WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PICK UP A CAMERA?
I've been interested in photography since I was a child taking photos of my toy trucks with a Kodak Insta-matic. In college, I experimented with infrared film and shot a whole slew of surreal landscapes as an Art major. Then I put the camera away for a good long while, figuratively speaking, until a perfect storm in the mid-2000s of affordable prosumer DSLR technology, model/photographer social networking sites, and a shared interest with one of my good friends launched me into model photography.
WHAT PARTICULAR CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE WITH EROTIC PHOTOGRAPHY AS OPPOSED TO OTHER GENRES?
I don't really consider what I shoot to be "erotic." At its most provocative, my photography features women in lingerie in slightly seductive poses - I don't shoot nudes or overtly sexual themes. And to be honest, I find this type of photography much easier to shoot than, say, weddings or children's portraits. Generally speaking, the women I work with want to be photographed and they are cooperative and patient with the process!
DO YOU PREFER TO SHOOT WITH FILM OR DIGITAL?
I learned how to shoot, develop, and print both black and white and color film in college, but I much prefer the immediacy of digital photography.
WHAT KIND OF SHOOTS WOULD YOU LIKE TO WORK ON IN THE FUTURE?
I'd like to shoot in more of an editorial style where the whole of the photograph tells a story. I'd like to take the time to develop themes, add complementary wardrobe and props, and fully visualize a shot before I even pick up a camera. And I'd like to continue to work with creative and artistically-inclined models.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR ANYONE JUST STARTING OUT IN THE INDUSTRY?
Practice your craft as much as possible, paying particular attention to lighting and composition. But while you're doing that 12 hours a day, spend the other 12 hours learning as much as you can about sales, business, and marketing yourself. There are a lot of lousy photographers out there making a living because they're good sales people. If you can make yourself into a phenomenal photographer and a self-promotional machine, you can write your own ticket.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER CREATIVE MEDIUMS YOU WORK IN?
Yes! I've been a musician since I was a kid and I still play rhythm guitar in one band and bass in another. And I pay my mortgage with my day job, editing promos at BBC America. Watch Orphan Black!
WHAT KIND OF MUSIC DO YOU LIKE?
I was weaned on punk putting the Ramones above all else. Later I moved on to techno and worshiped at The Crystal Method altar while simultaneously chilling with the Dandy Warhols. Lately, I haven't found anything new that I really like.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO FOR FUN?
Go on adventures with my three young daughters, drive my 1966 Mustang, and root for the New York Rangers. Oh, and photograph tattooed models in lingerie. ;)
See more of Paul Musilli, Blue Box Photography: