Just as we’ve found that there are many routes into a career in photography, and it’s not necessary to formally study photography; there are many people who do decide to take a photography degree, and there are many careers open to those who wish to make photography their career. Philadelphia based photographer Jared Gruenwald is one of those who chose to specialize in photography.
He told us how he landed some aspirational jobs shooting professional tennis, and what it’s like to be a working photographer in the fifth largest city in the US.
With the City of Brotherly Love as a beautiful, and vibrant backdrop, Jared finds the time to explore it and shoot some wonderful street photography too.
Jared has been a long term user of PortraitPro, and we love his work, so we were very happy that he agreed to tell us his story so far.
PortraitPro: Did you study photography at university?
Jared Gruenwald: I did. I have a degree in journalism with a specific concentration in photography for the mass media from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
PortraitPro: How did you get started in the world of editorial and documentary photography?
Jared Gruenwald: My high school had a wonderful photography department complete with an arsenal of Pentax K1000’s, an unlimited film and paper supply, and access to a darkroom whenever I had free time. This freedom allowed me to fully invest all my creative efforts into my photographic endeavors. I started shooting anyone and everyone as well as everything around me and began to develop a style that lent well to documentary work. I enrolled at Temple University with the initial intention of studying biology, zoology, or some other ology but realized pretty early on it wasn’t for me. This may have had something to do with discovering Temple’s darkroom and photojournalism major. Without a whole lot of hesitation I switched over and haven’t looked back.
Of course as I was completing my major degree requirements the newspaper world was disintegrating and everyone around me was telling me to bail, as I wouldn’t have a future in the industry. But as luck would have it I landed a full time staff position shooting for a paper in Philly a few months after graduating. That just goes to show, follow your heart, passions, dreams and goals and blow off those who try to squash all that.
PortraitPro: What is the most interesting thing you can tell us about your work?
Jared Gruenwald: No one else can do exactly what I do. Just as I can’t do exactly what anyone else does. That’s what I love and find most interesting about any creative field; Varied interpretations.
PortraitPro: What inspires you to do what you do?
Jared Gruenwald: Oh, the standard cliché that my surroundings inspire me. But that’s as honest an answer as I can give. I live in the same world as everyone else but I also live in my own little world and I feel my inspiration comes from the melding of the two and the photos I create represent that. I don’t really know what others see when they look upon the same scene as me just as they don’t know what I see. I want to show them what I see then we can discuss, compare and contrast. That conversation is what inspires me.
PortraitPro: You seem to have a variety of photography related jobs. Are these concurrent? Could you tell us about the demands of working for multiple outlets concurrently? Does it get hard to balance deadlines for a variety of employers?
Jared Gruenwald: I’ve never really been one to limit what I do creatively. I like to keep challenging myself. If I only shoot tennis I’ll be the best at shooting tennis but when it comes to portraiture or street work I may be inadequate. Obviously one could argue “well why not master one field instead of simply being competent in many?” Well I’ve met dozens of veteran photographers who did just that and after decades working in only one field often express regret.
It can be demanding working numerous concurrent jobs, but you simply keep to a schedule and mark everything down on a calendar and it all works out. It can be quite stressful though when you have a day that begins at 7 and ends at 7 and you have four or five different jobs within that span.
Working for a newspaper early on in my career really prepared me for this though as there would be days when I’d have 5 assignments and there was no excuse for missing any of them. I’m lucky enough to have a fairly flexible schedule so it’s not terribly difficult to make it all work. I also take on a variety of non-photo related jobs like teaching terrarium classes because sometimes it helps to take a step back and try something completely different.
Serena Williams – US Open 2011 Women’s singles Final
PortraitPro: How did you get in to the pro tennis circuit?
Jared Gruenwald: I was living in Brooklyn at the time. It was late August 2009 and the city was sweltering. I was dead broke, couldn’t find much work as the recession was in full swing and as everyone knows you can’t throw a rock in any direction without hitting a pro photographer in NYC. The whole small fish BIG pond thing was a serious reality.
I was at the end of a long day scouring the Internet for jobs. Photo jobs, cleaning jobs, cooking jobs, any job… and I see an ad on craigslist asking for a photographer with sports experience that owns pro equipment and speaks French. Well I met two of the three requirements (which do you feel I fell short on?) and decided to respond. I wrote a pretty lengthy cover letter, included my resume and a link to my website.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in action at the 2012 Wimbledon Tennis Tournament
Not too long after I received a phone call from a stranger inquiring about a craigslist ad I responded to. The voice on the other end asked me a variety of questions about my background shooting sports and after a while I interrupted and asked “Wait, is this a job to photograph the US Open?” (the tennis one not golf. I actually worked as a gopher for the Star Ledger [a New Jersey] newspaper, sports photo team during the Golf US Open a few years prior).
The voice on the other end confirmed my assumptions and after chatting a bit more I was hired. After our three weeks together shooting the 2009 US Open Tennis Tournament came to an end, the man who hired me nonchalantly asked: “So do you have a passport?” and thus I ended up as a mainstay on the pro tennis tour for the next three years. And what an amazing three years it was.
Maria Sharapova – French Open (Roland Garros) – Women’s singles final 2012
Read more here soon, but meanwhile check out Jared’s Website and Facebook page, and why not try out PortraitPro yourself.
Interview with a Pro –Jared Gruenwald– Part 2
Here’s the second half of our interview with Philadelphia based photographer Jared Gruenwald.
Living and working in the often photographed, historical city of Philadelphia provides Jared with some great opportunities for work, and he agreed to share some more of his story with us this week.
PortraitPro: Philadelphia is a beautiful and vibrant city in which to live; does the city inspire your street art work?
Jared Gruenwald: Philadelphia is such an incredibly underrated, forgotten yet vibrant city, full of so much life that it can inspire anyone. I love living here. I truly feel it’s a city where you can make your dreams a reality. It sounds corny and clichéd but I’m doing it right now and so are handfuls of other creative, ambitious people I meet everyday.
One aspect that I feel really lends itself to street photography is the landscape and geography. Philadelphia’s smaller physical stature creates neighborhoods and communities that are insular yet remain close to the cutting edge. Witnessing this disparity is kind of mind blowing and beautiful and makes it hard to put the camera down.
PortraitPro: Is Philadelphia a good location to be based in which to get new work?
Jared Gruenwald: Well this is complicated. While New York is a city full of small fish in a big pond, Philadelphia is full of big fish in a small pond. There are so many talented photographers here but not as many jobs. You have to be willing to travel. Mobility I think is key here. The other side of it though is cost of living expenses are much cheaper here than New York, which is only 90 miles away so you can work in NYC and commute which can prove to be quite fruitful.
PortraitPro: Do you consider yourself to be successful? If so what do you think is the reason for your success?
Jared Gruenwald: Sure. I’m not rolling in money nor am I a household name but I’m still carving out my niche and continue to develop and improve as a photographer. To me this defines success. As long as I’m not stagnant and continue to grow creatively then I feel successful.
PortraitPro: How do you market yourself? What strategies work best for you in obtaining paid work?
Jared Gruenwald: The Internet is an unforgiving void. Obviously I maintain a current website and blog and I use digital marketing tools but I honestly feel I get most of my paid work through first person encounters. It’s much easier to write a potential client or employee off when you don’t actually have the opportunity to meet them in person. A valuable tool I find is setting up personal meetings. Nothing beats being able to shake someone’s hand, look into someone’s eyes, hear someone’s voice, feel their passion. You don’t get that digitally.
PortraitPro: How much of your time is spent in photo editing?
Jared Gruenwald: It depends upon my subject matter. I probably spend most of my time editing portraits. When I’m producing a portrait I’m trying to control every aspect of the shot and take more a creative license with the editing process. I’ll often edit more than one version of each photo, which can be very time consuming. When I’m working on a documentary project my editing becomes much less technical.
PortraitPro: How useful do you find PortraitPro in your work?
Jared Gruenwald: With my background in documentary/sports/street work I never put too much stock in all the crazy Photoshop skills some photographers incorporate into their work. It’s incredible but not really my style. I generally stick with the standard ethical journalistic editing methods when it comes to Photoshop which dictate not using any tools you wouldn’t find standing in front of an enlarger in a darkroom. That being said, some commercial portrait photography jobs I get require a bit more. PortraitProfessional has proven to be an invaluable tool in helping me realize the perfect final image. It’s such a great tool and is an incredibly helpful addition to any portrait photographer’s workflow.
PortraitPro: How do you balance doing work that pays with doing work that inspires and excites you?
Jared Gruenwald: Well as long as it’s photography and I’m not serving up fast food, I’m inspired and excited. Just because the work may not be as large scale as Wimbledon or as interesting as people living off the grid in a small tent city down by a river that doesn’t mean the clients expectations are any lesser. I treat every job, whether it’s self-assigned or I was hired the same. I’m just happy and thankful that I get to do what I love.
PortraitPro: Where can we see more of your work?
Jared Gruenwald: You can see more of my work on my website and on my blog I was recently also in a gallery show in Philadelphia. The Gallery is called Destination Frankford.
Check out Jared’s Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles, or follow him on Instagram.
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|2012年ウィンブルドンテニス大会でのジョー＝ウィルフリード・ツォンガ – 写真 ジェアード・グルエンワルド
Portrait Pro: 編集・ドキュメンタリー写真を始めたきっかけは何ですか？
グルエンワルド氏: 私の通った高校では写真学科があり、Pentax K1000やフィルム、紙、暗室などすべて自由に使えるという素晴らしい特典がありました。
泥のバイク – 写真 ジェアード・グルエンワルド
マリア・シャラポワ – フレンチオープン（ローランドガロ） – 2012年女子シングルス決勝 – 写真 ジェアード・グルエンワルド
グルエンワルド氏: フィラデルフィアはあまり評判はありませんがとても活気のある所です。 フィラデルフィアが大好きです。
Lynchburg Garage – 写真 ジェアード・グルエンワルド
シングルスのポートレート – 写真 ジェアード・グルエンワルド
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