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Live Action of Dallas and Beyond: Karlo Ramos, Digging Through The Greats

I got into photography by way of the local music. In Puerto Rico I used to play in rock bands around the late '90s until the early '00s. During that time I also did event flyers on the side for my friends’ events. After a while I felt that I wanted better quality images for the graphic designs, so I got a camera for that. Shortly thereafter I started taking the camera to shows and documenting [them]–that’s where something clicked in me, literally. The ability to capture a moment was a rush. Looking through the viewfinder for the right light or perfect moment during the length of a performance was a thrill for me. I enjoyed it then and still do to this day. Over time, my interest in photography became really evident for me, especially during my Master’s, which was the only time I can say I got [a] formal photography education. Everything else was practice, reading books, magazines, and internet forums.

I moved [from Puerto Rico to Dallas] because I wanted to seriously develop my craft, and wanted to try something different. I love my island paradise, but I felt that there’s [only] so much you can do in regards of making a living as a photographer over there. The opportunity to move to Dallas came after my wife got a serious offer to work in the city. We talked about it and decided to give it a shot.

The first couple of years in the city were tough for me. I wasn't really inspired, and had a hard time finding the culture in the city, but I kept pushing, going to shows, networking, and becoming a familiar face in the scene. Little by little, I started shooting for different blogs and built up my name and portfolio.

Overall, I feel happy about the move. It was the right thing to do at the time for me and my family. I’ve definitively experienced growth in my craft and have gotten to be able to make a living out of it.

I push myself a lot in terms of the quality of work. I try to keep things looking as natural as they can be, with minimal manipulation and a timely delivery. I don't consider myself a photojournalist necessarily, so I have a bit more creative freedom, depending on the image I want to create.  Business-wise, you have to be reliable for whomever hires you to shoot, or for yourself. I shoot in environments that carry a lot of drugs, sex, alcohol, you name it. However, when you are going out on a given day or night, with a backpack with at least $6,000 in gear, your priorities shift a little and things get somewhat serious.

In short, be reliable, and respect yourself and others.

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