Location: Brooklyn, New York
Adam Amengual was born in Queens, NY and raised on the North Shore of Massachusetts. His father Angelo gave him his first camera at 12, and he started documenting his friends and his surroundings. After studying the basics of photography in high school he continued his photographic education at both Massachusetts College of Art and Parsons School of Design. Amengual’s clients include The U.S. State Department via Lipman Hearne, Inc. Magazine, Time Out New York, Men’s Health, New York Magazine, Juxtapoz Magazine, Sony BMG, NDLON, Nobu and Wieden+Kennedy NYC.
Yes, I studied at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston and graduated in 2003. I also attended Parsons for the second semester of my junior year through an exchange program.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned either from a teacher or mentor?
I guess I have two. Neil Selkirk, a professor I had at Parsons and whom I later assisted, once told me that it’s important to take pictures every day. I try to stay true to that lesson. Laura McPhee, one of my professors at MassArt, told me during the final critique of my senior year that being a photographer is very hard, and that’s something I can’t deny.
What was your first photography job?
Technically, my first job was working at a one-hour lab in Boston during college. My first commissioned gig was shooting a small advertising campaign for a caterer in 2002 while I was still in school. I think the ad ran 2×2 inches. It was pretty cheesy, but I was really excited at the time.
What advice would you give to a photographer who is still in school?
It can take a lot of time to develop a style and voice. Some people find it very quickly. Don’t be discouraged by them. If you keep taking pictures, it will come. Also, read Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland.
What inspires you about photography?
I really like the idea that photography can be so immediate, both in its creation and its impact on the viewer. Photography has many similarities to film and video, but the major difference is the way a single image can strike the viewer like lightning. A good film or documentary takes a bit longer to hit you.
What makes you go out and shoot?
I really enjoy being visually creative. If I weren’t a photographer, I would probably be a designer of some sort, but what I like most about photography is how it’s a good excuse to explore and meet people. Simply put, I really like just picking things that I’m interested in and trying to make pictures out of them. For my everyday carry, I use the Sony Alpha NEX-7.
What do you like best about the whole process?
I love making successful images, pictures that I’m proud of or that other people are really drawn to. But at the end of the day, my favorite part of photography is all the life experiences it has brought me. From assisting to shooting, the people I’ve met and the places I’ve seen have been transformative. I love shooting portraits for many reasons, but in a lot of ways, it’s just an excuse for me to talk to a stranger and hear their story.
How long have you been shooting?
I was given my first manual camera at 14, so about 17 years. I dedicated my life to being a photographer at about 19.
What do you think it takes to be successful in today’s challenging and competitive marketplace?
I think the most important thing t
o keep in mind is that you need to be the full package these days. This doesn’t mean that you should be shooting 10 different styles of photography wrapped into one. I think that you should be personable, knowledgeable and deliver some sort of talent and voice with your work.
See more of Adam Amengual’s photography at www.adamamengual.com.