Tell us a bit more about your background. How did you get started in photography?
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Tell us a bit more about your background. How did you get started in photography?

Right before I went to college, I was really into video. I wasn't a great skateboarder but my buddies were. I remember my grandpa had a Hi8 camera and I asked him if I could borrow it to make skate videos. I was using Windows Movie Maker in the process and I loved it.

I never thought of it as a career, though. My parents are all teachers so I thought 'I'm just going to be a teacher, it's a safe job. I'll never have to worry about getting fired, teachers will always be around.' At the time my girlfriend, who is now my wife, knew I wasn't really into what I was studying in school. She told me 'I'd rather have you do something that you love than have a super-safe job that you hate.'

That was a big moment of freedom for me. I didn't know what my career was going to look like but I knew I was interested in video. I changed schools and started taking an editing class. They handed us cameras, I think I got a Canon XL and started in with that.

Fast-forward to 2007, I got the iPhone when it came out. I remember thinking 'this thing's pretty impressive for a camera phone.' I decided to start taking a picture every day and practice my eye for composition. This was purely for video reasons, not for photography.

A screenshot of the iPhone photography group Dallas was a part of on Flickr.

Then I started getting into photography and I uploaded my work to Flickr. That is where I found a community for iPhone Photography which, at the time, was really weird to outsiders. I would share my iPhone shots to other groups and people would tell me 'that's not real photography. You're not using a real camera.' Our group was definitely niche and we felt like a band of rebels that were trying to push the camera as far as we could.

What's interesting about that is now it's not weird at all to take a good photo with your phone. You even see Apple put 'Shot on iPhone' on their billboards. But I remember getting made fun of for that on Flickr at first. I got really into photography and that same iPhone Photography community introduced me to Instagram when it first came out. I was one of the first 5,000 users and the community there is what inspired me to keep pursuing photography.