The Malta Independent 15 June 2024, Saturday
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Calvin Jurkovic: The Maltese director of photography at Formula 1

Sunday, 21 January 2024, 08:15 Last update: about 6 months ago

The Malta Independent on Sunday met Calvin Jurkovic, a well-established director of photography and a Lead Camera operator in the advertising industry

It all started in 2018 for Calvin. His mother got diagnosed with cancer and it was an extremely hard experience for him and his sister to handle. Along with other family problems, Calvin made the decision to stop his last year of University (Middlesex University, degree in Computer Science and Systems Engineering) and get a job to save up for a camera and pursue his passion for photography. Over the years, growing up, he was pushed in many other directions and life careers - vet, then architect and finally, a computer programmer. Calvin loved computers, gaming, technological stuff but not necessarily programming itself. Computer programming was becoming very popular at the time and paid well so his mum always pushed him in that direction. Calvin had once brought up the idea of studying and learning film/media/photography after his 'O' Levels and before going to university but it was almost frowned upon because he was told that that path is not a safe and viable path for the future; it will not give you a wealthy life and it would be a waste of time. Calvin heard this over and over again, from family members and sometimes indirectly also from his friends.

After leaving university and working a year at a gaming computer store, in summer of 2019, Calvin quit his job and bought a very cheap Canon camera. This was the beginning of what would eventually be his big boom. Calvin did not make this decision alone as one of his motivators, Andrew Mercieca, another local photographer at the time, seeing the passion and motivation that Calvin had, believed in him and gave him the courage to move forward.

 

Summer 2019-March 2020 (Defhouse)

Calvin started taking pictures at almost anything he could find. He reached out to businesses, organisations, events' organisers, clubs and food establishments, everything and anything he could to learn, create and improve his craftsmanship. Calvin also reached out to car dealerships, as his dream is to create and produce films in the automotive world. Just as much as cameras and, if not more, Calvin has a huge love for cars. After just a couple of months, Calvin was shooting some of the hottest nightlife events in summer, mind you, for an extremely minimal pay if not for free. His priority is, nor will it ever be money; Calvin always says 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing. He just wants to be out producing content that makes him and others smile. After shooting so many nightlife events, up to eight a week, Calvin's name started to go round more and people started seeing Calvin's style of pictures. By the end of the year, Calvin was the go-to-photographer that people reached out to for the hottest parties. At the time he worked for companies such as District, Numero Uno, Shadow Club, Bolt Food, Enervit and more.

Calvin eventually got an offer from a friend to go check out the biggest content house in Europe at the time, Defhouse, based in Milan, which was looking for an upcoming content producer that was different from the typical Italian. However, Calvin was not interested in the life of influencers, brands, TikTokers and that kind of lifestyle, and was very reluctant to accept but with a little bit of pressure and a chat with his friend, Edward Tortell, he was convinced that he had nothing to lose and can only gain experience. Before he knew it, Calvin was on a flight to Milan, on the way to meet Defhouse. Defhouse consists of eight creators who live in a double penthouse apartment, custom-built by an artist, which home is listed in the top 50 Forbes artistic houses. Calvin at this point had absolutely no clue what he was getting himself into - a completely new world out of his comfort zone.

In these four days he gave it all and worked days and endless nights. He enjoyed it, he networked, he made friends. A little difficult at times because of the language barrier because some of them didn't know a word in English. Defhouse is run by Giuseppe Greco (@vegasyt) and Luca Cassadei, two extremely successful businessmen, sharks at the top of their game. Calvin looked up to them and only wanted to learn more of their ways and how they did what they did. Calvin knew that this opportunity could lead him to life-changing events in his life, even though it might not be cars! It was a new level, a very high level and that not many people get the opportunity, so he worked as hard as he could to show them that in fact he is a talented photographer and upcoming videographer.

During this time Calvin started experimenting with videography and started delivering video products; a new obsession that he wanted to learn and master. Then, a couple of hours before his flight, the boss offers Calvin to stay with them for one extra week, all expenses paid. He accepted straight away and from there started his new adventure - one week turned into two, two weeks turned into a month; a month turned into three and before he knew it he was living in a world of fashion, expensive crazy lifestyles - life experiences that he might never experience again and a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Calvin started by helping the creators to produce videos for their social media and YouTube videos for Defhouse. Calvin would need to go through days' worth of footage all in Italian, yes Italian, cut and edit it. Needless to say, he learnt Italian very quick. After a couple of months, the boss realised the potential Calvin had, especially with his character - outgoing, great energy, overachiever, perfectionist in his crafts, optimistic and most importantly "humble and grounded" as the boss would say. Calvin got along with everyone and people spoke highly of him. Defhouse is owned by WSC - Web Stars Channel and Calvin signed to Web Stars Channel that has its own music production, artists and musicians, influencers, gamers and streamers.

After some time Calvin's main role and focus shifted from photography, to lead director of photography. He was tasked with critical and important work of a new calibre - brand deals. Calvin started moving away from photos and your go-to TikToks and started taking on the brand work that would come to Defhouse and other sources owned by WSC. This meant Calvin was pre-producing, producing and post-producing everything himself, sometimes with the help of other operators that he would guide to help him deliver a great product. Calvin DP'd work for such brands as Amazon, Tods, Giorgio Armani (Giorgio Armani himself), Armani Beauty, Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce Gabbana, Netflix, Stranger Things x Danone, Casio, Adidas, Yamamay, New Era, Calvin Klein, BOSS, Paco Robanne, Oppo, Sephora, YSL and more. Calvin gained  a lot of popularity during these months and people started to follow his journey - he was a key part to the organisation's success.

 

May 2021(Formula 1)

Sometime in May, Calvin received a message from an agency that is partnered with Formula 1 to go and cover the Monaco GP. Calvin spoke to his peers and he managed to go to the Monaco F1 GP. It was a life-changing experience and Calvin knew straight away that he was born for this. High pressure, action packed, top of the game environment - this is where he strives. Calvin produced for F1 Paddock Club, Patron (F1 Partner) and Aston Martin. After finishing the race Calvin left on a great note, especially with the co-founders of the company, 16K Agency, F1s media partner.

A couple of months later, Calvin was offered to go to Austria and do the same. At the end of that race, James (co-founder) offered Calvin a contract to attend all the remaining races of that year. During the last half of 2021, Calvin pursued his dreams, producing mainly video and photo content, as a lead camera operator and DP'd in projects in the world of Formula 1 all around the world. Calvin worked on projects with clients such as F1, F1 Paddock Club, F1 Experiences, Aston Martin F1 Team, McLaren F1 Team, Alpine F1 Team, Ferrari F1 Team, Paramount Pictures, Patron and more. On the fun part, Calvin got to meet celebrities such as the drivers and Brad Pitt, Shaq, Pharrel, Sylvester Stallone, Ganluigi Buffon, Gordon Ramsey, Martin Garrix, Zed and many more.

 

2023

Last year Calvin went back to Defhouse to DP on some new projects to connect with his old roots once more. Come March, Calvin left Defhouse and travelled to the States for a well-deserved holiday and to take time to breathe and gain some new inspiration without any distractions. During summer he was offered to travel to Argentina to DP on a WRC Rally event for three weeks, working for clients such as Honda, KTM, Gas Gas, Husqvarna; a new world of motorsport to discover.

Projects for this year ... Calvin is currently closing a contract with Alpine F1 Team to DP, Austin Texas, Miami, Las Vegas, Canada, Mexico and the Brazil GP.


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