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The One and Only..
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Mimek's avatar
I've recently embarked on a new project. Simply named, the Google Maps Project.

What does the project entail?
Essentially, I'm going around South Florida and snapping photos of businesses. I then upload them to Google Maps and everyone benefits from higher-quality photos on Google Maps, instead of the standard Cell Phone photos that people frequently upload. This helps visitors get a better understanding of how the business looks and it gives businesses a better opportunity to capture local traffic, since the quality of photos could help them out.

What was the inspiration?
I use Google Maps every time I travel. I started noticing that it's sometimes difficult for me to understand a location, based on user photos. I often find myself searching the Street View to figure out what the building looks like and how the parking is. I'm an anxious driver, so this type of information is vital to me keeping my cool. If I get lost when I'm looking for a place, I just won't go. I know that I'm not the only one like this, so it's possible that people are missing out on opportunities and businesses are losing out on foot traffic.

How does it work?
In order for this to be successful, it's easier for me to work with the business, instead of just showing up and taking photos of whatever I deem to be important. The business may have different locations, which they want to showcase. If a business reaches out to me, we'll have a short conversation regarding the business overall, what they would like to showcase on their Google Maps page and discuss potential shots that they would want to obtain. We'll then schedule a time for me to show up and I'll work my magic.

How many photos will be taken?
Honestly, I'll probably take several dozen, but Google Maps has a limit of 14 per user.  So I can only upload 14 to the site.  If you have additional that you would like to upload with your own Google account, you're more than welcome to!

Can I have a copy of the photos?
I don't see why not!  Please keep in mind that my watermark will be on all photos and I'll respectfully ask that you not crop it out or remove it.

Is this just for photos?
Yes and no. I want to take the photos for the business, but if they need help with claiming and setting up their presence on Google Maps, I'm more than happy to assist. I'm a software developer by trade, with experience in online marketing, so this type of thing is what I have done in the past. To a certain extent, of course.

Who is eligible?
I currently live in Sunrise, FL, so this is really meant for the South Florida area. Your business must be one, where you have people who visit. I'd prefer not to do product shots for online stores.

What have you shot, so far?
I'll make sure to keep my website updated with my current work for this project: derektorrence.com/google-maps-…

What's the cost?
This is free. It's my way of giving back to the community, which I've grown up in. If you want to feed me as a thank-you, I'll never decline. I see Cherry Coke as a currency ;) However, there really isn't any cost associated with it. I just want to get out there and get South Florida on Google Maps.

How can I sign my business up?
Contact me directly via the contact form on my website: derektorrence.com/contact
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Mimek's avatar
I'm a realist.  I know that I'm not going to win many (if any) awards for my photography.  However, I'm still confident in my work.  When I take my camera out and start to frame a photo, I know that I'm going to make magic, whether others see it or not.

My statement above is pretty much how I feel every artist should feel: Self-aware, humbled and confident.  We all start somewhere and we all are heading in our own direction.  Would I classify myself as an artist?  Well, that's a blurry line because I'm more of a hobbyist than anything.  Would I love to do things professionally?  Would I love to sell some of my work?  Would I love to have my work recognized?  To answer a series of questions with a question: Who wouldn't?

I think it's important to experiment.  I primarily use dA to search for photographers, but there are times when I want to see other forms of art.  I've noticed that some of the best artists have periods where most of their work looks the same, then they move on to another experiment.  I'm pretty much the same way, so it makes me happy to know that I'm on the right track.

What am I talking about?

Well, let's use photography as an example.  You may stumble across a photographer who has 5 cat photos in a row, followed by 6 buildings and then they focus on nature shots for a few months.  This is amazing.  This shows that they're still discovering themselves.

I tend to have sprints where I'm experimenting with a certain subjects
Note my "Cat Nap" gallery: mimek.deviantart.com/gallery/8…

Other times, I'm experimenting with a new lens.
Such as the following experiments with my Sigma:
Napping Clark - After the Nap by Mimek
Napping Clark by Mimek
Dabuddyface by Mimek

Maybe I'm on vacation and just want to share what I saw:
Note my "Caribbean Honeymoon" gallery: mimek.deviantart.com/gallery/5…

Sometimes, I'm just flat-out experimenting with things I saw others do.
Such as my attempt at catching a sunrise:
Sunrise Canal by Mimek

My whole point is that we're all attempting to find ourselves and discover that inner artist.  Some people hone in on a certain style and they master it to the point that it's all they want to do.  As for me, I enjoy diversity.  I believe my inner artist is just a curious guy, who's out there with a camera and no clue what he's going to shoot next.

My question for anyone reading this: What drives you to discover your inner artist?

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Mimek's avatar

1. How long have you been on DeviantArt?
I've been here for 11 years!
2. What does your username mean?
It was a name that I made up for myself when I was in middle school.  An online persona, really...
3. Describe yourself in three words.
I'm. So. Hungry.
4. Are you left or right handed?
5. What was your first deviation?
I think it was some photo montage of myself with purple hair.  It's not up there anymore.
6. What is your favourite type of art to create?
7. If you could instantly master a different art style, what would it be?
8. What was your first favourite?
Self Portrait in Ornament by Beatfox
9. What type of art do you tend to favourite the most?
10. Who is your all-time favourite deviant artist?
I don't really have an all-time favorite.  I follow different styles of artists so that I can gain inspiration from different areas.
11. If you could meet anyone on DeviantArt in person, who would it be?
icesis.deviantart.com/ (My Amanderrrrr)
12. How has a fellow deviant impacted your life?
Viewing different photographic styles throughout my years on her and given me inspiration to try different avenues.  I don't think I'd be where I am today without deviantART
13. What are your preferred tools to create art?
Camera and Lightroom
14. What is the most inspirational place for you to create art?
At home, oddly enough.  Most of my photos are of animals haha
15.What is your favourite DeviantArt memory?
The first time I purchased my membership.  I knew at that point that I was confident enough in my work to invest in tracking it.

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Mimek's avatar
I've never used the journal feature on here, but now that I've sucked it up and purchased a 12-month membership (as opposed to renewing it whenever I feel like it) I think I should start getting a little more involved in the community.  I've been around for 6 years and don't have too much to show for it.  This journal would be a great place for me to share my thoughts on what's going on in in photography life.

I sent my D90 out for repair a few weeks ago and I'm finally getting it back, so I've decided that I'd really like to take a trip around South Florida and photograph what my backyard has to offer.  I'm really not sure about where to go, but that's the fun in it, right?  I have a new flash, just ordered the dA camera backpack and am looking into a new lens.  I've decided on a Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 AF Prime lens.

Any thoughts on where I should begin my journey?

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Google Maps Project by Mimek, journal

Discovering Your Inner Artist by Mimek, journal

DeviantArtist Questionnaire by Mimek, journal

South Florida Journey by Mimek, journal