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Christian Vind: What is your backstory?
Andrew St. Jean (JayyManik): My name is Andrew St. Jean also known as Jayymanik, New York photographer from Brooklyn. I’ve lived my entire life here. Just owning my first real camera, a Canon Powershot point n shoot camera while enjoying taking pictures got me interested in photography. Capturing memories was my thing. Instagram got me into doing photography related business as I’ve seen some high-end influencers do the same, noticing that they can make something more from taking pictures every day.
Instagram changed a lot over the years, after some time these never before seen spectacular images popped up and I know there was no way they were taken from a camera phone. They were vivid and dramatic. Once I saw that, we decided to start a photography business. My brother Brandon St. Jean or @badjoe (shoutouts to him) started out before me and then I followed behind him. We started out doing weddings, events, and parties. After that, we then got more involved joining up with Street Dreams Magazine, a group started through by Stevesweatpants involving street photography and style.
We didn’t stick too long with it as it was tough keeping up with street photography being too saturated. We then decided to work with portraits figuring we can get a lot more out of that. Intertwining people with landscape captures made a bigger difference. From then, my brother did his own work and I went on to join Pursuit of Portraits for a while. With that, I got into Issue #1 of the magazine and I was stoked with that accomplishment. I also worked alongside that group for a while. I eventually moved on to work on myself and to grow my own work through collaborations.
For great photography the gear matters!
Christian Vind: What type of equipment do you like to use when it comes to photography and what brand do you dream to work with?
Andrew St. Jean (JayyManik): I started out with a Canon 5D as my beginner camera w a 50mm 1.8 then transitioned to a Canon 5D Mark 3 and now using a Sony A7R2 with an adapter connecting to a Sigma 50mm 1.4 and a Canon 70-200mm 2.8 V2. I still have my Canon 5D Mk3 for flash use but only when I need it.
I also dream to work with Sony and hope to become one of the Alpha Collective team members as I’m super inspired by their vision in what they aim to do with their cameras and photography in general.
Christian Vind: What are some of your favorite models?
Andrew St. Jean (JayyManik): Some of my favorite models that I’ve worked with is definitely Andrew Kang @andrewkangnyc, he is super cool and the perfect model example. He is the most enjoyable to work with and makes it genuine and fun each time we do a photoshoot. Also you my dude Christian, as we were definitely able to bang out some amazing captures in Minnesota. So we’ll definitely do more work real soon bro!
Becoming an entrepreneur…
Christian Vind: What are some of the downfalls of running your own business?
Andrew St. Jean (JayyManik): One of the many downfalls of running your own business is that you will run into pitfalls often. That includes funding your own equipment and sometimes you won’t make enough money unless you know what avenue of work you choose to go through. More likely even with collaborations, it will be difficult until you establish yourself as a legit business with a reputation behind your talent. The best way to stay motivated is to know that your work has value and as long as someone sees that, you will always grow and prosper in this business
Christian Vind: Can photography be therapeutic for those who have depression and anxiety?
Andrew St. Jean (JayyManik): Absolutely! In fact, any art can! I myself went through some really difficult times at a point in my life. It was more so in 2016 that I went through that kind of problem where I was going through a separation at that time. So photography helped me to cope with it and became sort of an escape from reality and those types of problems, but eventually was able to pull through it.
Christian Vind: Do you want to stay independent or potentially get signed to a major company? What is your ultimate goal?
Andrew St. Jean (JayyManik): I will say from my perspective, I would like to stay independent. The reasons why is that I get to maintain creative control while keeping the rights to photos I take at times. If the opportunity comes to work with the right company and the deal sounds right for me, then I will decide to take that chance and work with them.
My ultimate goal for me is to just be a well-known photographer who can have art truly respected from a creative artist like myself. Whatever is meant to be will surely be worth it in the end.