zero-to-hero-jaime-cifuentes Zero to Hero Story from Jaime Cifuenter
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Jaime Cifuentes

 16th Aug 2018

My name is Jaime Cifuentes, originally from Chile but I’ve lived more than half of my live in Melbourne, Australia. Leaving your family and country of origin behind is not an easy thing to do. Learning a new language and customs makes your comfortable space disappear. By trade I’m a Fitter and Turner, working as a CNC programmer and operator. To relax I like to read and listen to instrumental music. I have my own children now and also have two grandsons. Life gives you great moments and some very low points and I have experienced all aspects. Fortunately I settled in smooth waters, and my future looks safe and prosperous.



Something was missing, life couldn't just be work and sleep and I needed more. Then just at the right time (my 50th birthday) my family bought me a present for the occasion - a DSLR Canon 100d camera. Photography returned to my life then, I’d always liked it but it had never been a focus in my life.

This was the beginning of an unknown world. So many questions that needed an answer and the internet was the securest way to find the answers, and then Mike Browne came along. His wealth of YouTube videos gave me the proper educational base for my new interest. I did checked out other photographers, but no-one did it as easily and entertainingly as Mike.


From there on, I spent all my spare time - lunch breaks - waiting at the doctors, reading about photography. On weekends I went out very early (and still do), in complete silence so not to wake anybody at home, to do homework. I tried with trees, animals, lakes, etc. At home I have, hanging from the ceiling, an empty container of noodles, and with that I practice low light moving objects - Yes! My family give me that look... My next step was to photograph people - what a different story.


Mike gave me the confidence to tackle this new challenge., I felt I understood the way to do it and I took myself to the city. However I didn’t do it the straight forward way. I put myself on full view on the street, first a cyclist, then people with dogs, then just people. Not all in one day, step by step. No one reacted badly to me, people looked... people smiled... people wandered about. One cyclist turns around and I really panicked but all he wanted was to see the photo! Then he agreed to do some extra runs to help me get better images. Afterwards I sent him the result and he was happy.


What I learn was that contrary to what the news shows, most people living easy and normal lives. They are happy to be photographed, or they don’t care, they will not attack you for taken their photograph. You must know the moment and the space where you are doing it, but apart from that, it’s all good.

Now, people photography is not my thing, but I did have to try so as not to surrender to panic. Now I can easily direct people and talk with confidence about what I want to achieve on each occasion.  One year ago, my answer was as Mike Bowne said: "yes, I take a picture now and then", now I say: "I am not professional, but I take photography seriously".

A year ago, I bought myself with a new Canon 1200D,  equipment is not my priority, learning is crucial.

Thank you, Mr Browne, for help me be where I am and thanks to everybody that has seen my work and stopped to read this.

Jaime Cifuentes