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Joey L. got his first camera when he was 11 years old, and started shooting professionally when he was 16. Now, at just 23, he’s a world-renowned photographer — most notably for shooting the iconic poster for the first Twilight movie. During his 3-day Commercial Photography workshop, Joey shared his advice to other young photographers starting out. In short: Ignore critics, because your talent will stand on its own.

photo_by_lara_jade

Talent and dedication — not age — are the only true litmus tests, Joey explained. “I’ve been working since I was 16, it’s not that many years, but whether I started at 16 or 30, it’s the same effort that you put into it. So my thing would be, you’re never going to be able to change those opinions, but you can prove them wrong.”

Asked how he responds to ageist critics, Joey said, “It’s impossible to change people’s opinion of you if you’re not being taken seriously. That still happens to me. You can never change that about people; they’re always going to judge young people in that way — but what you can do is excel, and just prove yourself.”

Joey added that even he is guilty of judging photographers based on their age. “Even when I meet a young person — I started when I was 16 professionally — when I see them doing the same, I’m like ‘ugh, dumb kid.’ Even I do that, right? And I came from there. But if you can prove me wrong, then I will judge [you] like a professional.”

To this day, Joey revealed, he does not include his age on his website. “I do hide my age on my portfolio, because I know there are a lot of people that have a problem with that, so I don’t display my age, but obviously, when someone meets me, they’ll see.” And when a potential client sees Joey L’s extraordinarily-talented work, it’s clear that his age is a moot point.