IN THE SPOTLIGHT WITH @___LIZARDKING___
George, 14 - Kansas City, MO
1. What equipment do you shoot with, and what software do you use for post-processing?
About 6 months ago I upgraded from a Nikon D3300 to a Canon 5d mark IV, and I'm very happy with that decision because the full frame sensor now allows me a lot more opportunity in low light spots. The lens I use in all my abandoned photos is a sigma 12-24 F4 art which I really love because the extremely wide angle allows me to get unique angles and really show how big some places can be. I use a Yomei carbon fiber tripod as well, and I also have a sigma 50mm F/1.4 which i use primarily for portraits. For editing, I use Adobe Lightroom!
2. How long have you been into photography and what got you started?
I really got into photography from exploring around the city with my dad and taking photos of the weird stuff I'd see with my phone. I started realizing that taking photos and exploring stuff I wasn't normally exposed to was something i really enjoyed, so for my 12th birthday in 2015 I got my first camera, A nikon D3300.
3. Do you have a favorite photo that you’ve taken?
Yes! Well i have 2, actually. The first one was a photo I took of a beautiful pool in an abandoned skyscraper in downtown Kansas City. I really like the angle i got of it and it always interests me every time I look at it. My other favorite photo I've taken was of an Abandoned church with beautiful woodwork and I think the architecture in it is amazing.
4. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen when shooting an abandoned location?
I have definitely seen a lot of crazy things exploring I never expected myself to see. I've only had a few instances where I have been caught but they have all ended up going well. I've also had my fair share of running into people such as scrappers or homeless people but they have all been calm for the most part, especially if you let them know you are just taking photos. I think my craziest encounter would have to be being chased out of a school by 3 very large dogs or running into 2 seemingly calm but still startling pitbulls that were in a room of an abandoned Bible College, but luckily both ended up fine!
5. Are people surprised when they find out how old you are, considering how good your work is?
I think a lot of people are surprised not necessarily by the photos I take but more the fact that a kid would be going into Abandoned buildings for enjoyment. I have definitely had people surprised I take photos at my age but I think thats just because it's not all that popular within my age group, but hopefully that changes.
6. What do your parents think of you going exploring at such a young age?
My dad actually takes me exploring a lot of the time! He isn't as big into photos or social media, but he loves old buildings and a good adventure! I probably would not be doing this interview right now if it weren't for my dad as a matter of fact. My mom also knows I explore and she definitely isn't fond of it, but she also doesn't mind. She just prefers not to hear about it hahaha.
7. What’s your favorite part about exploring abandoned buildings?
I'm a very curious person, so when I see a place that looks like people just left it, I'm always curious to figure out why. I love looking at places and imagining what it would have been like when it was active. But overall my favorite part is just the rush it can give you and how you never know what is going to happen.
8. How would you describe your style?
I'd say my style is trying to have a lot of detail in one photo, so you can look at it for a while and not get bored of it. I also like to keep a fair amount of color in my photos to make them pop, but not too much color, just a good balance.
9. Who/what are your biggest influences?
There are honestly way too many to count, every photographer I follow on Instagram definitely motivates me, and each one has a really unique style and it is very hard to compare them, but I'll name just a few off the top of my head! @Matchupee @Sloppystick @babybulll @Frantastic420 @svvvk @benjihultsch @_bword @Pimpmycamel @liam_tansey @stormfritzphotography, @n.cwade, and many many more.
10. What do you do besides photography?
I also really love climbing, which often helps with exploring. I also love diving, swimming, hiking, biking, eating food, and playing Xbox!
11. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about photography/exploring so far, and what would be your best piece of advise for someone your age just starting out?
If I were talking to someone who is interested in exploring, the first thing I would tell them is to do their research and understand what they are doing. Knowing how to be respectful of a spot makes it not only easier for you but easier for everybody else who wishes to explore it. It is also important to know the inherent risks that exploring abandoned buildings possesses and to know what is safe enough to do and not. Exploring can push you out of your comfort zone which is a great thing but it's also good to know what has too high of a risk and not as much of a reward. This is a personal choice but I'd also recommend not carrying anything that could turn a simple trespassing ticket if you are caught into a felony, and in the case you are caught, being respectful and informing whoever catches you that you are simply taking photos can go a long away, at least in my case.
12. Where do you hope to go next?
In terms of exploring, my current list of places I wanna go are Philly, NYC, St. Louis, and anywhere in Europe
13. Where can people find out more about you and/or follow your work?
My work can be found on my instagram @__lizardking__!
IN THE SPOTLIGHT WITH @PIMPMYCAMEL
1. Habibi, what is your name and where are you from?
-My name is Ramy and I was born and raised in New York City.
2. What is your current weapon (camera) of choice?
-I shoot with a Canon 6D
3. So what made you get into photography?
-Three years ago I started exploring abandoned buildings. At first I was exploring for the thrill. Slowly I started taking pictures with my iphone and posting it on instagram. I got a lot of positive feedback and most were advising me to buy a professional camera. The love for photography has always been instilled in me. I always found myself playing with my phone camera nonstop taking pictures of random things.
4. Do you have a specific lens that's your favorite to shoot with?
-Canon 16-35mm it's one of the most versatile lenses I have ever used and I highly recommend it now that the L3 is out.
5. What are your top 3 favorite locations that you have shot?
-Abandoned Train Trollies
6. Aside from shooting, what are some of your other hobbies?
-Playing Video Games
7. So word on the streets is that you own a camel, is this true?
-Lmfao it is indeed true... I own a camel in Egypt!!!
8. Speaking of Egypt, I remember seeing your story of a crazy mansion you explored out there. Tell us about that experience.
-It was a old home in Egypt called Baron Palace and the history behind it made me fall in love with the idea of exploring it. I remember doing a massive amount of research and also hitting up local explorers to find out more information about the Baron Palace & if it's possible to explore it. Everyone I asked literally told me that it wasn't possible because the palace is protected by the government. After talking to a few higher ups and pulling a few strings I managed to tour the beautiful palace. It was a time I will never forget. The dark history combined with great memories makes this place one of the most favorite explores of all time.
9. What's your scariest moment you've had in photography yet?
-Getting chased out of a abandoned building by security & police lmao.
10. If you could go to any location in the world tomorrow to shoot, where would it be?
-I would definitely choose Japan. They have some of the most epic abandoned structures in the world.
11. Do you ever lose interest in photography, and if so, what are some thing's that motivate you to shoot again?
-I never really lose interest in photography but I do find myself losing confidence in my work. It's something that I have really been trying to work on as a photographer.
12. Are there any photographers that you look up to or inspire you?
13. Any advice for the younger photographer/ urban explorers out there?
-Always be one step ahead creatively and don't worry about other photographers / urban explorers and what they have to say. Try to network and shoot with others ever opportunity you get without getting involved in any drama. At the end of the day photography is a competition and you have to go out there and bust your ass if you want to make a name for yourself.