Photographer Joe Damone found focus upstate.
The 60-year-old said that although he has been in photography for more than 30 years, it was not until he moved to the Andes that he started Joe Damone Photography there. about 15 years.
“I started out doing underwater photography,” he said. “I had some pictures posted…and I was living in Manhattan (as a) musician. It was my career before I moved here, and I still do some music, but it’s 99% photography.
“When I moved here I was a graduate of the New York Institute of Photography, so I started this business,” Damone continued. “There weren’t really any photography businesses, just photographers doing weddings, and there wasn’t much else doing anything else, so I kind of filled that void. .I do all kinds; I consider myself an all-round photographer and don’t really specialize in one style or genre. I do weddings, portraits, headshots, real estate photography, lifestyle and I shoot for the Pure Catskills guide, so that’s it.
The topics, Damone said, are also diverse and far-reaching.
“Only part of my work is in the Andes; in fact, very few,” he said. “I do it all over the region. I’m going to photograph a house in Cooperstown for a real estate agent, so it’s spread out. Most of the weddings are destination weddings, so there are people from Brooklyn, Queens and people from upstate who come to do the weddings in the barn. Probably 90% (of business) is not local.
“But as far as the rest of the work goes,” Damone continued, “it’s all premises or transplants (for) portraits, businesses, insurance companies, telephone companies and Margaretville Hospital. just did portraits of the doctors and staff, so there’s a lot of community work…all within an hour, hour and a half of the Andes.It’s a full time operation.
Damone said he hopes to bring the business closer to home, while expanding its reach and roster.
“About two years ago I started converting my garage into a studio, but it got stuck due to a lack of contractors available to complete the job,” he said. “I would like to finish the studio at the back. That would be great, once things open up and we gradually get back to normal. And I would like more of the same: I really like micro weddings, I would like to develop the portrait business – I think there is a real need for people to have professional portraits, with the social media and websites and personal branding – and real estate photography is going to grow, because real estate is booming. I do the professional photography, virtual tours and floor plans of the property so this is a complete package.
But, Damone said, it’s the people behind the company that make it click.
“I love it,” he said. “It’s extremely difficult, but I really like making great images for people and for myself. You’re trying to photograph people who aren’t used to being photographed and who aren’t models or actors; they’re terrified of being in front of a camera – at least 90% of the people photographed say, “I really hate having my picture taken” because they’ve taken so many bad pictures – so my job is to really… get them to look like they used to. I don’t call that posing, but it’s a challenge.
“You have to have all of your technology together, but also be a director and a comedian and a psychologist,” Damone continued. “There are a lot of things to do to get people relaxed enough to have a good expression and get a good photo. Children are very difficult, especially young children… and I’ve tried to put things on the camera – toys and dolls and all kinds of things to make children laugh – because if you can make them laugh, that’s a very good thing, and you’re trying to grasp that. At the end of the day, people don’t care about the technical stuff, like lighting and focus – that’s obvious if you’re a pro – but what people really react to is the expression and gesture. You have to try to get this somehow.
Although Damone noted that weddings are booked in about a year, he said he has monthly and weekly availability for “the more commercial stuff.”
For more information, visit joedamonephotography.com, find “Joe Damone Photography” on Facebook, or call or text 212-627-5387.