Hear It!

One's work is often the reflection of one's personal interest and passion.

And through this issue of Hear It!, you'll find much of Ismael Montero a.k.a. Imv himself reflected throughout his portfolio. His love for nature, science and education has helped him pursue a collection of various animals, insects, plants and even images from a microscope! There's no doubt, this Nature/Wildlife videographer and photographer wannabe will one day realize his dream of traveling all over the world.

Photographer: imv / Ismael Montero
Country of Origin: Spain

1. Production Equipment: Please list the production equipment that you use on a regular basis (eg. Cameras, lenses, flash & lighting, photo editing software).
A Canon 350D with a Tamron 50-200, Sigma 10-20, Sigma 50-500, a 90mm macro, a pair of lights and a ball head tripod. Those microstructure images you see in my portfolio were shot using a Nikon Coolpix 4500 with some microscope adapters.

2. What do you think of photography these days?
Photography has become an accessible art of self-expression. If you are doing it for your own pleasure, you don't even need expensive equipment (unless you plan to sell your images as stock). Whatever it is, just be happy with the pictures you take.

3. What did you want to be when you were younger?
I didn't know and I still don't know. I was very happy thinking about science and education back then but nowadays, I'm just happy being able to create beautiful images or at least trying to create a good portfolio.

4. Tell us about the time when you first got started in photography.
I started making photos when I went for my holiday one summer. I bought a compact analog Nikon camera (with Star Trek letters at its side!) and that summer alone, took lots of photos. However, it wasn't until I bought my first digital camera that I experimented or developed real passion for photography. Coming from a non-wealthy family in an industrial city, it isn't common to spend money in arts or hobby. Going digital however allows me to shoot what I want.

5. In your opinion, what does it take to become successful in this industry?
To be successful, you'll need lots of patience, a diversified portfolio and not worrying about people having similar a portfolio as you are. You need time and diversification to get good sales. If people are looking to download an apple, you can be sure your apple will be downloaded one day!

6. What was your biggest challenge coming into this industry?
I think the biggest challenge coming into this industry was to be well known, to be able to promote my images and trying to win the confidence of buyers and the designers. And it's tough because the standards are very high in this site (Editor: Thank you!).

7. What are the best perks as a Photographer?
The best perk is that I can work wherever I want. I only need an Internet access and a computer to upload the images I've shot. Besides that, I get to know people and have the opportunity to make them feel good.

8. How do you plan for your shooting sessions?
Inspiration normally comes in a flash. And the best part of my job is to make it come alive. I've got to first prepare the equipment lights, tripod, lens and then try a few rounds of shots before proceeding to the real shoot. If models are involved, it is yet another issue. Shoot first and be surprised later when you view it on the computer screen.

9. How would you describe your work to first time viewers?
My work is chaotic. You'll find buildings, flowers, animals, people, scientific issues and many others things. You're most likely to find what you need in my portfolio. If not, you will find it there someday.

10. Do you shoot to what your heart tells you or do you go through a complex check list in your mind when you produce your work? Describe the feeling/check list.
I shoot everything I have in front of me and make images I want to see available in the market.

11. From your experience, what subjects gives you the greatest satisfaction? Any examples?
I love insects. I love the hunt and the images it produce. It is not an easy subject but I got my secret techniques of making the insects feel comfortable.

12. From your experience, what subjects are the hardest to work with? Any examples?
I hate shooting buildings. It's not easy to capture the clarity of those buildings and the weather does nothing at all to help during my previous attempts.

13. What is your philosophy when it comes to your work?
My philosophy is make things easy, calm and shoot only if I feel comfortable.

14. Describe who/what inspires you, tell us why?
Nature is my inspiration. I'm always trying to capture the colors and forms although I don't always succeed.

15. What do you do when those creative juices just seems to evade you. How do you "get creative"?
When I'm tired or when I can't focus well, I'll go for a walk. I'll leave my camera behind and just look at people on the streets and animals in the park. When I'm back, I'll go to my computer and take a look at my old photos. Then I'll start thinking about how to make better ones.

16. Tell us about a time when inspiration just hits you, and you felt the insatiable urge to create. What did you do with that energy?
I'll prepare my studio and begin to shoot, or call a friend to discuss if my idea can possibly work out. The most recent example is that I ran to the market and bought lots of fruits for a sudden food shot idea!

17. What have you discovered about yourself through photography?
I'm happier making photos than being in an 8-hour mundane job. I have discovered that the passion I have for photography can push me to work the entire week even if there are 26 hours in a day. I'm currently producing a documentary and editing images for footage. Who knows where this will lead me to.

18. Whose work do you admire the most? Why?
I love National Geographic society photographers! They are the best in Nature and I would like to become one of them someday. It has always been my greatest desire to be a Nature/Wildlife videographer and photographer who travels around the world and see all that I could.

19. Do you have any advice for those who are just getting in to stock photography?
Have patience, produce lots of quality images and best of luck to you!

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