PHOTOGRAPHY: An Interview with Doc Romano

“I ‘m a realist. I am indecisive at times, I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle but I’m genuine and honest to a fault sometimes. I don’t give up easily, when I do then I’m done for good. I am stubborn, sarcastic, outspoken, very, very blunt.” – Doc Romano

Angela: Thank you for joining me for this interview, Doc! Jumping right in, what is the most important thing you’ve learned in SL so far? It can be philosophical or technical. Anything you wish.

Doc: That is quite easy, actually. The most important thing to me is to keep in mind that every avatar has a RL persona attached to it with RL views and talents, and all influenced by each individual’s experience. While SL is a game to some it can be – and is – a RL to others.

Angela: You have been taking photos in SL for many years. What has inspired you in the past and what inspires you now?

Doc: In the past when I first started taking photos, my inspiration came from my own land designing, making it look as real as possible and capturing it through my eyes, so to speak. Now, still much of the same but music and my thoughts at the time play a much bigger roll. Things going on in my RL sometimes or simply a much needed excursion to a destination sim will spark a thought or idea. I don’t have time to do my own landscaping anymore so that inspiration is gone! LOL

Angela: Do you have a routine you follow when you take pics?

Doc: Sometimes a song will prompt an idea but more times than not I will think of a song to join after the picture. And let me tell you, that has led to many photos not being posted. If I cannot match a song or a thought or quote with the feel of the picture, it may come back at a later date but often it is in a lifetime abyss folder! LOL! My favorite windlights are Jay Battlescars but I most always tweak them. As most people probably are, I am very picky in my lighting choices. I do use an editing program called Paint Shop Pro. I dislike Photo Shop.

Angela: If a new photographer were to ask you what is your secret for taking the photos you take, what are the top three things you would advise them to do?

Doc: First thing I would advise is create your own style first and foremost. Your style is what will set you apart from others. Secondly, have patience because without it you won’t have inspiration. And lastly, never be afraid to ask for help! A photographer should always be willing to share tips and tricks. No one can steal your style once you establish one of your own. Always remember where you came from – your beginnings and the ones who helped you along the way. Pay it forward.

Angela: Awww! Great answer!

Doc: One more thing I would advise is to join photo contests. They will improve your skills. Completions sometimes will challenge you but a lot of them are fun and have themes which, in turn, will feed thoughts and breed inspiration.

Angela: Great advice! Back tracking just a bit, what led you to begin taking photos in the first place? You joined SL in 2009 but didn’t open your Flickr until 2015. Did something happen to cause you to start sharing pics with others?

Doc: I just saw others taking pictures and started asking questions. Most things in the beginning were trial and error and youtube videos. I had an old Flickr in the past and an older Facebook too, so I had tinkered with them some before I actually established my permanent Flickr.

Angela: Do you recall any of the youtube videos? Did you have a favorite channel?

Doc: I never really watched one certain channel on youtube. Mainly, I would search for things related to SL photos, and then the editing which, at first, was quite overwelming!

Angela: So, Candlewood is a destination sim you began with your partner, Addy. Can you tell us how it got started and is there significance of the name Candlewood?

Doc: When I first met Addy, I quickly realized she had a talent for designing sims and always would encourage her to do it. In order for that to happen, we purchased a sim and she created a destination sim under a different name. Things changed in RL due to some health issues with my mother and we had to give that up for a while. Once I was able to come back more often, I promised to once again open a destination sim and Candlewood was born.

The name was inspired by a truly funny private joke about Motel 6. I dont recall the exact wording but it all boiled down to the saying “We’ll leave the light on for you.” So I was looking for something like “We’ll leave a candle burning for you.” It was quite funny and you hadda be there, I suppose. But… true story!

Angela: It’s a beautiful name! So the last question I ask everyone… what has the TSFTG group meant to you? Has this group “Too Sexy for This Group” affected you in any way? I know you haven’t really been around much lately to be a part of it but do you have any thoughts?

Doc: While I am not around much to partake in events, etc. I do follow what is going on in the group, participate whenever I can and read the magazine. I am impressed with how much the group has grown to much, much more than it was just a year ago. I’m also impressed with the help it provides for new photographers and experienced alike. For that, I certainly give huge props to you and all your staff that make all these super things possible. And if there is a reader out there who is a new photographer – or even an Oldie like myself – and not part of the group, then what the heck ya waiting for? Go hit that JOIN button!!

Angela: Aww! Thank you so much for your continued support, Doc! It’s been a pleasure to interview you. You are awesome!

Doc Romano