Readers, I would love to call you Cast from now on because through living, you are creating the story that I get to retell through my writing. So, now it is time for us to hear a little bit of Patrick Melon’s story.
On March 6, I had the opportunity to talk with Melon in an abandoned church, where he and his friend Langston will host their upcoming art showcase. (This was the dopest place I have ever interviewed someone to this day). Melon is a freelance photographer, New Orleanian, alum of McMain High School, and graduate of LSU. He is an artist who seizes the moment to constantly perfect his craft. Two years ago, he was working at a shoe store, while taking pictures on the side. Now, Melon snaps time for artists like Pj Morton, Lil Wayne, and 2 Chainz. Below is snippet of our discussion, but click on the pictures to see the full interview.
Q: When did you get into photography in New Orleans?
A: I started taking photos when I was 15 or so just from skateboarding around the city. I fell in love with being able to document my friends doing ticks and just hanging out.
Q: When did you decide to make photography your profession?
A: I had been working at a shoe store for about 8 years since I was in high school. It got to the point where I was getting photography jobs on the side. Photography was always a hobby of mine. As more and more people became familiar for my photography, I started getting offers so that I could have jobs making $300 in like two hours. That’s way more appealing than standing on your feet all day working for somebody else and making $300 a day. When it started getting to the point where it was conflicting schedules, I’m like you know what , I don’t need this job. So I just quite, and I’ve been doing freelance photography ever since then, which started in the summer of 2015.
Q: How did you boom so quickly?
A: It is in a flux I feel that photography has never been as other art forms, even from its inception. If you look at the origins of photography from the very gecko people kind of thing about it as being like a lazy art form. Whereas painting, it takes all of these hours to create these massive brush strokes. People look down on photography especially now since people have these smartphones and these cameras, you can get a 20-megapixel camera on your smart phone. I think that does severely depreciate from the actual art form of photography. But, what a lot of people need to be made aware of is that photography is not just about snapping a button. It isn’t just, oh hey “click, click”. There are things that I look at when I am. taking a picture that I don’t think about anymore because they are engrained in me. I think about composition I think about my shutter speed, I think about do I want the picture to be blurry in the background versus do I want everything to be in focus. There are these minor technical things that go into creating a great picture that the everyday consumer or the everyday hobbyist doesn’t necessarily think of.
Q: Has social media helped or hurt your craft?
A: I think that honestly, if it wasn’t for Instagram, I wouldn’t have the confidence to become a freelance photographer and that’s just being perfectly real. Because when I first started Instagram, I thought it was stupid. I was like, oh this oh whatever photography. I said, “I am a good photographer, I don’t need that.” But, as AI grew I developed it, I started posting my own pictures. I started realizing, you know this is really cool because I have an audience to share my work with. The immediate gratification, it builds your confidence. Like people think this is cool, let me keep doing this. And it feels good to think that people appreciate your work. What does happen because of social media, it becomes an over saturation of photographers and the unfortunate things is that a lot of photographers that only use Instagram as their platform of output are not business savvy as the world of photography goes. So say for instance, I have done a couple of jobs for major companies and I have gotten paid a couple thousand dollars, but in hindsight, after doing my research, I probably could have gotten paid way more. I think a lot of big businesses take advantage of the fact that they know that a lot of these guys who use Instagram are not aware of how much, because there are definitely budgets set aside for marketing and social media campaigns and ect. I think that since these big businesses are aware that a Instagram photographers are not aware of it, they’ll take advantage of it and pay you $250 for something you could have gotten paid 5,000 for or a professional photographer would have gotten paid $5,000 for. I think since there are so many people who want to say. “I’ve done this for this person or that for that person,” it overall depreciates the market value of the craft.
Melon’s Photography Tips:
- Reputation is the father of learning. I get up and take pictures every single day
- It’s an auto didactic process. You have to be willing to teach yourself.
Check out Melon’s work at his upcoming show:
April 23 | 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. | 2523 Bayou Road.
Follow on Instagram: here.
Follow on Tumblr: here
Melontao Website: here
Now, I better go grab my DSLR and get to work, if I want to show the photographers in New Orleans who is boss. Just kidding, I’ll leave Melon up to capturing the moment.