SHOOT WHAT YOU LOVE. WORK HARD. STAY HUMBLE.
I once showed my portfolio to one of my favorite photographers in NYC. He flipped through the pages of my images saying “this is cool, he’s cool, she’s cool… this isn’t cool.” He asked me why I had a few of those images my book and if I thought they were “cool.” They weren’t. I realized that I was putting things in my portfolio that I thought other people wanted to see instead of focusing on what I liked.
That moment was one of the biggest lessons for me. Be interested in your work and your work will be interesting. You will never find your authentic voice if you are constantly trying to please others or do what you think they want to see. Shoot what you love and the work will come!
THE LEGEND OF CARLOS SANTANA
I waited anxiously backstage for about 15 minutes before his car arrived. Santana and his entourage finally emerged from the luxury black SUV that pulled up. When he got out of the car, he looked up towards the stage in my direction. The first thing he asked was, “Where’s Rolling Stone?” I was on assignment for RS and we scheduled a quick backstage portrait with Santana just before his set.
I introduced myself and he asked me if I’d “seen Elton John in the drivers seat,” jokingly referring to his personal driver who also happened to be the RocketMan’s doppelgänger. I laughed and then sensing the familiar urge, I quickly began taking candid photos as he proceeded walking towards the stage. I followed him out onto the stage and was able to experience his musical genius firsthand, photographing his set up close and personal at BottleRock’s Firefox Stage on Sunday May 26.
After seeing my image, Santana described to Rolling Stone: “It’s kind of the same thing I did when I was at Woodstock. I was praying, ‘Keep me in tune and in time. I can do the rest’.” Such a beautiful description of an intimate, pre-show ritual he’s been doing for the past 50 years.
For me, capturing iconic moments like these are what make being a photographer so rewarding.
WHAT’S IN MY BAG
Profoto Air Remote
and of course my BLACKRAPID strap
Koury Angelo is an award-winning Rock & Roll and celebrity portrait photographer based in Los Angeles, California. After graduating from The University of Texas at Austin, he moved to Paris, France, where he received his European Masters from Speos Institute of Photography. Koury began his professional career in New York City, where he assisted many of the leading photographers in the industry.
Currently, Koury is making his mark as one of the top photographers in the music and entertainment world, and his work has been featured on the covers of Billboard, People, The Hollywood Reporter and more. His other clients include Apple, Rolling Stone, Red Bull, Netflix, Hilton, AMEX, Spotify, Converse, Adidas, Bacardi, Bud Light, Calvin Klein, Chevy and Facebook, to name a few.