Illustrating the neon-lit corners of Thailand’s bustling nightlife, a Digital a-Go-Go Stickman Q&A showed off the talent and skill of the bar-marketing and photography leader.
“Your photography is at a level where you could shoot supermodels for magazine covers. You get superb results in what is a very difficult environment to shoot in,” Stickman said in the Oct. 22 Q&A that gave those who have seen in photos in Thailand’s oldest and most-respected nightlife blog insight into the photographer and how the images were produced.
Digital a-Go-Go’s Thailand History
Digital a-Go-Go’s relationship with Thailand traces back to 1995, stamped in his passport during a brief stint in Bangkok while employed by Tokyo’s Nikkei Weekly.
The true draw of Thailand, however, began in 2003. Amid a recent divorce and facing the snow-covered landscapes of Virginia, he sought refuge in the tropical allure of Thailand. Though his initial visit was to Pattaya, inspired by internet tales of its vibrant scene, Bangkok was where he ultimately would land.
“By 2012, … I’d had it with Pattaya,” DGO said. “The rose-colored glasses long ago had broken and I wasn’t the green newbie anymore. All of Pattaya’s warts were obvious. I still visit Pattaya, but could not live there again. For me, it’s strictly a two-night town now.”
In 2016, he was ushered into the role of marketing manager for Nana Plaza, paving the path for the inception of Digital a-Go-Go.
Digital a-Go-Go Stickman Q&A: Talent, not Technology Trumps All
Despite seeing benefits from the transition from his initial Nikon set in 2006 to the superior Sony full-frame by 2018, The Digital a-Go-Go Stickman Q&A emphasized the importance of lighting in photography.
“The key to good photography is not having the best or latest camera or lenses. It’s the lights, and I’ve got a lot of them,” DGO said. “Most of my shoots use three lights on the models of various sizes. In some cases, I’ve used more.”
Blind Photographer Leads the Market
A truly remarkable tidbit that emerged from the Digital a-Go-Go Stickman interview is that DGO produces images superior to any others in the Bangkok market despite being legally blind. Even with his poor vision, Digital a-Go-Go has outclassed the fully sighted competition.
“Getting the latest-and-greatest camera doesn’t make you a better photographer,” DGO said, noting he only bought a new Sony A7iv last year do gain access to its leading-edge autofocus technology.
“With my vision, I need the autofocus to get my shots in focus. The rest of it? Composition, lighting, technical settings, posing, editing and processing are natural talent and learned skills that have nothing, or very little, to do with good vision.”
Getting the Shot Right the 1st Time
The Digital a-Go-Go Stickman Q&A also illustrated that true professional photographers get most of their final shot right in the camera, using editing mainly to perfect an already outstanding shot. It’s what sets them apart from the amateurs who rely on editing to salvage a few shots from every job.
“Getting a large number of ‘keeper’ photos to deliver to the client from every shoot is a basic requirement of bar shooting,” DGO said. “Most edits are just a few minutes” for each photo, he added.
Having said that, the editing DGO does is meant to show the ladies at their best with often dream-like results. Road-rash scars, motorcycle burns, bruises, moles, acne, C-section scars and stretch marks are all removed and smoothed over. Lips are reddened, eyes brightened, teeth whitened and hair lightened the Digital a-Go-Go Stickman Q&A said.
“Digital a-Go-Go is a marketing and PR company. We (and all my go-go bar clients) are not in the business of selling reality. We’re selling the dream, the fantasy of Thailand and go-go bars and bargirls,” DGO said.