Interesting interview with John Murray, Award Winning Peter Hurley Trained Headshot Photographer. Positive Self Image & Esteem Advocate. See his website here.

What is your background briefly?

I grew up in Dublin city, an 80’s child. Studied Finance between NCI and the New England College of Finance in Boston.

Does it seem like a logical background to what you do now? 

It is something I use, I don’t think you can waste an education. No matter the field, there is always a cross over where the learning is relative.

1 min pitch for what you are doing now?

Science dictates we form our opinions of the people we meet in the first nine tenths of a second. Now, with so many of our first interactions being online, your headshot is that first impression. What I do is help my clients share a great first impression while helping them feel great about the results.

How long does it take you / can it take you to build up a rapport with a client and get an image you are happy with?

This is a funny one. It honestly depends on the individual. I have had clients where they nailed it in the first image like Nick Munier. The very first image was him laughing hysterically. Others it, can take a little more time to break down the walls and overcome that fear of having their photograph taken.

How does it work in terms of achieving a result that both you, and your subject are happy with? 

This is where trust comes in. I spend time with clients. Sharing little tips and tricks and teaching them how we read images and shapes. I spend more time discussing the images we have taken than taking images. This helps them to fully understand from the coaching process how they look. We work away from posing to get genuine, reactive human emotions.

You mentioned your mentor, how does/did he mentor you, and how did it affect your own growth and development as a photographer?

I trained with Peter in 2014. He spent time talking about human condition, human emotion and the responsibilities we have as photographers to leave our clients feeling amazing. He thought me more about finding what is inside and bringing that out. If you feel great you will look great!.

Now, I am part of an international community of headshot photographers called Headshot Crew. It is an open forum of some of the worlds leading headshot photographers, run by Peter. So he, and others consistently review each others images, offer advice and look to help everyone else develop and learn.

It changed my life and how I view photographs and the process. I learned to see beyond the basic point and execute a shot, to search for something familiar in each client.

Which other photographers or artists, in general, do you look to for inspiration?

I don’t really look for inspiration in artists or photographers. Of course Peter is a constant source of education and growth, as are other Headshot Crew photographers. I like photographers work, from Clive Booth to Gregory Heisler.

I actually find inspiration in the strangest places, TV programmes or people like DR. Joe Dispenza. More for talking and my writing than my photographic work. That usually finds it’s way into the studio too. The conversations can run deep at times and those sort of insights help.

What are your own favourite images that you have taken? 

Brian. My man in the Fedora Hat. I’ve blogged about it and spoken about it. Won awards for and been and acknowledged by some incredible names for the image.

 Figure: Brian. Man in the fedora hat

One of the greatest joys I have as a Headshot or Portrait photographer is that every image that is out there has feeling an emotion in it. When I shot weddings or fashion work even shooting landscapes in the early days. I hated more images I took than liked. Now, possibly because I review the images with the clients, I love my images and very rarely look at one after the fact and dislike it.

We like Conns, what do you like about them?

What’s not to like. They are brilliant. I buy everything in there because they are a centre of excellence. For the entertainment value of being in there. They quite literally can’t do enough for you.

They are amazing as a backup should something go wrong, I know of one photographer who was shooting wildlife abroad and had a camera fail. Mike shipped a new camera to him overnight and he was able to continue on his trip. Very few places nowadays that would do that for you. We all get dust on our camera sensors from changing lenses etc. Conns do free sensor cleaning if you buy your camera there. That’s a valuable saving as time creeps on.

On your bio you have a mix of things that you do, how do you balance them all & do you think this is the way more and more of us will work in the future?

I should hope it is something people do more. It’s not so much a mix of services or a mix of things. They are all one in the same. I make people feel good about who they are, by having them reflect on who they are rather than who they think the rest of the world expects them to be. Sometimes I do it with a camera in hand. Sometimes it’s by talking or writing about it. The balance is just good time management. When I have clients booked in, I am doing it from behind the camera. I have time allotted every day to write or research and the corporate talks are generally well planned.

Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked you?

We live in the Ad man’s world. We are told constantly we need to have products and look a certain way to attain that perfect lifestyle we see on TV, social media or in magazines. We are sold this as happiness and forget most of those actors. Put back on their own clothes and leave the cars and champagne back where they got it before going home.

We tell our children constantly that “It’s what is on the inside that counts” and very quickly forget that applies to us too.

If I could leave one message for anyone reading this. It is How you walk in the skin you wear is your decision. Why not embrace it? What other choice do you have?

So just take a second to reflect on your own relationship with how you feel you look and who you feel you are. If you are having a hard time with this, you just need to look a little bit deeper.

Edited and prepared by Oscar Michel, Masters in Journalism, DCU

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