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Meet Rene Ramirez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rene Ramirez.

Hi Rene, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Man. It all started in high school when I first picked up a camera. I was 15 at the time and was really interested in street photography and the roof-topping scene. I lived in the Bay Area so I would hit SF up every weekend and try to get the best shots I could. I eventually met colleagues that would turn out to be some of the coolest people I met through this part of my life. Shoutout (Matt, Lil Matt, Rich, Marco, Nate and a lot of others). After about a year or so I started to feel kinda burnt out and felt like I was going nowhere with street photography, at the time my good friend Jonny started to make music and needed his first music video. He asked me if I could shoot it and I did which sparked a whole new interest in video. I started to shoot music videos for local acts around the Bay Area which started to help my growth as an artist. I was 17 during this time and was about to graduate high school and was planning on going to college which is when I had also started to gain ideas for starting my own online magazine. That idea would turn out to be my baby “Firstplace Magazine”.

Through that I started to interview the local acts I was shooting music videos for and would do exclusive videos as well. I would keep that same flow for about two years until COVID-19 hit the US. which then the posting and the steady content would stop and come to a halt. During this time I had time to think about how I could make the platform better and possibly top quality. I ended up deciding to do video interviews with musicians and articles on other types of artists (Painters, Designers, and Photographers). I would also make it a goal of mine to start shooting concerts and gain media passes. At this time it’s 2021 and I am 21 years old with a plan to take my plan to fruition. Pi’erre Bourne was planning on being in Oakland to perform for his Life of Pi’erre 5 Tour and I started to email his management team under the first place name. I got a yes and a media pass for that show which kick-started everything for me.

I would eventually meet Gerald aka the big burd and CEO of burdmgmt which is a tour agency and he took me under his wing and had me become a part of the media team. Through this connection, I have been able to interview people from LA and go to concerts in LA with the first place name because of people taking me seriously now. Right now, I’m just shooting concerts after concerts meeting some of my favorite artists and continuing to build first place into an empire.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I would be lying if I said it has been smooth. I guess the hardest thing for me would be balanced. I go to school, work a job, run a business, and shoot concerts on the side. There are times when I want to work on one thing but have to choose the other because of a deadline or a due date. I have been able to find a routine that allows me to work on all things but that is one of the challenges for sure. Also, the fact that this is a one-man team and I do all the work for the magazine from the editing, shooting, and the business side of things. I do everything so it’s been a real challenge just doing everything by myself for sure.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
At the moment and I am a photographer/videographer / Director. I take photos at concerts and do commissions for whoever wants photos. I do specialize in 35mm film and shoot with a canon ae-1. I also shoot music videos for certain artists who let me have full creative control and let me do my thing. I am known for concerts and getting photo’s portraits of some big artists. I also run and own a startup magazine called “FIRSTPLACE Magazine” where I push artists who deserve to be in first place where I write articles and produce content on local artists. I guess the one thing that sets me apart from others is that I use an actual SLR at shows. I usually see points and shoots which are good but I like the challenge of having to find the focus point and having full control of a camera.

We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
Risk-Taking is everything. I know so many people whose lives have changed because of a risk they took. Every time I went to SF to shoot rooftops I always thought about the risk of getting caught or getting arrested or even dying from just for taking a picture from the top of a 54-floor building but every time we left the building and got our pictures it was always worth it. Every second. The same goes for me shooting music videos and for me shooting concerts. I have taken risks that have either worked out or didn’t work out. It’s all about betting on yourself and putting yourself in first place. Nothing is going to come to you if you just sit down. You gotta go out there and go get it.

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