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Five questions with local photographer Robert King

W. Kenneth Medley II • Feb 13, 2019 at 12:00 AM


Cats or Dogs: Dog

Favorite Photographer: Thomas Heaton

Hobbies: Besides photography and videography, I run and bike a lot.

Canon or Nikon: Canon all day!

Fun Fact: Was an extra in a Super Bowl Commercial this year.

Robert King, 25, is a Johnson City native, born in a hospital “that is no longer around.” He is an alumni of University High, where he attended kindergarten through 12th grade. He went on to graduate from East Tennessee State University with a degree in digital media.

King now applies his education at Creative Energy helping produce national ad campaigns. He is a videographer who loves his hometown and one lucky enough to find gainful employment in an oversaturated creative field he enjoys. He can be seen walking the streets of downtown catching a show or a music gig always with his camera nearby. In this interview King gives his thoughts on cameras, multimedia convergence and more.

Can you tell me why you prefer Canon cameras over others?

I guess the main reason would be, I guess, I kind of grew up shooting it. I started on Canon 35mm film cameras, just from what my parents had around the house. Really it was an easy transition to, “I like shooting with this, it’s comfortable so why change it really.” That is the easy way to put it.

Have you always known you were going to be a photographer?

I guess yes and no, I mean growing up I never … You always hear people say there is not any money in it. So you kind of like shooting, but you realize there is probably something else you need to do because at some point you have to start paying the bills. That was early on, but yeah, I kind of always wanted to shoot. Then I got into video production because I assumed it would be a little bit more profitable. I do both now and it’s great.

How has convergence affected your outlook on multimedia?

I don’t think that it is necessarily a bad thing. Because you might go and think you want to do video production, that is a very broad term, but over the course of having to do all those things you might find out that you would rather be a producer. You’d rather not be the person shooting it. You would rather be the person in charge of setting up all the aspects of the shoot. I think that is helpful. Nobody thinks they want to be the person behind the books if you get into a creative field, but we need that. Somebody has to do it so if you have to be every part of a production, or a shoot or whatever, you might find out you want to be the photographer, you want to be the editor, or stylist, anything along those lines. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, and if you get your name out there obviously you can corner your market and find exactly what you want to do.

Is photography your only source of income and what have been the biggest challenges being a photographer?

Yeah, between video production and photography that’s it. I kind of do both; I am full-time producer but I also freelance photography on the side. I think one of the biggest challenges is knowing you don’t need the latest and greatest gear. You can get what you want without having to have the very best of everything. That is something that is pushed down our throats a lot I would say.

Why have you chosen Johnson City, your hometown, to be your base of operations, and what advice would you give a budding photographer or artist in the multimedia industry?

I graduated from ETSU and got a job at a great company, Creative Energy, and really it’s just, I love this place. Honestly that is all it comes down to. It is growing like crazy as you know, and it’s just a really good place to live. Do everything you can. Don’t turn something down, especially starting out. You have to do stuff for free. I know that it is not fun, but you have to get your name out there somehow. So don’t turn anything down.

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