A Kalon Internship: Ev Malcolm

Hi folks, Ev the intern here. My last week interning with Kalon Imaging seems like a good time to reflect on all the fun, learning and friendship I’ve experienced over the past four months. I became interested in photography during a Graduate Journalism program at USF St. Petersburg, and began to modestly pursue it as a means of income. I worked for corporate portrait studios and night clubs, and grew my skills little by little.

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But never having been formally trained, I was still seeking a mentor. This is how I found Kalon. I was so excited to hear that a new local studio (not a corporate money-pit) was seeking interns. And in the interview I met two brothers, Alex and Gio, with a love of the art and a vision for improving it. I was also introduced to their enterprising Business Coordinator and PR Professional, Gema (pronounced “Hema”).

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The very first event, a pre-launch and birthday party (for Alex), convinced me I was in the right place. I found myself surrounded by witty models, pro photographers, stylists and most surprisingly, fire-performers. The owners were immediately hospitable, lending me one of their L-series lenses to shoot the event. Being surrounded by creative people who share your own passion is a treat, no matter what field you’re in.

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My internship has been the best of both worlds for a writer/photographer. Gema trained me in the arcane arts of mass communication while Alex and Gio shared their hard-earned experience with lights, cameras and capturing action. I was amazed daily at how comfortable and fun it all was. After a certain age society labels you an “adult” and you feel obligated to hunker down at a desk for 40 hours per week. But Kalon never felt oppressive — even when we’re working hard, we’re creating. Whether it was a rock band photoshoot or a community outreach campaign, the process was always fun and the results tangible.

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I was also afforded plenty of opportunities for “field trips” with the crew. Fashion shows, art galas, model shoots on the beach, and downtown architecture tours were all part of the job. These made any day spent entirely inside on the computer worthwhile. I feel that people connect most when they travel together, and we did quite a bit of that. The connection between the staff, the models, and the artists was obviously about more than making money. Everyone was as much a friend as a co-worker.

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I also never ceased to be surprised by the level of hands-on work I was trusted with. Lots of interns spend more filing papers and running for coffee than actually working, and I probably only went to Starbucks three times. In fact, Alex brought the coffee most days. I was trusted to borrow the equipment, manage the blog and social media, plan campaigns and represent the studio at events. My resulting resume is much more authentic than a few pages of fluff with a complementary reference at the bottom.

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The most important development in my time at Kalon has undoubtedly been the network of talented individuals I’ve met. My skills and experience have improved in both photography and public relations, but in a vacuum that would mean nothing. I now have an expansive group of professionals to collaborate with going forward, and it grows each time we meet.

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I know that these are people who would be happy to create together in the future, and that I can find them doing what they love, one way or another, any time down the road. I’m excited to have been a part of this studio at its beginning, and hopeful that future interns will get to experience the same closeness and instruction that I have. I also hope that everyone reading and following our work has enjoyed it, and will continue to enjoy it going forward. I know that we’ve enjoyed creating it.

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