Hello friends! I'm Joseph Lee and I am a professional photographer.
Growing Up: Farmland to City-Life
I grew up in a little town in Southern Oregon on a cattle ranch. Yep, you read that right. I was a cattle rancher. We also raised about 40 goats and several hundred chickens on a beautiful 120 acre plot of land.
At the age of 17, I was shipped out to Boston, Massachusetts for college, where I studied Applied Mathematics and Management/Finance at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
During school, I picked up photography and spent all my extra hours going to shows and taking photographs of friends. After photographing 30 events a year for school, I became fairly skilled, as you can imagine.
Decision to Quit Finance And Become A Pro Photographer
After graduation, I worked in finance as a stock trader and a financial advisor. After some rough times through the recessions of 2008-2011, I decided to go back to school and found time to pick up photography again! Then I decided to pursue a wild dream of being a photographer. Why not? I had a solid business foundation and a love of photography, so I started working professionally in 2014. This was one of the hardest and scariest decisions of my life.
I worked hard. I took every job I could get. But paying the bills was difficult, especially after my parents found out that I wasn't preparing for business school, and instead working on photography, they stopped supporting me. My goal was to earn around $2000/week, to pay for rent and barely feed myself. To achieve that, I even joined a nightclub to work as a nightlife photographer. Not my brightest achievement, and it probably set back my career by a couple years. I finally quit the nightclub in late 2015 to completely focus on photography, and more gigs started to kick in.
Fast forward to 2016, and I was getting gigs from Massachusetts General Hospital, the world's top hospital, Dana Farber, Hilton Hotels, and even discovering new opportunities, such as road races for Boston's Costume Dash 5K race, Loco Races Half Marathons, Boston Triathlon. I ended 2016 having completed 152 individual photoshoots for the entire year, averaging 3 per week.
2017 has been a great year to me. I've not only found more opportunities, but I've also delved into videography, researched more editing styles, and gained a lot more experience. As of July 2017, I've already done 97 photoshoots and we're only halfway through the year!
Why Do I Photograph?
This isn't a typical job. I'm not required to work 9am-5pm. I work when I want to and go where I want. And as glamorous as that sounds, I work extremely hard, sometimes I work 16 hours a day on the weekends, 90% of which is spent in front of a computer editing images.
And yet, I am truly a perfectionist. I strive to get better every single day. What drives me to photograph is my striving for perfection. Call it obsession. I know I will never reach perfection, but I will work and get closer to perfection everyday.
My goal is to produce beautiful images, capture special moments, and inspire people. Follow my journey!