he left. Almost a year to the day I was in the office job that I was in at the time. And I’d been offered a few … you know, would you like to come along and take a couple of shots at this event? It’s unpaid work, or a friend of a friend knows you have a camera. Nothing to quit my job for. But this was a year in that people had seen the Instagram page that I had set up, you know-
Daryl: And it’s all on the base of Instagram because you’re not on any other social media. So this is primarily-
Joe Ladrigan: No, [crosstalk 00:09:18] anything else, you know, no Facebook, LinkedIn, anything like that or websites, and I probably should have, given the nature of the business that I’m in, but that wasn’t important to me. I didn’t want to grow a following. I didn’t want to inspire anyone to take photos. I just wanted somewhere to post it. So a year after setting up an Instagram page, I was getting a lot of notice. I was amazed that people wanted to pay any money for a photo I had taken, given that I’d only had a camera for about a year. And the fact that people were offering me very small paid jobs, but jobs nonetheless, to come and take photos at their event. And I was turning it down because I had a full time job. So for me it didn’t make sense to take a risk for a couple of hundred Euro here and there.
Joe Ladrigan: But a year in of getting these offers and turning them down and saying, no, I can’t make it because I have a job, it began to feel like, you know, I’m obviously doing something right or there’s obviously some interest here in this industry that people are willing to pay for this. And it was slowly in the back of my head I was thinking, you know, maybe, maybe just maybe, this could potentially give me some money. The specific event was an event with Canon cameras themselves where they had a week long behind the scenes with one of their ambassadors coming over. They asked me and a few other photographers would we like to come along, not as a paid job but purely as a, come and hang out, meet Canon, you’re a Canon shooter. And I really, really wanted to go. I didn’t know if it would lead to anything. I just thought this is a really good opportunity. It’s really nice that a camera company of this size are having this social event all on the back of Instagram. And that was through the likes of Birmingham Cameras.
Joe Ladrigan: Getting this introduction to these people was amazing because when that came up and I knew I wanted to be at it, I’d asked my boss at the time, can I have that week off and I just really want to go to this. And of course he pretty much laughed in my face and said, you just started this job. This is a nine to five paid salary job in finance, you can’t take a week off. You don’t have the week’s holidays, but you can’t take a week off to go and take photos. And after chatting with my mother and one or two friends and they said, you know, this is a really good opportunity potentially, you should try going. And I kind of knew I had to take some sort of leap, and it was with the help and the encouragement of those people that I went in and had the conversation, a very awkward conversation of I need to quit my job today.
Joe Ladrigan: And I remember my boss, very much over the, over the table looking at me saying, are you serious? You’ve only just got this, we’ve given you this job over other candidates. We interviewed only a few months ago. You didn’t have any indication you were going to quit on the spot. And he said, well, you’re going to have to work your notice. And I said, no, I will, but after I get back. I’ll work the notice. And he couldn’t get over what I was doing and I didn’t even know what I was doing. I was shaking at the time at the desk and he basically told me, pack up your computer, pack up your desk, and just go, don’t come back.
Daryl: Personally, you spoke about the fact that you were very unhappy in the previous job as a lot of people are. How has it been personally for you, I mean to make the change, but also usually people who are in this industry feel that they had a creative streak all the way along from when they were young and had an interest they kind of nurtured and they managed to turn it into a career. But you didn’t necessarily have that. It was kind of latent. And so how’s it been personally to be able to kind of discover that creativity a little bit later in life?
Joe Ladrigan: It’s been really eye opening to me, as you’d said. And it’s so true because I didn’t have that creative streak in me. It was never something that I thought, you know, one day I’ll do a creative thing. I wasn’t into drawing or painting or anything like that. We were always encouraged by my parents who are extremely supportive of me and my three brothers to do anything we want to do. But you know, we didn’t come from an art family in terms of, you know, we were going to go down that route. So I think I’d resigned myself to the fact that maybe I never would be a creative person. I was just, I was good at a lot of things or average at a lot of things and I could get by.
Joe Ladrigan: So picking up a camera at 27 and realizing that, wow, I really love this, and never having a clue that I really enjoyed it. That was quite surprising. I mean I’d snapped on a few friends’ Polaroid cameras and things like that and as you do on a holiday maybe, but never in a million years did I think that I’d enjoy it so much. It really opened my eyes to the fact that you can find it at any time in your life. And I’ve always been someone who’s willing to give back my time to help people who have the same questions in it because I’m meeting people from the age of 16 to the age of 60 who are in this profession and they all love it as much as each other. So what really strikes me is that it’s never too late to go out and try find that.
Joe Ladrigan: And if I could say that, if anyone could take away anything from any interview I do or any talk I give or any conversation we have is that if I can do this with the limited, very limited knowledge and experience and drive I didn’t have to get into this, if I can make this work, anyone else with a little bit of drive in them can go and do this. And that goes for any creative business I feel. The whole thing, if you’re not going to go out and do something you love, why are you doing it? You know? I’ve always felt that now, you know, I was in jobs that I really hated and it was only when I got out of it I realized it was so much more outside of that small pool I was in.
Joe Ladrigan: So I was always worried about saying it at the beginning. But if anyone was thinking of quitting a job to pursue something they want to do, go after it 100%. At the start I’d say no, that would have been so risky. But you can always go backwards. That desk job will always be waiting for you. If there’s something you’re even a tiny bit passionate about, go after it 110%. Like it doesn’t come along that often.
Daryl: And your success is … I mean it’s no accident, you clearly have talent. There’s clearly something about your photographs that resonate with people that people like and that your success has been built on that basis. What do you think it is or do you think it’s possible to put your finger on what it is about your photographs that people like or that have contributed to your success? Because every artist has a style to a certain extent.
Joe Ladrigan: I really don’t think that my photos are any better than anyone else’s. I don’t think I’m a particularly talented photographer or anything like that. I really believe and hands down can attribute most of my success to the people around me and the people who’ve really helped me along the way. Even to this day, there’s so many things about this that I don’t know and there’s so many things I’m still learning. I think if I had to put my finger on one thing that I feel benefits me a lot in this is I like to think I’m a personable person. I like to think I’m open with people when I don’t know something. When I do know something, I’m always willing to share the work with people, to share my time with people, you know? And really if it’s a client, if I can help that client in a genuine way.
Joe Ladrigan: I didn’t get into this to make money. I’m not driven financially at all. If I was, I’d still be in finance if that was my goal, to do this. My goal is genuinely to be happy in what I’m doing. And I’d like to think that comes across to the clients I work with, the people I work with and the people that I surround myself with. So for me, I’ve seen a lot of success in the networking side of it. It’s opened a lot of doors. I know I must be somewhat good at what I do to get the work, but I’ve never gone into a job or to a client meeting and thought pick me because I’m the best. I’ve no interest in being the best at what I do. I just want to enjoy what I do. And I think that comes across and maybe that helps with the success of what I’m doing.
Daryl: And leaving aside the client relationships, which are obviously important, how important is that personal approach in terms of photography? So if you’re doing a portrait photography or group or a band, to have that relationship and how does that improve the outcomes that you’re getting in terms of photographs?
Joe Ladrigan: I think like in any business, you can have an extremely technical person who knows everything about what they’re doing. But if they can’t translate that to a client or to a model or a family or whatever it is, it means nothing. So if you can’t connect and show someone what you’re trying to achieve or break it down and say, “well, this is what you want to do or what we want to achieve together,” there’s really no use in knowing everything if you can’t say it in a clear manner. So being able to put that across to someone, to make you feel at ease if we’re doing a portrait shoot, I never want a client or anyone for that matter to feel like they’re stressed out on a shoot. I would never go into someone and be stressed at myself because if I’m like that, that trickles down to the clients. That trickles down to the whole field of what’s going on. If you can’t enjoy what you’re doing, you know, why are you doing it?
Joe Ladrigan: So being able to make it comfortable for me, most importantly, if that’s comfortable for me, then I want everyone else around me to enjoy working with me, working alongside me. I don’t want to be anyone’s boss. I just want to have a good relationship with the people I work with. And I’m always welcome to hearing if a model doesn’t like how they’re shooting or how they’re posing, you know, tell me what you want to change. And that’s what gets the best results is you need to be flexible in this business. If you’re someone coming into it thinking I know everything or it has to be my way, you’re going to very soon realize there’s no black and white in this industry. It’s not, it’s not a balance sheet in a bank. It doesn’t add up a certain way. It can change on the spot. And if you’re not willing to go with that or be open to that change, then I don’t think it’s a business for people like that. It has really opened my eyes to just listening to people. And that’s really helped I think.
Daryl: On the social media side. So certainly in the initial stages and perhaps today, like your success was built initially around Instagram and you’ve garnered a pretty large following pretty quickly. So as we [inaudible 00:18:57] about 26,000 followers, which is not nothing by any means. But what’s your take on social media? Because you don’t use social media outside of that. There’s no website, there’s no LinkedIn, as you’ve mentioned, there’s no Facebook. So what’s your feeling around social media?
Joe Ladrigan: I think it’s a necessary evil is if I could describe it. And I say this to a lot of people and they say, “well, how can you say that? You’ve built your business on the back of this.” And I have, that’s very true. Without Instagram I wouldn’t have a business and I’m very grateful and I understand that. But at the same time, I think people are way too caught up in what those numbers mean. There’s so many people that think when you get to a certain number and not even the number I’m on, but you know, you get to a million followers or 500,000 followers, everything is free or you travel for free or … those numbers really mean nothing. It’s the people behind the accounts is what is really doing the work and driving it.
Joe Ladrigan: So for me, like anyone at the start, I think I was caught up in, you know, I want to get some likes on this photo or if I put this up and it doesn’t get likes, is it a bad photo? Did I do something wrong? We have this, it’s the extrinsic value that we put on our things that we feel is important to ourselves. But when you step back and you realize what you’re doing is good work and you’re putting it out, you’re taking it because you wanted to take it, or more importantly, if your client is happy with what you’re doing, that’s enough validation. You don’t need strangers online who … likes don’t pay the bills. So if they did, we’d be very rich, and that’s not the case.
Joe Ladrigan: And anyone who’s doing this full time understands very quickly that a social media following opens doors. But if there’s nothing behind that account, that page, that person, you’re not going to get any further than that. You might get a few free things sent to you every now and again. But I want this to be a full-time business. I want longevity in my career and my company. And for me, social media is something that is a necessity. But if Instagram fell apart tomorrow and I lost every single follower on that platform, I have a successful business outside of that. I have good relationships with my clients.
Joe Ladrigan: So I post because I think it’s nice to update people and do those things. But I don’t worry about it. I think I don’t look at it as a competition because everyone gets into this thinking, well, there’s 500,000 photographers out there, there’s a million people with this camera and traveling to better locations than I’ve ever been to. And if you look at that, you’ll be disappointed every single day because there’s always someone better, someone bigger, someone better looking.
Joe Ladrigan: So I’ve stopped looking at it as a competition, instead as a massive collaboration platform. If I want to work with someone, I reach out to them. Maybe I can’t get that person. Maybe I get a friend of theirs. I’ve got to work with so many companies because of just a nice friendly email or getting in touch with someone who works there and finding out why they want to work for this company. Actually getting to know the person behind the accounts. So for me, social media is just a really nice way of meeting more people. But I don’t think you’re actually being social just by being on social media. So I think people need to step back and turn off the phone.
Daryl: And put it in context.
Joe Ladrigan: Yeah, absolutely.
Daryl: And would there ever be … you’re working in photography, obviously visual medium. Would there be a natural progression for you to work in video? Is that something that you’ve done or something that you’re potentially interested in or [crosstalk 00:22:10]
Joe Ladrigan: It’s funny you say it. So when I started with a camera, picking up just to take photos, I thought all I could ever do was photography. Because you know, maybe I love this and this is all I ever want to do. Now at the moment the split is probably 70/30 video for me. So I’ve moved massively into video. Now it’s very small for my video. I’m not doing TV productions or anything like that, you know, DSLR social media type content for brands. But it shifted rapidly in the past like three years since I picked up a camera. The three years in terms of tech is probably a very long time. It changes a lot, but I had no idea that I would get into A, photography, and B, videography. So I’m finding myself having to learn a whole new skillset all over again.
Joe Ladrigan: But I love the fact that I know nothing about this, that it’s a new medium for me to get into. It’s an exciting platform to go into and I do believe as much as photography is always going to be needed, there is a natural transition now from the client’s side that they want quick consumable content and photos are almost too quick. We’re browsing through them. We’re not even liking them. I’m looking at some of the best photos in the world every day on Instagram and I’m maybe giving them two seconds and I’m scrolling through it. So video now is the medium that clients want to capture your attention with. And I feel that if I can’t transition to that, or at least offer that to my clients, then I’m going to fall behind. Which is crazy to say because I’ve only been in it for two years full time really. And to think it’s already becoming somewhat of an obsolete medium that I need to upgrade what I’m doing. But that’s exciting. It keeps you on your toes.
Daryl: And it’s interesting because as we go to tape and we had Apple do its annual launch and we have the iPro 11 and you know we’re in a very interesting time technology-wise. So you’ve got the iPhone pro 11, three lenses, 800 engineers worked on it, it does 5 trillion computations per second if you can understand that. So I suppose my question for you is what’s the difference for you between using a standard manual, bulky DSLR and using a smartphone?
Joe Ladrigan: I think there’ll always be that marketability of a phone. You know, it’s always in your pocket. You can always take a photo. What I’ve found, because I was using a phone at the start, like anyone, I like snapping a picture when I had the camera, it made sense. But as a photographer, anyone can take a photo. I’m happy to say that you can give anyone a camera and even a phone camera and they can take a photo. That’s a given. It’s what you’re planning on doing with the photos after. For me, I have thousands of photos that sit on a phone and they never see the light of day. They don’t go anywhere. You can’t find them when you need to. It’s convenient, but I don’t feel it’s convenient enough for me that if I’m going to go out with the camera, I know I’m going to be shooting something. I’m categorizing it, I’m editing it. I’m making a portfolio out of it.
Daryl: So it focuses your attention.
Joe Ladrigan: Yeah. It makes me actually pick it up and look at it in terms of what am I trying to capture. I think you can just blindly snap away on a phone. I mean, we all go on holiday and we take a hundred photos. I never use those photos again. So if you’re someone who’s doing it casually, you know a phone is fine, you can get away with a phone on social media if that’s all you want to update for. Are the cameras good enough to shoot photos with for a photographer? I’m sure they are. I’m sure you can get away with your social media posting, but I think any professional or semiprofessional photographer will tell you, you can’t start printing up these photos. As soon as the client wants this for web use and things like that, you’re going to have its limitations. And I think the phone companies are very smart in the way they’re saying, well you know, have a professional camera in your pocket.
Joe Ladrigan: There’s always going to be a market for that though with those clientele. Me, I like having the camera in my hand. It’s a feeling of a solid piece of kit that I know I can bounce off the ground. It can take a knocking and take a tumble. We all worry too much when we drop our phone out of our pocket. You know? I don’t have a worry like that with a camera. I want to use it. It’s not a special piece of equipment for me. It’s not something that I bought to put on a shelf and it’s worth a lot of money. It’s a tool to do what I need to do, and if it breaks, so be it. It’s just the tool to take the photo. There’s no sentimental value and I think people are attached to their phones in that way. I like that there’s no distractions on a camera. There’s no social media or anything.
Daryl: Yeah, and I think that’s actually quite interesting is the point that if you take a photo, it’s just one of a million things you can do on your phone. Whereas if you just have a camera with you, a DSLR or whatever type of, you know, [inaudible 00:26:36] whatever it is, the emphasis is just on, okay, this is the thing I have. The only thing I’m doing with this is taking a photograph. So it really focuses your attention on one simple thing, not the uploading, not the captioning or anything. It’s just like, let’s just keep focused on one thing and do it really well.
Joe Ladrigan: That’s the beauty of though, isn’t it? Because you know you’re looking through a lens or a viewfinder and you’re looking at something that you want to capture. I don’t want to capture that and then all of a sudden get 20 notifications or forget about the photo. If I’m going to look at something and take a picture of it, it must mean something to me. No longer do I snap for the fun of it just because I can. If there’s no meaning behind it for me now, there’s going to be no meaning for someone else. So yeah, the camera and the lack of distractions is what I love about photography. So yeah, if I could get rid of my phone entirely, I absolutely would. It’s an unneeded necessity at this point for me, but it’s part of it.
Daryl: And one question we ask everybody we interview is, and I think it’s pretty obvious what the answer is going to be in your case, is killer kit, which is the piece of essential software or hardware that you couldn’t do without. I think I might know the answer this time.
Joe Ladrigan: Yeah. I mean if you’re asking me what the one thing I could bring on a shoot now, I mean I think it’s a very obvious answer for me to say a camera. I’m a photographer, I’m a videographer. But being honest, I think if I had to pick one thing that I could take on a shoot no matter where it was, maybe outdoors because it’s what I try to shoot a lot of now, might even be a drone at the moment. And I never thought I would. It was something that, again, I didn’t think I’d even get into, but it’s adding more flexibility to something photographers never had a few years ago.
Joe Ladrigan: So what I love is that it’s changing so rapidly. Three years ago, I laughed at drones. A friend of mine had mentioned, I thought this is a toy that will never take off. No one is going to be flying drones, you know, this is a military thing or it’s a gimmick you can buy for 20 Euro or whatever it was. And now I can’t get over how much I use it for my business. So one piece of kit. Yeah, probably my camera first off. But you know, if I was really, really stuck, I’m going to say a drone is very close second now.
Daryl: Very good. So final thing then is everybody we interview, we ask them, this is essentially a podcast series about people in the creative industry, all aspects, visual, audio, video, every side. Who do you think we should interview next?
Joe Ladrigan: Alex Hutchinson. He’s a fashion photographer. He’s in London at the moment, but he was based out of Dublin and the reason he pops into my head straight away is that he is someone that I look up to in this industry and I met early on when I got into this. In my opinion, one of the best, if not the best fashion photographer in Ireland at the moment, and just a really down to earth guy, really knows his stuff about the industry, about what he does, why he does it, how he does it, and really willing to give back his time and explaining it. He showed me a lot, even probably without even knowing, he showed me a lot of what he does and I’ve taken a lot from him, but he’s just a really interesting guy who would be nice to talk to, really give you an insight into that side of the world or the fashion world.
Daryl: What makes him stand out as a fashion photographer do you think?
Joe Ladrigan: I think his consistency for me, when I see a photo, I know it’s his photo. There’s a million fashion photos out there and I can’t say I go through them all, but in terms of Irish fashion photography, when I’m … and I do follow a lot of people. When I see a photo, I know it’s his style of photo and he goes out of the way to keep that look across his work to the point where you can pick it out and say, I know he’s done this, I know the effort he’s put into this shoot and every single shot is carefully crafted. He doesn’t just shoot for fun. So that comes across in the images. So for me that’s what it stands out and that’s why I would say he is someone that I would look to and say, you know, if I can emulate that in my own style and have that sort of strong consistency across the work, it’s going to generate success. And I look at the success he’s had and so it inspires me to learn more about what I do.
Daryl: Joe Ladrigan, I want to thank you. It’s actually an … you mentioned the word inspiring there. It’s actually an inspiring story. I think the idea, I mean God knows there are plenty of people who are working in jobs that they don’t like and who probably have some creative aspirations, be it for photography, videography, or any of the creative arts. And I think to hear your story is just a fabulous kind of role model and the fact that you’re … I think just your whole approach and the fact that you’re willing to pay it back and also help other people. I think it’s just been a fabulous story and it’s brilliant to speak today and thank you very much.
Joe Ladrigan: Well, thank you very much for having me. I think as I said, I’m constantly inspired by a lot of people and I’d like to be able to give some of that back. So thank you very much for having me on to share it, and if anyone has any questions at all, please feel free to reach out to me anytime.