New England-based photographer Roscoe M. Curry, perhaps better known by his Instagram handle “Ross the Photo Boss,” can sometimes be seen around Harvard’s campus photographing student events. Curry held a variety of nine-to-five jobs for years before leaving the corporate desk for a digital camera. His words of advice for aspiring young photographers? “Never forget why you fell in love with taking photos in the first place,” he says. Curry sat down with the Crimson to talk about his unusual start in photography and how he views his craft.
The Harvard Crimson: What was it about photography that first captured your interest?
Roscoe M. Curry: I always loved pictures and images, and I used different websites to look at really creative photos and beautiful pictures. I love beautiful paintings. So that’s what really got me attracted to photography in general. I decided to buy my first DSLR when I saw a photo of a Portuguese man-of-war. So I saw that one day while working a job that I hated, because I hate office jobs. The whole time, I was thinking about getting a camera. And then I saw that photo and it just sparked.
THC: What job was this?
RMC: I was selling tires. Sitting at a desk all day. I hated it, I hate sitting at a desk, I hate jobs like that. There’s no expression, it’s not creative. So I saw that photo, and I bought my first camera. I think a month later, I quit that job.
THC: That was a really quick turnover. How did you feel when you made that decision?
RMC: Yeah, well, I mean, it just kind of felt right. I can’t, it’s hard to explain. But it felt right, so I just went with it. And a few months later I shot a wedding.
THC: What were you doing for the time period between quitting your job and booking your first client?
I was just kind of shooting and practicing. When I was thinking about getting a camera, one of the first things I was told was you don’t want to shoot automatic, you want to shoot your camera in manual mode. So right out of the box, I never shot automatic. [The camera] stayed in manual mode so I was taking hundreds and hundreds of just awful shots. Knew nothing, but I eventually figured it out, and I loved every single moment of it. At first, I wasn’t even shooting models or anything. I was just shooting at state parks, my ex-girlfriend, stuff like that. But then when I went to Boston Portrait Meet—you can put the hashtag in there if you want, it’s #BostonPortraitMeet—that’s when my love for taking photos of people and portraits really kind of started. That’s when the ball really started rolling on that, and ever since then that’s what I’ve been doing.
THC: On your website, you say that your work focuses on beauty, portraiture, and fashion. Why those three genres?
RMC: I think it’s just kind of what feels right to me. I find people beautiful, you know what I mean? So I guess an artist is going to capture or paint what they find beauty in. Landscapes and stuff like that just don’t do it for me. I think they’re cool, but I mean like, if you notice—my landscape photography and cities and stuff like that, they’re really unsaturated so there’s not a lot of color in those photos. But if you look at photos of people, there’s contrast, there’s color, they’re a lot brighter, just because I find people bring color and difference to everything. I love that. I love people.
THC: Where do you find artistic inspiration for your photography?
RMC: Everywhere. I wish I could give you something more pointed though. Instagram, maybe? I feel like we kind of all work off each other. Like, I’ll see something that’s really cool, I’ll say, “Dude, that’s awesome, I really want to try it,” and then someone else will see my stuff.
THC: You often make appearances here on campus. What is it like photographing at a Harvard event?
RMC: It’s super fun. Super fun. It’s awesome.
—Staff writer Qianqian Yang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org