Every fall, AMLI throws a social media contest for the residents living at its communities around the country. Last fall, we held an Instagram and Facebook photo contest called My AMLI View, which sought the brightest, best, and most creative shots residents could muster from in and around their AMLI communities. Some residents chose to snap photos from their balconies, others looked to their building’s unique design for inspiration, and still some chose to focus on the natural areas and neighborhood surrounding their AMLI community. A select few even decided to capture a scene straight from their very own living rooms.
The point of it all was to get residents’ creative energies flowing and foster pride in the local neighborhoods and communities in which they live. Each AMLI community champions a feel of its own that blends the character of its surroundings with the style of the day. Apartments in Dallas will be different from apartments in Atlanta, and apartments in Seattle are in a class of their own. And those local particularities were put on full display by AMLI residents living in the nine regional areas where AMLI has apartment communities.
A cohort of AMLI judges narrowed down a pool of hundreds of photo submissions to an impressive group of finalists consisting of three photos from each of AMLI’s nine regions. Residents and the public at-large then voted for their favorite of the bunch and a week later winners emerged. The photo with the most votes won the grand prize, and nine runners-up with the most votes in their regions won prizes as well.
Above is the photo of the grand prize winner, LaRon from AMLI Uptown Orange. His long exposure shot of the award-winning parking garage at the community won him a GoPro HERO5 Black, DJI Phantom 3 drone, and an Instax Mini 9 camera with film. We conducted a short interview with him about his photo, his process, and his inspiration. Find the interview below.
1. What kind of camera(s) do you use?
The camera I use is the Fujifilm X-Pro2 (Graphite Edition). I like that there is an optical view finder and an electric view finder all in one.
2. Do you use any special equipment?
I don’t really use anything special when taking photographs, but if I do, I like to use a tripod. I used one for the photo I entered in the competition.
3. What types of things do you like to take photos of?
What inspired me to take photos is my love for cars. I would always see cars that I love, but wouldn’t be able to explain to another person how it looked. I figured if i bought a camera I would be able to take a photo and have a memory to show others the car I saw that day at a car show or just driving on the street which made my explanation way less complicated.
4. What was the inspiration for your My AMLI View photo?
I was just driving home everyday from work and seeing that colorful point of view. I always thought to myself that would be a cool picture at night when the lights are turned on. The first thing I thought was how would I get a clean picture without the cars driving by. With a little thinking I came up with doing a long exposure shot, which made the cars look like they were driving at the speed of light, but I was still able to get the building nice and clear. This shot can only done by using a tripod.
5. Are there any Instagram accounts or photo blogs you love to follow?
My favorite Instagram accounts to follow are @portraitpage and @richardpardon. Portraitpage posts great photos of people and gives you information on who shot the photo. You can click on that person’s name and maybe they can inspire you to go out and create new ideas and images. I follow @richardpardon because I can tell he loves cars. That’s all he shoots and his shots come out perfect. Since he’s a professional photographer, I can learn from some of the pictures he puts up.
6. Do you have any tips for aspiring photographers out there?
The only tip I have is practice, practice, practice. Only with practice can you become a better photographer. I’ve never taken any lessons. All I did was buy a camera and practice. YouTube is your friend—they have a lot of information on there where you can self-teach.
7. What’s the best part about living at your AMLI community?
I have to start with the leasing office. Everyone in the leasing office is so nice and acknowledges me anytime I walk in, no matter what time it is. They make you feel like you’re at home. Secondly, the cleanliness of the property and the go-green and efficiency-minded attitude is great—who doesn’t like to save money when they can? On top of that, the amenities are awesome. The food trucks every month save me from cooking every now and then. Lastly, with all the events, you can be proactive in meeting people at the community. I feel like I chose the right place to be.
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