Misc

Photographer Spotlight – Parker Cunningham

This month’s photography spotlight includes one of our youngest members, 15 year old photographer Parker Cunningham. Originally from Australia, Parker and his family moved in 2012 to Helena, Alabama where he found a passion for landscape and animal photography. His photography skills go way beyond his years! Parker is a great example for young photographers just starting out who have a passion for photography and want to build their career. Parker now uses Fine Art America as his website portfolio and fulfillment partner. He currently has 330 followers and 95,898 views. We interviewed Parker to learn more about his story:

1443204013-landscapeofautumn-2When did you start photography and why? I discovered photography for the first time in 2012. I had just moved from Australia to Alabama and didn’t know too many people or have much to do! One day I picked up my mom’s camera and began to play around with it. It was as simple as walking around the neighborhood taking snapshots, but I was immediately hooked.  From the sound of the shutter to the journey of getting the shot, I loved capturing unique and natural beauty. A year into photography I saved up for a camera of my own!

What was your first camera and what do you currently use? I began with an old Nikon D40. As I fell more in love with photography, I started shooting more and more with the it. After a year of using my mom’s D40, an unexpected change came about! I had just gotten back from a photographic expedition around the neighborhood. I placed my camera on a desk and prepared to download the images. As I turned around to look for the cord, I heard the camera fall to the ground. I quickly picked it up to find that the lens was broken! Fortunately, the incident was the perfect motivation for me to save up for a camera I could call my own! After doing various odd jobs to raise money, I bought the Nikon D5200, which I still use today. My mom still jokes around that I owe her a new camera!1443204013-landscapeofautumn-1-9

What is your favorite subject to shoot? Tough question! There are so many things I love to shoot. If I had to choose, I think it would come down to autumn lakes and waterfalls. I love capturing the movement of water. Reflections on a lake are so unique and fun to work with! I think autumn is a very special  time of year. The weather is just about perfect and the foliage is breathtakingly beautiful. I really enjoy using long exposure photography to give a smooth feel to a waterfall. It is a great way of portraying the power but also the tranquility of cascading water. I also love capturing any moment that will not last forever. I think that is what makes photography so unique. I can go out and capture a scene in a single frame and allow others to experience that moment with me. Whether it is a chance encounter with wildlife or a vibrant sunset, I want to share that scene with others!

How did you discover Fine Art America and what is your favorite tool? About a year into developing an interest in photography, I saw many other artists using Fine Art America. After asking a few about it, I received positive recommendations about the site, so I decided to join. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made! The high quality prints and fantastic customer service have given me an outlet for my work in ways I never had before. At my age, there is no way I would be able to handle all of the printing, monetary transactions, and shipping. With the help of Fine Art America, I can do all that and so much more. My favorite tool on Fine Art America would have to be the Artist Website. It is such a powerful tool that is so easy to work with. Also, I would say the discussion forum on Fine Art America has had a large impact in shaping me as a photographer. There are so many experienced artists ready to give advice or a helping hand. I have learned a lot about marketing and how to better my photography through the discussion forum.

Do you have a favorite photographer or where do you find your inspiration? When I am out exploring nature, I can’t help but be inspired. In a photograph, I want to capture what I am experiencing. If it is a warm sunset, I want to convey that warmth in the image I take. If it is an autumn landscape, I want to highlight the colors of the season. I love sharing my perspective, whether it is in small details of a flower or a mountain landscape.1443204013-landscapeofautumn-3

What is the biggest thing you have learned since selling your photography? Is age an issue? The biggest thing I have learned is to create for me. I find when I am creating for others, the images turn out flat, uninspired. When I am thinking of how others will like this or that idea, it takes the joy of a moment away, and it shows in the images. Whenever I photograph a scene, I remind myself to shoot for me, to enjoy the moment. Hopefully my perspective of a scene will resonate with someone else, but that should come naturally. Being 15, the biggest limitation for me is not being able to go to as many places as I would like! If I want to go explore somewhere new, I am always relying on other people to get me there. However, limitations can also force me to become more creative with a scene. Since I’m around the same places, I am constantly thinking of new ideas to portray the scene in a different light!

Starting young has also given me opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. I feel like I have a different perspective that I can show others. My age is a great way to connect to new people as well. At local festivals, I enjoy talking to others about my story. I think being young has helped me truly enjoy the whole process. When I am shooting, I am admiring the beauty and interacting with the scene. For me, a piece of art should create an emotion or memory. When others see my work, I want it to transport them to another place. It is all about enjoying our surroundings, and I hope that shows in my images!

Tropical Sunset

Tropical Sunset

Abuelita

Abuelita

Sunrise Abstract On Calm Waters

Sunrise Abstract On Calm Waters

In The Eyes

In The Eyes

To view Parker Cunningham’s portfolio, go to: http://parker-cunningham.artistwebsites.com/

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Misc

Pixels National TV Commercials

Earlier this year, Pixels.com hosted a national photography contest for all of our members which offered an incredible prize.  Each winner received an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Los Angeles to meet our staff, take a tour of Pixels.com headquarters, relax on the beach, and… star in their very own Pixels.com TV commercial!

The contest was judged by world-renowned photographer, Anne Geddes.  Out of 12,000+ photography submissions, Anne selected three winners: Colt Forney, Rob Blair, and Don Mennig.

About the Three Winners

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 11.10.29 AMColt Forney – Colt Forney is a storm chaser and photographer from Denton, KS.  He has always had a passion for nature, but weather and storms caught most of his interest.  Growing up in Kansas, he witnessed numerous severe storms and tornadoes by the age of 10, and this inspired him to attend the University of Oklahoma for a degree in Meteorology.  He began chasing storms in 2008 and has racked up 40,000+ miles per year chasing storms across the country. He chases severe storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and blizzards. Witnessing mother nature’s awe inspiring beauty led him to become interested in photography and wanting to share these beautiful scenes with the world. pixels.com/profiles/colt-forney.html

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 11.25.16 AMRob Blair – Rob Blair is a nature photographer from Munroe Falls, OH.  Rob is a professional videographer and recently developed a passion for still photography.  He has always enjoyed exploring the beauty of creation and finding fresh ways to share the experiences he encounters. pixels.com/profiles/rob-blair.html

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 11.53.57 AMDon Mennig – Don Mennig is a landscape photographer from Wallingford, PA.  He is a nationally recognized, award-winning artist whose photos have appeared in Forbes Travel, on Yahoo.com, MSN.com, and numerous other media outlets. Don’s photographic goal is to connect to others by capturing moments and scenes that create an emotional response.  Most often, you’ll discover that his images elicit feelings of tranquility, humor, reverence, and energy. pixels.com/profiles/don-mennig.html

A Week in Santa Monica, California

After being chosen as the winners of the contest, the three photographers and their families flew out to California at the beginning June to be filmed and interviewed for our commercials. Everyone stayed at the lovely Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica, which is right next to the ocean.

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Photo Courtesy of Fairmont Hotel

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Photo Courtesy of Fairmont Hotel

When the photographers weren’t on location filming, they spent their time enjoying Santa Monica with their families and our team. Activities included morning fishing, walking on the boardwalk, relaxing on the beach, taking a tour of Hollywood, and lounging by the pool.  For dinners, the Pixels team took everyone to the Watergrill and Fig Restaurant in Santa Monica.

Photo Courtesy of Santa Monica Watergrill

Photo Courtesy of Santa Monica Watergrill

Photo Courtesy of Fig Restaurant Santa Monica

Photo Courtesy of Fig Restaurant Santa Monica

Commercial Production Team: Jeff & Noah

Jeff Bloom and Noah Kloor are a Los Angeles based filmmaking duo. They specialize in creatively developing projects from the initial idea through the very last step of post production. Their work ranges from viral advertisements to large-scale national commercials along with a wide array of film and television content. jeffandnoah.com

For the Pixels TV commercials, Jeff and Noah scouted all filming locations, coordinated daily film scheduling, filmed and interviewed all three of the winners, and worked on post production – adding their own amazing special effects.

Jeff and Noah on location in Lancaster, CA

Jeff and Noah on location in Lancaster, CA

Production team, Sean CEO of Pixels.com, and Rob Blair

Sean CEO of Pixels.com, Rob Blair, and the Production Team

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The Bunker in Downtown Los Angeles

The Shoot Schedule

First Day:  – Colt Forney was filmed on location in Oxnard, CA. The day included many action shots of Colt riding in a truck chasing a storm.  Rob and Don did not have to film this day.

Colt Forney on location in Oxnard, CA

Colt Forney on location in Oxnard, CA

Second Day: Colt Forney was interview and filmed at the Bunker Loft in Downtown, Los Angeles. During this day, Colt sat down with our production team and Pixels team to discuss his own work and topics about selling and buying on Pixels.com.  Rob and Don did not have to film this day.

Third Day: Rob Blair and Don Mennig were both interviewed at the Bunker Loft in downtown Los Angeles.  Don was interviewed first to discuss his own work and get his thoughts about buying and selling selling on Pixels.com.  Rob was second to be interviewed. Colt did not have to film this day.

Rob Blair on location in Malibu, CA

Rob Blair on location in Malibu, CA

Fourth Day: Don Mennig was on location in Saddleback Butte State Park, Lancaster, CA. This day included action shots of Don climbing up rocks, stopping to take photos of nature, and looking over the wide desert sunset. Colt and Rob did not have to film this day

Don Mennig on film location in Lancaster CA

Don Mennig on film location in Lancaster CA

Don Mennig on location in Lancaster, CA

Don Mennig on location in Lancaster, CA

Fifth Day: Rob Blair was on location in Malibu Creek State Park. This day included shots of Rob hiking along Malibu Creek and photographing animals and nature.  Colt and Don did not have to film this day.

Colt checking out his canvas prints before being filmed and interviewed

Colt checking out his canvas prints before being filmed and interviewed

Don Mennig being interviewed at the Bunker

Don Mennig being interviewed at the Bunker

Don Mennig on interviewing on camera

Don Mennig on interviewing on camera

Rob Blair meeting the production crew and getting ready to be filmed

Rob Blair meeting the production crew and getting ready to be filmed

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Wrap Party at Nobu

Our great week of filming ended with aFriday night Wrap Party at Nobu – a popular beachside restaurant in Malibu, CA.  All of the winners, their families, the production crew, and the Pixels team enjoyed appetizers, drinks, and dinner at Nobu. A fantastic ending to the week and a great ocean view!

Nobu website: Noburestaurants.com/malibu

Courtesy of Nobu Restaurant in Malibu

Courtesy of Nobu Restaurant in Malibu

Nobu Dinner

Nobu Dinner

Before Dinner!

Before Dinner!

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Colt Forney and his wife Lauren

Colt Forney and his wife Lauren

Don and his son

Don and his son

Rob Blair, wife and daughter

Rob Blair, wife and daughter

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Dinner is served!

Everyone together!

Everyone together!

Watch the Pixels TV Commercials:

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