New Colony caught up a few times with Mike “Beachmonkey” Luczaj while he was on a recent trip to Louisville, KY. We made several attempts to for a “lunch interview” in the city, but time and circumstances would not allow. This situation game birth to a phone interview during his customary jaunt southward to Myrtle Beach.
The following is a result of a combination of highway hysteria, cell phone coverage issues, and call waiting mutes. Overall, it was a perfect interview.
NC: It seems since the last time we saw you that Beachmonkey.com has really expanded, who and what is Beachmonkey.com?
Mike Luczaj: Beachmonkey.com is going through a metamorphosis and is going to run NATIONALLY. Our mission and goal is to produce the world's best site that captures the good life; anything socially fun. Whether its pictures from nightlife or festivals or where to go, what to do (call waiting bleep)… what events are happening. Each town has a scene, a local flavor, and we want to not only tell that story, but be a part of its creation.
We want to bridge the whole experience between venues, promoters, DJ’s, bands, photographers and videographers. Beautiful pictures and videos of each city’s scene and create something beautiful.
NC: With this expansion of Beachmonkey.com, will the headquarters be in Myrtle Beach? Will there be a place that Beachmonkey calls home?
Mike Luczaj: Currently our national headquarters is Myrtle Beach, SC, we have a small office we call the “Beachmonkey secret compound”. It’s a pretty fun place that has a good creative buzz about it. It is also a block to the ocean. That alone is the best perk on earth.
We are growing rapidly, once we're done, we'll employ anywhere from 300-1000 people. A business about the size of Groupon.
Below is a list of the places we are in or will be very soon:
Myrtle Beach, SC
San Diego, CA
NC: As you travel from place to place in throughout the country, what changes in your style of photography?
Mike Luczaj: When I go to new and different places I've never shot before, I have to reinvent myself, make sure everyone knows what I'm doing, make sure everyone sees the pix I'm taking, that is extremely important.
Once people see the pix, they become really involved, before you know it (dropped signal momentarily) i've taken pictures of the entire club, by that time you can get more creative by the end of the night people are comfortable with you.
NC: What makes a night successful for you?
Mike Luczaj: To me, its the buy-in from the crowd. One of the hardest places for me to shoot is when there is a language barrier. It makes it extremely difficult. Some people don't understand why you are taking their picture and you have to explain (call waiting)…a place like Miami, they see a photographer, and they are ready to shoot! You don't have to even aim your camera.
Technically, a lot has to do with lighting, background, equipment. Every place is different and especially in clubs, everything has to be exact to make good photos.
NC: Mike, what are some of the highlights of your professional photog career?
Mike Luczaj: Once in Miami, FL, a random girl I didn't know, when I went to introduce myself as the photographer for the event said, “You're BeachMonkey! I know who you are!” She had seen my work on myspace and facebook. When that happens, it's really a highlight of my life.
NC: What would Mike “Beachmonkey” Luczaj be is he weren't a photographer/beachmonkey?
Mike Luczaj: Probably stuck in my old 9-5 thinking, “40 years to retirement.” Miserable not knowing what to do. Probably thinking about the beach and the nightlife.
NC: Where can people see your work?
Mike Luczaj: www.beachmonkey.com
Facebook profile pix, Myspace pix are still floating around.
NC: Why is BeachMonkey.com so special to you?
Mike Luczaj: …giving people information and being able to provide a pathway to joy. Just being able to share that with people who are similar. I love the passion behind it and the ability to share with friends. It allows us all to relive a captured moment.