Adrian Creary clicks with photography, graphics
Garfene Grandison, Gleaner Writer
Quietly - and occasionally not so quietly - there is a change of the guard in entertainment and the arts. Not that there isn't always a new generation rising, filled with new ideas (and often new ways to present old ideas), while older heads rest on their laurels or continue to till the soil they have broken. In music, literature, film, dance and photography, young Jamaicans are making strides inside and outside the country. The generation coming is innovative and technology driven - if still in need of guidance - and they have tremendous potential. But these trailblazing young guns have not yet hit the public eye.
Until now ... welcome The Next Set.
Ironically, Adrian Creary's career path started at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, with bad grades. After his first year in business management, he received poor results and lacked the motivation to continue. "I began to question whether this was the right course of study I should have been taking, and whether I wanted a career in business. I felt no passion towards the subjects I was taking and decided to change my direction before being caught working a job which I hated," he said.
After taking a series of aptitude tests, he discovered that media arts may have been a more suitable avenue. Creary started a summer course in film making at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC), where he found himself motivated, interested and doing more than what was required of him. The video-editing and graphic-design aspects caught his attention most and he decided to specialise in that field.
After learning about the online training programs available, he decided not to go back to UWI the following year. Instead, he studied and applied his knowledge to freelance projects for Usain Bolt, The Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival and Reggae Sumfest.
How long have you been in this field?
Where have you studied?
I did one year at UWI in 2007, CARIMAC summer school in 2008 and online training in various media courses through lynda.com, kelbytraining.com and others since 2008.
Why this career path?
My choice to pursue a career in photography and graphic design started as I decided what skills I was good at and what type of job I would like to have that would keep me motivated towards it every day. There is a passion I feel for making great photographs and designs that engage people emotionally, tell a story, communicate a common message and call people to action. The field is both an art and a science, and it is that balance that intrigues me. There are many technical skills that result in good work, but many often come second to the immediate emotional reaction a viewer gets when they see my work.
How was the process when you first started in this career field?
The process started out very exciting for me. After choosing design and photography, I threw myself headfirst into it, learning as much as I could in as many areas of study I could reach. I tried learning everything, but soon found out that being a Jack of all trades would not take me as far in any particular field. I decided to see what interested me the most, and get as deep into the subjects of graphic design, photography and photo editing. It wasn't a simple task, as I had to figure out what I needed to know from what was irrelevant, teach myself everything from the basics to advanced-technical skills as well as the history, philosophy and business aspects of the trade as well.
What are you currently doing to further develop your ambitions for your career path?
I am still regularly studying, even throughout the summer. I don't take holidays. I believe this field has room for lifelong learning, so I read many books and articles, as well as seek experience through new and challenging projects. I try to stay on the cutting edge, knowing that the tools of the trade are constantly evolving.
What do you hope to achieve in 10 years?
By the end of this year I hope to become an Adobe-certified expert in Photoshop and eventually become and Adobe-certified design specialist. These credentials, I hope, will send me on my way to starting a professional studio, where I would work from doing commercial photography, design, selling prints and possibly teaching others. I would like to be travelling much more, taking in the world through my camera, working in exotic locations, doing weddings, stage shows, landscapes, but mainly portraits of people and street life. Overall, I would love to explore a broader range of photographic ventures and large-scale design projects, constantly learning new techniques and concepts that will help me to produce more interesting and creative works.
What drives and inspires your career path?
What drives me to excel in my chosen field is that I want to leave a significant and lasting impression on the world. In graphic design, I think it's widely undervalued as a discipline of study in the region. While there is nothing wrong with graphics design being used in marketing, I believe there is more to the craft than selling products. In photography, I get to self-express, tell stories, have opinions and make people experience things they can only get through photography.
What do you have to offer as the future of the next generation?
My biggest focus is quality, raising the bar for what should be expected from graphic designers and photographers in Jamaica. I hope to inspire and affect people's lives. I don't think creativity can be taught, but I hope to begin to spread my knowledge in the field to others.
Do you consider yourself to be revolutionary? How do you plan to change the game (your field)?
Soon to be ... You are never too young to start thinking about your legacy. I am still on my way to what I believe will be great work. I plan on using the Internet to reach a broader, international audience and expose the beauty of Jamaica to whoever will view it. Financial success is a means to an end, allowing me to further refine my craft.
Besides access to education, what do you think needs to be done in order to transform youth in Jamaica?
Professionalism. There needs to be standards upheld, emulated and enforced in the working world. There also needs to be a greater enthusiasm on the part of mentors and teachers to inspire the youth of today to go further with the fundamentals they are being taught.
Distinguish yourself from your peers.
Experimental. I love new technologies and testing new techniques. I love being on the cutting edge, but I also like to keep my work simple, to the point, yet in a way that creates an impact. My style tends to be more modern instead of abstract or artistic, and I only try to show my best work and nothing below that, even if it means to show one out of every 100 pictures I take.
What's been the most challenging part of making a name for yourself in your field?
The most challenging part of making a name for myself in the field is the dual roles I must take because I freelance. I have to play the role of employee, in the sense that I do all the creative work, and manger, where I have to market and manage the business side of things as well. I'm not the best manager, and finding the time to do both roles poses a challenge. Getting people to understand the value of my work, why I am different and why they should hire me, is something I don't often look forward to. I am my own biggest critic, and though I may produce great work, I find it hard to sell myself when I know I have the potential to be doing so much better.
Old men rule the world, true or false? Why?
True. Old men rule the world because they have more of two things than anyone else, wisdom and experience. As all other qualities of human life, such as physical strength, good looks, health etc. begin to decline after time, wisdom and experience continue to increase to the day one dies. Young men may be smart or clever - or both - but their talents alone can never supercede a lifetime of hard work and learning from their own mistakes and the mistakes of others. This unique perspective on the world is why I believe they 'rule the world', in a sense.