Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Kevin Gilbert - Reality Bytes
After a 20-plus-year career working in the news media, photojournalist Kevin Gilbert traded shooting the real West Wing for the one on TV
The photojournalist's life is tough—long hours, tedious assignments, stiff competition and few opportunities to relax. Kevin Gilbert lived nearly 20 years like that, spending much of that time covering the White House as chief photographer at The Washington Times. Gilbert has definitely earned his new, slightly more relaxing gig.
While Washington D.C. was buried under a foot of snow during our interview, Gilbert was sitting in the Florida sun on the deck of the Queen Mary II, ready to depart for a weeklong photo seminar at sea. This posh lifestyle is afforded by his new position—president and managing partner of the digital consulting company Blue Pixel. Although his assignments may be more relaxed, he hasn't given up documentary photography.
“I call one of my lectures ‘20 Careers in 20 Years,'” says Gilbert. “I went to school to be a photojournalist and I've done everything—from an executive producer on a TV show to a teacher to a wedding photographer to a photojournalist to a television photographer to a reality TV photographer—you name it. But all of it has been with the same path in mind, which is to have fun and shoot pictures. In the past five years, it has been to take all of the knowledge that I have, and the knowledge that all my good friends have, and bring it back to the working professional and to your next-door neighbor.”
Gilbert started Blue Pixel along with a small group of friends in 2001. Now, just four years later, it has matured into a complete source for digital education at all levels.
“Each of us had certain skill sets that we wanted to exploit,” explains Gilbert. “We thought, We don't want to be 65 years old and still shooting pictures for newspapers! So we formed this little company with one mission in mind: to inspire photographers, from consumers up to pros, and educate them on how creative and how exciting digital photography could be.”
Gilbert quickly realized that the key to inspiring photographers was to help them truly understand all aspects of the inner workings of digital photography. He calls this wide-angle view “the digital ecosystem.”
Says Gilbert, “Digital photography is only as good as the person using it, and if the person has any level of frustration or any problem in that digital ecosystem, they're going to have a bad taste in their mouth about digital. It isn't just the cameras; it's the computers and software and printers and all the other steps in between. You have to have that whole digital ecosystem working together to have a great environment for you to be creative and liberated and have fun and be energized.