Being resourceful. And making the most of what you have. That’s been the ticket for a lot of successful photographers. And Larsen Sotelo became an expert at both of these things, and now his photography comes with built in edge and raw energy. We had him select some of his favorite photos and asked him a bit more about how one becomes professional at snapping photos in the rather inundated world of imagery.
What Youth: Where did you come from?
LARSEN SOTELO: I took some film photography classes in college but felt like I sucked at it so I dropped it and became a graphic designer. I found interest in photography again about 4 years ago when I was working at my old job and it kind of clicked.
How’d you get money to buy your first camera?
Student loan and grant money. Thank you government.
When did you start taking it seriously and realize that it could be a profession?
I would say about a few years ago right after I got laid off my job.
Are you technically trained? Or self taught?
I learned a little bit from back in college, and basically a lot of messing around with the camera and learning from mistakes. When I found interest in photography again a few years back, I started to learn photography going on youtube’s, blogs, studying other photographers work, etc. The most important thing I wanted to learn was getting my own style vs the technical side of photography.
Whats in your camera arsenal?
This past year and half I’ve been constantly using my Contax G2 with a 45mm f2 lens and my Yeshica T4 for my personal work. Its all I need really. For look-books or campaign work I use my Nikon D700 with prime lenses. I usually switch lenses from my 35mm (for wider angles shots), 50mm (what I use most of the time) and my 85mm (for portraits), or sometimes i’d rent a 24-70mm for lifestyle shoots.
What is it about Long Beach that has made it the back drop of so much of your work?
I love it here. I feel like its a mini-LA but with better people. Its a community here and I love how I can pretty much walk around the alleyways and find some gems to shoot at. I love exploring and the not knowing where I’m going to be shooting. Its always different and unexpected.
Who are some of your biggest influences making work right now?
Anybody you’d like to thank?
I would say my old job that laid me off, actually. I probably would still be working for them if they didn’t let me go. I guess you can say it was a blessing in disguise.