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Meet Dean Farrell of Orcatek in Tempe

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dean Farrell.

Dean, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started photography way back in high-school. Not as a formal course of study, just something I enjoyed doing. Thru the years I continued my passion for photography and got more and more interested in all the different styles and how I could use them for my personal projects. Eventually people started asking me to buy my photos and to have me take photos for them. Years later the opportunity to share a studio came to me and I decided why not? I really enjoyed the things a studio brought to my photography but soon became frustrated with space I was sharing. Then luck struck again and a huge warehouse space became available that was perfect for a studio. After an insane month of construction, the space was done, and I had the studio I really wanted. The studio allowed me to do things I really wanted to, without the limits of my earlier studio. My creativity took off again. People seeing my work wanted me to teach them, so at first I did a few private lessons here and there. Now I teach between 40-100 new students every month in all levels of photography. Creating passion in a new group of photographers. Of course I still follow my desires and shoot all the time. I also went back to some of my video roots and have been heavily involved small video productions too. The creative outlet this brings keeps me motivated to constantly find new ways to work.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Photography, like all arts, is a rough road. Luckily I had a strong business background which helped me work thru them bumps. I had partners a few times early on, and found, for me, it doesn’t work. Not because they were bad people, but because most people don’t work the same way I do, and it creates friction and stress. And stress kills creativity. And of course the slumps in the economy really took a hit on business like photography that are considered to be discretionary expenses. So private clients and business clients all reduced spending. And then social media’s ever changing face. What worked for marketing early on, started to fail as social media changed. Constantly looking at how to change the way you reach your clients takes a lot of time.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
That’s a tough question. Probably the two things I am most known for are my altered reality photos, creating a scene from a series of photos to create an image that never existed. The fun part is often people who don’t know my work, don’t realize that it is not real. I often get asked how does my mind even come up with these things. The other would be my photography classes and workshops. People really enjoy my teaching style and that I have no secrets. I feel that giving people all the tools makes photography better for all.

I guess you would say I most proud of is the work I do with Flashes of Hope. This is an amazing organization provide photo shoots to families of children who are often terminally ill. Every time I get to photograph these amazing children I know that I have made a difference for their families.

What sets me apart from a lot of photographers is I tend constantly evolve, moving between styles as I find new things that pique my interest. Many photographers find one area the love, become very good at it, and then spend their careers doing that one thing. I prefer to try new things, take what I have developed in one area and see how I use it to do something fun in another.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up I was your typical science nerd who was also a joker. Loved to learn new things, loved computers and loved my camera. I think that’s why as digital photography took off, I jumped in with both feet. Mixing computers and cameras, I could only dream of that when I was growing up. I was always making things or writing music. And as a bit of a class clown, I wasn’t always the teacher’s favorite student. Humor was just a creative outlet that I needed.

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Image Credit:

All images Dean Farrell

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