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Interview: Photographer Ron Paolo Gilman (Belgium)

Can you tell us a little about you?

I’m 45 year old Belgian born in Manila Philippines, raised in Antwerp, Belgium. (I call myself a coconut, white inside and brown outside :-) I consider myself a true wanderer that loves to travel and to discover different cultures in all its aspects of beauty. I look the world through my lens.

How and when did you get into photography?

From a young age I’ve always been fascinated with photography due to my father that was a journalist photographer during his first career. Later I followed his footsteps in becoming a freelance video cameraman for various news channels. After some time I got into the medical world where I started to work with plastic surgeons, to film and photograph surgical procedures for educational purposes like breast reconstruction of women that have endured breast cancer. Shortly after the procedure, some of the women asked me if I could take some pictures in boudoir style due to the fact that they feel “a true woman” again. This has inspired me in pursuing and developing a new style of photography for myself.

What does photography mean to you?

It’s a way of life, I’m constantly framing in my mind my surroundings. I try to tell a story through my own eyes and to immortalise that fraction of a moment of someone’s life or event.

Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.

I believe that my style and goal is definitely to inspire women to be more confident about themselves and their sensuality, to emphasise women empowerment and sensual femininity in its their aspects.

Where do you get inspiration from?

I see myself as someone who is wild at heart and needs constant impulses. I find a lot of my inspiration in anything that has to do with travel, cultures, beauty and passionate people. Anything that could trigger my senses at any given moment.

Studio, on location or both?

I have a studio where I have a setup with strobes, backdrops, reflectors, v-flats… the whole shebang. For my boudoir photography, I shoot more on location where I like to work with natural light.

Do you think in advance what you want in the picture ?

I try to plan as good as possible achieve a certain vision of a shoot that’s in my mind, but not to overthink it and to leave a margin for spontaneity, improvisation or free styling on the moment itself.

Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?

As photography is my only and main source of income so I consider myself as a paid professional. People hire me for my style of photography and I try to deliver a high end final product that fills in the expectations of the client. Aside this and giving workshops, my goal is to achieve some day to do an exposition and a printed book of my artworks.

What has been your most memorable session and why?

My most memorable shoot is when a good friend of mine that survived breast cancer, and underwent a breast reconstruction due to a double mastectomy. She asked me if I could take pictures of her in boudoir style. After doing the shoot and having selected the best pictures, she decided to have them printed on big frames (80x100cm) and gave it as a surprise gift to her husband. A way to thank him for all the support during her ordeal. Truly touching and therefor most memorable.

Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?

My “essentials” are Canon 5D Mark IV and prime lenses such as Canon 50mm 1.2 , Canon 35mm 1.4 and Canon 85mm 1.2

What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?

It’s not enough to be a good photographer but you need to be confident in selling your idea’s and concepts.; Build up a good work ethic and invest time marketing your talent. Networking and personal contact can create new opportunities and build up a reputation… Digital media and social networks are good way to showcase your work. But in the end it’s also how your communicative skills where you will build up your credibility. Be confident, but humble. Believe in what you can, get inspired by other colleague photographers… don’t focus too much on competing.

What do you think of our new magazine?

I love the fresh new look and an eye-candy of amazing pictures. Truly an inspiring platform for everyone that’s passionate about photography, make-up and modelling. A solid reference in the business.

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