Photography by Billy McDaniel
In 2008, I started writing articles for local bands and venues throughout the state of Maine. I managed an online Entertainment Magazine called MaineList. Being a writer, and a musician, I set out to start interviewing local bands and venues, writing stories and sharing whatever images I could find on the artist's websites. My goal was to try and show people what they were missing when they opted to stay home on a weekend night.
I tried to enroll a few local photographers, offering to help them by including a link to their website along with every photograph that appeared in my articles. One by one, photographers turned me down. Their rates were far too pricey to justify the kind of thing that I was trying to do. I wanted to help support the local music scene, and I wasn't about to spend thousands of dollars on semi-professional photography, although I knew that the photos would make the biggest impact on my campaign.
So.. I took my little Sony digital camera and took a few snapshots while I was interviewing bands. The images did what I needed them to do, but they weren't the kind of photography that I hoped to see on the site. I could tell by the results of the Sony camera that I could handle the photography myself, if I just had a professional camera to work with. So.. I took the plunge, and bought a Nikon D80 camera. It was one of the best investments I have ever made.
I never imagined that I'd wind up being a photographer. It certainly was never on my mind. It was one of those things that happened out of necessity, and by the time I bought my first 'real' camera, I came to discover that I had some natural abilities for taking photographs.
In June of 2008, my photographic imagery immediately transformed from the candid bar room snapshots I was getting from my Sony, to the brilliant true-color images produced by my new Nikon. With a decade of Photoshop experience behind me, I was able to produce some pretty amazing shots from the first day I bought the Nikon. I became obsessed with learning as much as I could about photography. I bought books, videos, read lots of forums, and practiced with as many amateur models as I could find. In one year, I wrote many articles featuring my own photography. Suddenly, people stopped thinking of me as a musician, or a writer, and for the next few years I became a full-time working class photographer. It was a lot of fun, and I met a lot of beautiful women along the way.
I haven't updated MaineList since 2011. I guess I felt that I had given enough to the local music scene and needed to take a break from the bar scene. I had other projects that were more important to me at the time, including the publishing of my first novel, The Finish, and relocating to Las Vegas. I still enjoy photography very much, and still take photos for friends and special events.