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Conversations with Oscar Rendon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Oscar Rendon.

Hi Oscar, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I guess it all started as early of an age as I could remember? Haha. I remember being drawn to art and coloring and cartoons at an early age. School was never my favorite but any time it allowed me to be creative I jumped at the opportunity. Being the son of immigrants a lot of pressure was put on school work but it was never my passion. I would draw little characters and monsters on the sides of my homework or school booklets whenever I was bored in class. Eventually, that love of art evolved into films and photography when I got older. I wanted to be a filmmaker and still do but photography has sort of taken over a lot of my life lately. Photography though sort of fell into my lap. I was working on a digital web series with a friend of mine that we wrote and produced together, a total DIY project and one day they needed a ‘behind the scenes photographer and so I took it upon myself to buy my own camera and just start shooting.

After we wrapped filming the series, I still had that camera but no real project or endeavor moving forward (except for a podcast which is an even longer story that has spawned some interesting stories for some other time.) So I applied as a photographer for Vans Warped Tour and I got it, I was sorta shocked that I got in but who am I to question it. From there on I became a concert photographer, shooting some local bands to national and international artists/bands as well, which is nuts when I sit and think about it. The atmosphere around clubs and music venues was so intoxicating and meeting cool artists and bands made me think that there wasn’t a real outlet for bands or artists that were coming up or who were just below the radar, especially in the St. Louis area so that’s how I got the idea for Off The Record USA. There are magazines and other publications but they have all sort of fallen into only covering mainstream artists.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It’s strange; none of it has been a struggle, at least from my point of view. Is there a ton of money in it at first? Nope! You probably spend more on equipment, gear, software, and website upkeep just to be up to date and visible. But I can honestly say I can’t picture myself doing anything else. The struggle for me was learning that what I had to offer had value.

Many photographers I know and many I don’t will tell you, people under-appreciate us. I know you can take amazing photos now on your phone but there’s a different feeling you get when you’re holding an actual camera and you capture a feeling. I have a lot of pictures from my phone and they’re all moments but they’re not art. The photos I take with my Canon 5D Mark IV that I go through and edit, color correct and color grade.. that’s art. The struggle is sticking with it when you aren’t making money or when your friends or family question if what you’re doing is worth it. If you love it you stick with it, if you love it then it isn’t much of a struggle.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m a photographer, that’s what I do. It’s taken a few years for me to confidently say I am a photographer. I started primarily as a concert photographer and after a few months, I started to get a little bored, I still wasn’t as good as many of my peers but I liked challenging myself so I started shooting with models. You start small of course, with friends or family, which helped a lot but then I started doing more lifestyle shoots, portraiture, and then I met a very free-spirited model who introduced me to Nude Art Photography. From there, I dabbled in Boudoir Photography which was all about lighting and mood, which was another tool in the toolbox. I’m not proud of most things; there’s nothing I can point to and say, “this is my crowning achievement.” I think the last shoot I always do is my best and I have to believe it otherwise, I’m comparing it to another shoot and it isn’t fair to me or the model/clients I’m working with.

As far as what sets me apart from others, well, I’ve shot every style imaginable. From Concert to Micro, portraiture to boudoir, product to landscape and street photography. A lot of professional photographers say to specialize in one of those and be the master of it. I think that’s very narrow-minded. The skills I acquired shooting one style of photography help with another and another. It allows for creative freedom and it humbles me to know I’m not the absolute best at one style but it only means I can get better and learn more. I don’t want to be the cliche photographer who feels they have mastered their craft and that anything else isn’t worth their time. I think if you claim to be a true photographer, you try it all, yes it may be frustrating or it may even make you uncomfortable at first but the ore you try and keep with it the more you surprise yourself with what you can learn to do with your camera.

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
I learned that if you’re a creative at heart, you’ll find ways to show it, whether isolated or with a group of people. I learned to slow down and appreciate what life has given me because of my interests.

Pricing:

  • Portraiture $200/hr
  • Lifestyle/Editorial $250/hr
  • Engagements $300/hr
  • Boudoir $500/hr
  • Events $1000/day

Contact Info:

Image Credits
The Used COIN (Drummer Shot)

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