There’s no simple way to describe how I got into photography, or the strange and random paths of exploration I found myself exploring. But here it is: beard growing contest. That’s right, I became a photographer (more or less, see above) because of an annual online beard growing competition called Whiskerino in 2005.
Part of the “rules” of Whiskerino was to go from clean shaven at the beginning of November and grow a beard until the end of February, and in order to document that you were in fact growing a beard, each participant must show their beard in the form of an upload photography of your face and beard. Suffice to say, just taking a picture of your face regularly (it wasn’t required daily, but at least weekly or you would be put into the Hall of Shame) would get tedious. To incentivize activity, members could vote on each others beard, and there would be a daily King Beard. Things would get competitive, and people got creative with their photos. And a pattern that began to develop (pun intended) was a love of photography — which is where my expensive passion started to blossom.
I bought a Canon EOS 20D, several lenses, and began using my creativity in a new medium. I was not good in the beginning. But progressively got better over the weeks and months. And by the time the second round of the contest began in 2007 I became more confident and experimental. And in the last month of February, I bought a Captain America costume (mind you, this was in 2007, a year before the first Iron Man movie, before the entire Marvel universe even began!), created a strange motif of elements, and birthed a series I would call “The Everyday Occurrences Of An Aging Superhero”. And it took off.
The series got picked up in all sorts of ways, getting linked and linked and linked all over — Complex, Flavorwire, MyModernMet, etc. I was not expecting such a response. It even spawned the first film short of my friend and director Motke, called “The Once Mighty” (which I co-produced, co-wrote, art directed, and starred in). You can watch it here if you’d like. It’s not bad, but also not great.