Florida based photographer, Maysa Askar who recently received her degree in photography told us the story behind her career; from what motivates her until what’s on her camera bag. Check out Gabby’s interview with Maysa below for our #15 issue!
What does photography mean to you?
What photography means to me is capturing moments that bring some sort of happiness or inspiration to others. In my case, when I’m photographing concerts, I feel that I’m making some boy or girl happy by capturing their once in a lifetime favorite moment. It also influences me to constantly create new art that hopefully inspires someone else to do the same.
At what moment did you realize that you wanted to make a career out of photography?
Probably when I photographed one of the last hometown shows of VersaEmerge before they blew up in May 2010. They played at this beat up local venue called Ground Control and a friend of mine snuck me backstage to photograph the show. I’ve always been in front of the stage at every show I attended but I feel like if you’re watching from the back of the stage, you get to see everything; the crowd’s facial expressions when the band steps onto the stage, interaction between the members and the fans, how the whole room transitions from patiently waiting in silence to moving on their feet within a second. This show was also during the last month of high school for me and it kind of hit me that I needed to grow up and figure out what I wanted to do. This was one of the many shows that made me decide that I needed to make photography permanent in my life.
What motivates you to keep taking photographs?
I actually keep a book filled with images by other photographers that I find really inspiring and I’ll just flip through it for any new editing techniques or ideas. Before when photography was more of a hobby and I was just starting out, I’d have days where I found my work to be nothing special and just stop shooting for a bit. I can’t do that now since I’m trying to make it my full time career. So when I’m not motivated enough to pick up my camera, I’ll do small things that will spark inspiration for me again. For example, instead of shooting every show that comes to town, I’ll skip photographing one and actually just watch the show. I started (music) photography for the love I have for music so I’ll go back to the start of it all to feel motivated again. I’ll also just flip through my inspirational book and think about how I’m wasting time looking at images when I can be making them myself.
Who are some photographers you admire? Have they influenced your work?Tom Barnes, Levi Macdonald, Adam Elmakias, and Jered Scott. I’ve also become great friends with a few which is always awesome: Brittni Willie, Joe Lemke, Tanya Gelman, Jenna Ross, Cara Bahniuk, Jay Obyrne, Lexie Alley, Matt Vogel, Matt Burke, the list goes on. They’ve all definitely influenced my work in some way. They’ve inspired me to not be afraid of contrast, play around with color, discover new angles, and just make images that are completely different from the norm.
What did you study when you were in college?
Photography! I actually have my AS degree in it. I studied a lot about lighting and tons about editing. I would complete my Bachelor’s but after being out of college for about 5 or 6 months and traveling quite a bit, you almost learn as much on the road than you do in school.
What music festival do you look forward to every year and why?
I would definitely say Warped Tour but I attended Riot Fest this year for the first time ever and it was probably the most fun I’ve ever had at a festival in my whole life. I was surrounded by friends from all over the country, so many incredible bands from different genres were playing, the location was beautiful, and overall it was just an amazing experience. Warped Tour would definitely be my number one favorite if I attended more than just a couple of dates. (hint hint)
What is in your camera bag?
Canon 5d Mark ii, 50mm f/1.4, 35L f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8, and a 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye. (Canon 40d as a backup)
On your tumblr you said “I just wanna photograph all over the world, yo.” So, if you could photograph anywhere you wanted where would you go and why?
So maaaany places. The UK for the gloomy weather (best natural lighting), Colorado for the mountains, and after doing a bit of research on this place (thanks to Tumblr), Aokigahara. It’s located in Japan and it’s known to be the “sea of trees”.
Do you have any advice to give out to photographers just starting out?
Keep this in mind when you’re starting out and growing as a photographer: have a good attitude, have fun, take advice from others, avoid bad blood between other photographers, and most importantly: practice, practice, practice.