Since meeting Christopher Pierantoni last fall, we have seen him jet set from festival to sporting events countrywide. Hailing from Queens, New York - Christopher Pierantoni is a photographer, focusing on capturing the best in music and entertainment. He has traveled countrywide and even made he was to London with Atrak this year! Today we want to inspire you to be and live life to pursue your craft.
SOYYO: When did you pick up your first camera?
Christopher Pierantoni: Well I definitely had a camera when I was younger where I used to take photos of random things including myself on occasion but never took it too seriously. Then in college, I took a film class with a teacher who liked my creativity. We would always discuss movies in depth and think of crazy scenarios they could have added. and suggested I do a film editing class. From this, I was introduced to the head professor of arts and film at the school who taught me the ins and outs of standard editing when it came to video. I did this mostly as a hobby at that point because I enjoyed it and I would assume at this point was when I really had my first camera because it was given to me by the school to do my assignments and work on projects.
S: How did photography become a part of your life?
CP: Man I’m not gonna lie it was just a blessing in disguise. I really have to thank my friends for keeping me around it. I had really gotten out of it once I got out of college. A lot of my friends are established photographers in the New York City and from just being around them and doing events, vlogs, and essentially everything you could think of. A bunch of creative minds together could dip their hands in what we were trying to do. So it put me back around all of it and at one point with all the support of my friends telling me to get back and help with certain projects I was like screw it lets see where this investment into something I enjoy and love will take me. From that point on a series of ridiculous moments took place leading me to where I am now. Essentially making it all worth it and to some extent made to be.
S: Was there a specific moment in which you realized that photography was going to be more than just a hobby?
CP: Oh yeah I will never forget, I was in Coney Island for my first festival for Fool’s Gold Records. Middle of August sun's beaming and everybody is out drinking having a good time and I am backstage with the artists setting my camera up. I look around and the first person comes on stage and kills it. As I am looking through the photos I see one that I caught intentionally with the sunlight creating an all-white background. It clicks in my head immediately this is the one. I walk over to the artist as he comes off the stage and shows him with me being internally a little nervous as to what he might say. He looks at me and goes damn bro you got me looking like a god on stage send me that asap. I took a deep breath took down his direct info walked back to the front of the stage and looked at all the people and the energy in the air and was like damn ...we about to go hard this year cause I want all of this.
S: What type of photography do you prefer and why?
CP: Personally, I enjoy all photography but number 1 has to go to festival/concert photography. It is what really got me into it all. I love the energy, the people, networking, and overall the everlasting moments you can capture from stage dives to running through crowds with artists as they mosh pit with fans. The energy is surreal and as much as I want to be more a part of it makes my day when I’m editing and see all the moments I was able to capture that may or may not be people’s best memories.
S: Any tips or tricks to the trade that you can share with us?
CP: Pshh for sure and it is nice and simple. Just 1 word but it means everything in this game …”FINESSE”. I can’t tell you how many times I was told no or I can’t do something or you're not allowed in with that pass. I can give you 50 different ways I was told no and then I can also tell you 50 different ways of how I got in any way. So if you could feel me on that then overall what I am saying is don’t take no for an answer and make things happen even when people look at you stupid for it. I can’t tell you how many times people told me it isn’t necessary or I am wild for showing up to shows and concerts no tickets and no access looking to shoot it. Yet when I drop my content those same people looking at me like damn good shit. So yeah finesse and work your ass off man. The only way you get things done in today’s word.
S: How do you go about snapping the correct photo? Is it luck or is it methodical?
CP: Definitely Methodical to say the least. In any situation, you gotta be prepared for the shoot. Whether it be for a runway, brand, or concert. In my case, it’s mostly concerts. I always like to have my shutter speed a little bit higher depending on who’s performing. Never know when you might need to catch someone doing something epic in motion. Also, another big thing is positioning yourself for the best angles depending on your lens. Along with the fact that if I see everyone going to one spot I try not to go there and think a step ahead or else I am gonna have the same photo as everyone else and that doesn’t make you stand out.
S: What drives you to continue attending these events and capturing images for such popular celebrities?
CP: For me what it comes down too is loving it. I really want to be known when it is all said and done as one of the greats. When you're passionate about something you wanna be the best or fail to try to get as close as possible and that should drive you in itself in my opinion. Always how I have been when it comes to anything I was passionate about in my life.
S: Is there a celebrity that you were excited about photographing? Why?
CP: This literally just happened to me during all-star break. I was shooting all-star weekend at this Adidas Warehouse event for the celebrity game and I got to shoot Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino aka THE FUCKING MAN. I was so mind blown because it was listed as a “special guest performer” along with the fact that Kid Cudi had randomly decided to be added on to the list of performers. As you could only imagine I was mind blown and actually had to have a self-talk with myself in a dirty backstage urinal about how I had to lock in and focus and how God or something above had given me this opportunity to kill it and there was no choice but to go hard. Once I took my deep breath and walked out I locked in and killed that whole event. Even got a picture of Kanye smiling but that is a whole other story in itself.
S: You teach by day and then become a celebrity photographer by night, how has that impacted your teaching or photography career?
CP: You know it is crazy but not a whole lot of people know that about me. I’m not gonna lie it has been a battle with my own body. I wake up most days at 545 am and drive an hour to get to work and then work all day until about 5 or 6 pm. Then I usually get time to hit the gym and grab some food before I head out and do a photography event which lasts usually until about 12 or 1 am. Some days it is crazy hard on my body and some days aren’t but at the end of the day, I asked for this. I can easily stop doing photography and stick to my regular 9 to 5 but it just isn’t what I want nor what I was made to do right now. I am young and mentally strong and I know I can push myself beyond limits as I have before in order to achieve something greater. At the end of the day when I finally make it I am gonna know I deserve it because of everything I am putting in now.
S: What has been one of the highest moments in your career?
CP: The highest moment would have to be All-Star Weekend that just passed. It was absurd the amount of content I was able to get. I was going everywhere I could to get everyone and everybody who mattered. Some of the artist including Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Childish Gambino, Kid Cudi, Lil Uzi Vert, Tory Lanez, and many more. Just from that group of artists right there you can imagine how I felt. I even got to go on stage with Tory Lanez and was in this secret back location with Kanye West. Oh not to mention I got to talk with Atrak who I have worked with several times and Kid Cudi which was overwhelmingly dope. It was pretty much a movie for me so I can’t really put anything over that 48 hours of ridiculousness.
S: What advice would you offer anyone pursuing a career in photography?
CP: Man like I said before finesse and be personable. Love what you do along with all that and you will be fine. Finesse because they will tell you no for a lot of things in the beginning due to several reasons. Personable because to be honest most of these guys are good at what they do but they're not the nicest people. A lot of the time I end up getting jobs over people because they can have a conversation with me and not feel like there being judged or need to act a certain way around me. Lastly, love what you do and I really mean it. It isn’t an easy field and there are gonna be major struggles but always remember that nothing easy is ever worth it. Also when you love something you put your heart into it and you learn as much as possible from it and for it so that will keep you driven and up to date on things.