Rollence Patugan (www.rollence.com) left the corporate world, or shall we say it left him in 2001. He decided to pursue his dream of becoming an actor while freelancing as an IT professional. At some point during this journey, he stepped behind the lens bringing his knowledge and experience with theatre. Ever since then, he has been in the pursuit of capturing through photography, those fleeting moments with people. Rollence is a commercial as well as a fine-art photographer who has been a recurring exhibitor for Month of Photography Los Angeles, Smashbox Studios, and City of Brea Art Gallery. He uses both digital and analog formats while taking advantage of today’s technologies by incorporating them into his photography. Rollence is a faculty member of the Santa Monica College Photography Department and is very happy to share his creative and technical skills to students at the Los Angeles Center of Photography.
LACP Interviews Rollence Patugan
LACP asks Rollence Patugan ten questions about his background, career in and beliefs about photography.
Los Angeles Center of Photography: What kind of photographer are you?
Rollence Patugan: I am a commercial and fine-art photographer.
LACP: How long have you been shooting?
RP: 9 years.
LACP: Where did you get your training?
RP: I studied photography at Santa Monica College where I also teach in addition to LACP.
LACP: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?
RP: When I took my first studio portrait class using a medium format camera and black and white film, I knew that was for me.
LACP: Did you ever come close to giving up?
RP: Sure. While I still believe working as a photographer assistant is very important, you can get caught up in the cycle which can be physically and mentally draining at times that the last thing you want to do is pick up a camera. I suggest finding a balance between paying your bills and dedicating time for your own photography work. It’s easier said than done.
LACP: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?
RP: I have sacrificed any “normal” hours of work because as a photographer, you are always ready for that next job. This can mean working late nights and weekends due to deadlines and/or to free your schedule for that next gig. And vacations with the spouse are no longer “normal” with a 3rd wheel (camera gear). But normal is boring, right?
LACP: What have you gained by being a photographer?
RP: Photography has given me a new path in life that includes not only creating art but teaching as well.
LACP: What classes do you teach at LACP?
RP: Lightroom 1 and 2.
LACP: What do you love most about teaching?
RP: Sharing. I enjoy sharing what I already love to do with people and giving them the ability to create. It is quite satisfying to see former students grow and progress with their work. It’s always a great reminder of that initial spark I had when I started photography.
LACP: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?
RP: My advice to anyone thinking about a career in photography is to be open to any opportunities that come your way. Chances in any creative field are already difficult to come by, and just because a particular photo assignment does not “define” you as a photographer, it doesn’t mean you can’t pay some bills or purchase gear with those earnings in the meantime. Every door that opens is a networking opportunity as well. More often than not, people get jobs from referrals. And be nice to everyone on set. We are not saving lives here. We’re taking pictures!