To whom it may concern,
My name is Matt Lange, and I am an addict. I’m addicted to creative work. For the most part that work is in the realm of sports. I’ve covered every major sport for both Louisiana Tech University and LSU. I’ve covered the New Orleans Hornets and Saints alike. I’ve been published by Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports, The Sporting News and Yahoo! Sports. I love what I do in that realm and I can’t see myself ever quitting…
…now that I have gotten that out of the way, I want to talk about shooting and creating outside of your comfort zones. Breaking free and expressing yourself in ways that people don’t expect. Be cutting edge. Do things that take people by surprise and that, in the end, is going to be what will make you successful in this industry and make you happy in life. At least that’s the way I think about it. With all that said, I will talk about two photoshoots that were done in the span of 2009-10 (I think) for a good friend of mine and I want to compare that to the work of one major pop star, Lada Gaga. Here we go:
Before I start, I want you to watch one of, or both of these videos. After, proceed to the next section.
There is absolutely no denying that Lady Gaga is one of, if not the biggest pop star on earth right now. If you can prove otherwise to me, then high-five to you. She has worked her tail off to get where she is at, but something else she has done to help her reach her level is, innovate. Lady Gaga is constantly pushing limits, breaking molds and experimenting in new ways with her visuals that accompany her music. And it’s worked.
The reason I mentioned Lady Gaga was to lead to up and coming fashion designer Jordan Palmer (Jordy Marilyn). When I was in Baton Rouge, I became bored. I needed to shoot something new. I wanted to shoot fashion. I don’t know why, but it just came to me one day. So I hit Facebook. I stumbled across Jordan, shot him an email and it just so happened, he was also looking for a photographer to do some pictures for him. After some back and forth, we finally came across some time to do our shoot. I wish I could have been a fly and the wall for our shoot. At this time it was in my apartment living room, I had one light and a white bed sheet tacked to my wall. Jordan showed up with a model and an arsenal of props ranging from a homemade jacket inspired by Lady Gaga, electric tape and a glitter skull. It was myself, the sports photographer and Jordan, the openly gay, no holds barred, raw fashion designer standing in my living room. And what did we do? We went to work and made history (for us at least). The result was this:
The reason I mention all of this is, by Lady Gaga transforming from Stefani Germanotta into her current persona, she took a risk. She pushed all of the nay sayers to the side, braved a new world and it worked. It opened the eyes of the world. The eyes of people who would have never seen her before. She caught the attention of Jordan, who honestly, if she hadn’t existed, I don’t think he would have found the passion to do what he is trying to do now. He will no doubt be successful. The pictures I took of him have helped him turn the heads and open the eyes of people who probably would not have seen him before. Like Lady Gaga, I don’t see him slowing down at all. And that’s not all that the shoot had an effect on. It effected my career as well. That one shoot in my living room, with the bedsheet tacked to the wall and us just freestyling the shoot lead to this:
Jordan danced at Denise and Jason Galjour’s studio in Baton Rouge, LA (Precision Athletics). He showed Denise the images I took of him and that lead to a call from Denise. She needed pictures of her facilities. But she also wanted portraits of her and Jason in their environment for personal use and wall decoration. That shoot was a huge success. So the next thing you know, I now had amazing fashion, dance and fighting portraits in my portfolio. None of things things could have been achieved had I not decided to break the barrier and do something new. Something that turned heads and had me noticed by people who would not have noticed me before (see a trend here?). People like….
….LSU. I recently edited this video of the Tiger Girls for LSU. The video has 9,500 views on YouTube right now. It will help tremendously in my current solo venture that I am on due to a lay off last year. Oh yeah, the Tiger Girls….coached by Denise at Precision Athletics. AND, she has coached them to be National Champions. See how this works? So in the end, by taking a risk and doing something very new to me a year and a half ago, I now have a solid portfolio, along with a video for LSU that will more than help me get my foot in the doors at LSU and many other schools. Doors that may not have been open before.
I want to encourage everyone reading to do something bold. Talk to people you may not ever think about talking to. Do a project that is a complete 180 from everything you do now. And when you’re doing it, just turn up the music and go with the flow. You never ever ever know what it will do for you or the people you work with. I thank these people with my thoughts every single day. Jordan, Denise, Jason and Lauren at LSU. Because of you, the road ahead for me is brightly lit and the future is not dim at all. It may be for those that crossed me in the past, but that’s a different story . I am proud to call you all friends now! So proud.