MIKE VALENTE, a leading car photographer in the UK, held Coventry University’s 198th Coventry Conversation on the 14th of January 2010. He gave the 21st century Digital-Camera-using-folk an insight into the days of the film camera.
Mike, who became a photographer by accident, said: “I have been taking pictures for as long as I can physically remember”. His photographic career includes the International Musician magazine and Haymarket Publishing, and currently he works as a freelancer for magazines, newspapers, car manufacturers and ad agencies. But his background includes a graduate diploma from the 3D Design at Hornsey College of Art (now Middlesex University) and a job as a trainee scenic designer at the BBC. Writes Natasha De Silva
Being in the photographic industry for so long, Mike said he appreciates the digital, but misses the camaraderie of the old technology. He reminded the audience of a time when they would go to the colour labs and wait until the pictures were ready. “Now we sit at home looking at the pictures and hoping that the telephone will ring”, he added.
Mike confessed he always wanted to be a racing driver, and said he is now almost living his dream by photographing super cars and getting to test them first hand at photo shoots.
He went on to speak about what it is like to be a photographer of cars: “You have to do it to the best of your ability, making the car look good and making yourself look good; because what appears on the page is what people think of your photography”.
Mike had some valuable words of advice for those budding photographers out there, but admitted that getting jobs as a freelancer it’s a case of having contacts and a good reputation. Finally he said that he’s motto is: “Job done first. Enjoy yourself afterwards.”
By Natasha De Silva