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Meet Damon Corso of Damon Corso Photography in North Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Damon Corso.

Damon, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I had always been surrounded by cameras in my family, everyone seemed to have a Pentax k1000. But it wasn’t until the year 2000 at the age of 20 that I began taking photography seriously when I got my first digital camera at the dawn of the digital age. I spent many days experimenting with my cousin who at the time was in college studying sculpting and photography.

In 2002 after being laid off from a full-time marketing job, I decided to take my part time college career on a journey along the eastern seaboard of America by thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail and documenting it through photography and travel journalism, the two main courses I was studying at State University. After completing the 2,000+ mile long trail over the course of 6 months, I was rewarded with much praise from my professors for the assignments I handed in. This spurred me to make the big move in 2003 to Southern California where my Uncle lived and follow my blossoming dreams.

I quickly began to learn how to rock climb at local climbing areas and began working as a set photographer on independent films in Los Angeles. The work wasn’t consistent enough to keep me afloat so a full-time job as a manager at a backpacking/climbing store was necessary and allowed me to network within the outdoor community. I soon found myself in Salt Lake City networking with the big dogs of the industry and photographing my first professional climbing competition at the 2005 winter Outdoor Retailer Trade Show, this is where I landed my first magazine cover for Climbing Magazine.

From that point on I have pursued the beauty of nature across the globe and the athletes that utilize it, finding my images on dozens of magazine covers, countless feature articles and a multitude of advertisements within the climbing community. This eventually led to me producing, filming and editing a half dozen short climbing films, as a result, getting hired as a Director of Photography for future projects within the Climbing community and the world of Stop-Motion movie making.

Currently, I am involved with many LEGO stop-motion projects as a Professional LEGO builder and Director of Photography. Being able to combine my passions for handcrafted LEGO art, Photography and filmmaking has been a fun addition to the creativity pool and allows for a great balance from the wild adventures of photographing professional athletes across the World.

My focus now has begun to shift into Guide Books, I recently had my second book published ‘Best Climbs: Santa Barbara and Ventura’, the follow up to my first Guide ‘Best Climbs: Los Angeles’. I am currently in the thick of my third book which will focus on one of the greatest long-distance hiking trails in the world.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road is always as smooth as you make it, I am the type of person to let bygones be bygones and to take each day as it comes. I faced lots of rejection along my career and it has only made me a stronger person, pushing me to take my skills further with each photograph and story written.

I was blessed to work in a studio under the guidance of a great mentor who had his masters from the Brooks Institute of Photography, this is where I took leaps and bounds in the study of light and conduct of business. I was able to apply all my newly learned skills to my current work in the climbing community and really make a style for myself.

I lived through the struggle of current print media, being subject to magazines closing down their doors and leaving their most valued contributors with unpaid invoices, and watching some of the biggest names in the industry struggle to switch to the new digital age of online magazines.

Every new job has offered me something new to learn and a way to grow my business, without rejection and failure there would be no growth.

Damon Corso Photography – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Damon Corso Photography is best known for and specializes in Outdoor Adventure Photography, I have also found a special skill in photographing Portraits, Product, Landscapes, and Stop-Motion. Since I started my business some of the highlights have been a two month trip to my families homeland, Italy, to photograph and write a story about the rock climbers and history of that beautiful country. The article was featured in the ‘Photo Annual’ issue of Climbing Magazine and featured my most prized images from the trip on the cover, this issue is typically kept stocked on store shelves for 9 months or more. Another landmark was my first published book, Best Climbs Los Angeles, after 2+ years of research, writing and exploring the underbrush of the Los Angeles climbing scene I was finally a published author on the bookshelves as well as the magazine rack. What sets my business apart from the rest is the willingness to push my physical limits to get the right shot.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
To me success is internal, if I am happy with my work and am able to support my family by following my dreams, then I have become successful. Of course, it doesn’t hurt when I see my guidebook in the hands of local climbers at the crag!

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