Adam Torres and Christopher Warren discuss entrepreneurship.
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Growing a successful business is no easy task. Especially when you leave a stable corporate position after 20 years. In this episode, Adam Torres and Christopher Warren, Photographer at C Warren Gallery and C Warren Travel, explore Chris’ story and how he exited corporate America to pursue his passion as a photographer and content creator.
About Christopher Warren
Chris was raised in the city, but tamed by the ocean. He ran with the wolves on Wall Street for over 20 years before deciding to focus solely on combining his love of the ocean with his love for photography. Today, Chris’ passion is pursuing the fine art of ocean photography in a way that captures the ever changing magic of color, textures and light in every wave that comes ashore.
Currently Chris resides in South Florida, but he has traveled the world. From the icy waters of Alaska, to the tropical waters off of Fiji. His travels have a consistent theme; to experience the symphony of sounds created by the ocean. From the rhythm of salt water rolling across the sand, to the beat of waves crashing ashore, his photography is inspired by the rhythmic beat of the captivating oceans.
Full Unedited Transcript
Hey, I’d like to welcome you to another episode of Mission Matters. My name is Adam Torres, and if you’d like to apply to be a guest in the show, just head on over to missionmatters. com and click on be our guest to apply. All right. So today I have Christopher Palmer on the line and he’s a photographer and founder over at C Warren Gallery and C Warren Travel.
Chris, welcome to the show. Good morning. How are we doing, Adam? Thank you for having me. Man, I’m looking at, you’re at Scott Eddie’s Instagram, who referred you over to the show, he’s been on the show a couple times, and I had him on recently, and he told me, hey, you gotta get Chris on the show, and I’m like, why?
So I can be teased a little bit more on all these amazing pictures, and travel, and everything else you’re doing. How are you doing, by the way? Are you in a ship, or are are you at? I’m actually home, sitting in front of the PC. Looking at many files, we actually just got back from Antarctica.
Wow. And it was my seventh continent. How many photos? How many photos? Oh, I can’t even name photos. We’re never going to say files, we’re going to say terror bikes. Oh my gosh, so like 10, 000, 20, 000. Yeah. Wow. It was absolutely amazing. It was, wow. It was absolutely just incredible. I mean, we left from South America so it’s kind of like a little more South American intensive that we kind of did a cruise through Antarctica on Princess.
And it was amazing, man. It was on a Sapphire. I think she holds about 2, 600 people. And like you said, it was a fully booked vessel. So it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. There’s only, I think it’s definitely, I don’t even know if it’s a 0. 05 percent of the world actually gets to see Antarctica.
Wow. I was one of those people, so it was absolutely amazing to experience. So there’s Seawaring Gallery and Seawaring Travel, so I’m guessing the travel side is obviously doing, like, travel photography and things like that. What’s the Seawaring Gallery part? So the Sea Warren Gallery is, I guess, one of the many branches that I have.
It’s kind of dedicated to ocean photography, and ocean photography, I was kind of born, I mean, I was born and raised in Philadelphia but I went down to Jersey all the time with my dad. He had a vessel, he had a boat, and we’d go fishing all the time, and so fishing, ocean, and photography. Was always my passion and basically, I guess it was made about five, six years ago.
I matched both of the passions together of the ocean and photography. So honestly, before I worked on wall street for 21 years my office is out of Boca Raton, Florida and before the office, that’s how I would get prepared for the office. I know it doesn’t sound realistic to go in the ocean and, you know, just go out there and get hit by the waves in the morning.
But I can honestly, that’s the one place I can go clear my head, is when I’m behind a camera. That’s all I can think of. I’m just totally immersed inside the frame, whatever I’m taking. Now for the ocean, I’ll shoot waves, I’ll do long exposures anything that has Energy. I love to do it because it’s the ocean.
You can stand in the same spot every day for 365 days a year and it’s never going to be the same, so it’s just something that draws me back. Wow. And so, was it, I don’t even know if this is a good question, was it hard to leave your trading desk to go travel the world and enjoy this other passion?
Well, it definitely spun around in my head for many years. And I gotta say, I’m blessed with an amazing wife, an amazing family. Mom was a little tentative about me leaving a You know, a good paying job, having lineage with the company for over 20 years. Oh, wow. You were there for a while then. So that’s, yeah, they’re right.
that is a tough decision then. Yeah, but you know, as everybody, you know, goes through changes in life and everything, and Unfortunately, I just see my father passed and my mom had a major stroke and it gets you thinking you know, many years do we honestly get on this earth? How many years, how many days, how many minutes do we get to enjoy basically walking this earth and just taking everything in?
And it took me definitely a couple of years. And I’m going to definitely say a change in a market to finally exit the finance business and follow my passion. Man so I’m guessing that your friends, your co workers, everyone around you was just so supportive and they’re like, Oh, this is the best idea ever.
Oh, we’re then, cause I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you on my end, they were not, they were like, Adam, are you crazy? I was in finance almost 14 years before I left and then I went into media full time. So I’ve been in media now eight years going on and they’re like, you’re going to have a podcast.
You’re going to write books. You’re going to have you lost your You manage almost 200 million. Are you crazy? Like you worked your whole life for this. You got all these licenses and CFP and series seven, six, 63, 24, like, or 24, like, like, you’re going to go, you’re going to go do all that, what, all these other things you just did and you started another first.
So that was my story. So in your end, how did it go for you? Like, give us the real here. Yeah. I mean, honestly, the people in a trading desk were. They didn’t realize it. I mean, I didn’t tell anybody. I remember still to the day. Okay. That’s the story then. Okay. There has to be more you’re finance people.
They’re like, what? You’re going to do what? Well, that’s I worked at a trading desk and if there is any inkling, because I, you know, I managed a large position the firm. So I prop traded interest rates. I drop traded the banks. And once you kind of give an inkling that you’re leaving and you have all those.
handling all the money. I was a wholesale side deal at the institutions You’re kind of asked to leave. So I remember it was december 27th. I had a t shirt that the wife bought me And it said I called in seasick. I remember I walked into the office And I seen Stefan and he’s like, Oh, this doesn’t look so good.
I’m like, nah, Stefan, you know, no Brooks brothers, no polish, you know, flip flops, board shorts, and a t shirt. He’s like. You taking a day off? I’m like, Stefan, I think I’m taking a couple days off. He’s like, really? I’m like, today’s my last day. He’s like, no. He’s like, are you sure you don’t want to take a 30 day break and come back and think about it?
I’m like, no, Stefan. I’m gonna, I’m gonna do it now. He’s like, alright, I’m gonna give you a week. I’m not gonna sign the papers. You think about it? I’m like, Stefan, I’m done. Wow. . so then you’re done. what did that first, like that first day look like when you were like, maybe day, week, whatever, when did it hit you?
. Well, I gotta say something that usually a, father in law will not do. He was supportive of me leaving. He loved my photography. So I called him. I said, Hey, Bruce, I just quit my job.
He’s like, congratulations. He’s like, you want to go to breakfast? I’m like, sure. Now, you know, working in finance, you usually don’t sit down. I mean. I had business lunches, but in 21 years. Yeah, maybe 10 lunches. I mean, there were clients and I remember sat down, we had a champagne and he was like, congratulations, you’re gonna enjoy this.
And that’s where it all started. And I guess honestly where it hit was driving home. I stopped at the beach.
Beach is one of the places where I always reflect and I just clear my head. I stood there at the inlet. And, you know, that’s where the ebb and flow, the tide comes in and out and I’m like, this is where it’s all going to start, man. This is where it’s all going to start. And then I got nervous. That’s good.
That’s good. I’m like, what do I do? I’m like, you know, being a finance, you know, my brain’s always going, I’m doing something every second. I’m like, this is the first time in 21 years I Got nothing on the schedule. I was like, oh my god. Oh my god. What do I do? What do I do? I think you answered my other question.
Did you have a book of clients lined up or like? No No, worked on my book for many years my gallery the fine art so I did have Everything lined up. I did. Honestly, I did have a couple pieces sold before that. So the corporation was open while still on a desk, but I wasn’t really. So let’s say Manning it was just there getting prepped for the future.
And I came home, I got the computer out. Actually, I think it was an iPad and started to look for art shows. So I’m like, all right, so I’m going to go out to these art shows. I’m going to sell my work and it’s going to be easy. I’m like, this is going to be easy. And then when you realize. What goes into these art shows?
It’s hard. It’s not that easy, man. It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of just thinking. A lot of I do overthink a lot, as you probably tell. I want everything perfect. So, know, weeks of preparations for my first show. I’m like, you know, up to midnight doing this. And I’m like, scratching my head, I’m like, at least the office was, you know, 8 to 5.
And now, being on my own
We’re kindred, we’re kindred spirits. The first thing I thought was, as once I left, as I’m like my whole life for the most part ran on the market. So now that little bit of pressure that’s done when it closes and you’re okay, whatever, like maybe it was a good day, maybe it wasn’t, whatever, but it’s at least there’s a little bit, whatever that percentage of pressure is off, it’s off, right?
Can’t do anything. It’s but now it’s not done ever because you’re an entrepreneur and it never is done. And even when it’s good, it’s not done. No, that means there’s more to do because you’re being successful. So it’s definitely not done. Well, I think, you know, something, you have a great understanding of that.
I mean, honestly, a lot of entrepreneurs and especially people come from finance. We know we have to keep that pedal down, right? If you let off that pedal. Your client’s going to go away. You’re always have to search for new clients here there. You always have to be scattered You always have to be out there on the horizon looking to see what the next trade is what the next customer is you know who moved my cheese, you know, you know what i’m saying?
Don’t get stagnant go always out there And trying to find the new assets or whatever it is or the new photo or new clients So I took all those years of experience in a financial industry And kind of plug them into the photography So i’m not going to say i think i’m a pretty good photographer Yes, there’s a lot better photographers out there than I am.
So with any industry anything that you do You have to have passion And you have to have the drive, you don’t have the drive to put yourself out there to get the artwork in front of people to stand in front of corporate clients, like, you know, whoever it is, You have to be willing to put yourself in uncomfortable positions and you have to expect to fail. So that’s what, you know, being in a finance industry, we learned not going to say learn to fail. You have to. Expect to fail, but you have to learn from that fail because you’re never going to have a perfect life.
It’s how you recover from it. Did this one feel different though? And I’ll tell you where I’m coming with that question because we spend, I can think about myself when I was, you know, you spend, even with that failure, you’re dealing with the analytical side of the brain, at least in my case, like, and I’m getting for your case too, cause you’re on the trading desk.
So now you had this creative outlet originally that obviously you, you’d sold some things you’d done, but it wasn’t for keeps like that wasn’t your, your main source of income necessarily. So it, it, the stakes weren’t as high. So when you faced rejection and the stakes are higher and you’re on the creative side, like, was that different?
Well, yeah, cause. Different, isn’t it? I know it’s different for me like I’m thinking about like the first when I moved to the creative side and now I’m doing this podcast and they don’t like my podcast or they do like it or whatever there’s something going on right so it’s like and I’m like who am I like this is like I used to be pretty calm and cool but that was all analytical side like you can reject me all day long I’m right I know my numbers right I know this but now when you’re the creative side especially Well, podcast, whatever, art photography, that’s subjective, right?
So it’s different. Correct. that’s a 100 percent great point. I mean, honestly, as finance, we can put numbers and numbers and we could show it to, Hey, this is a good bond. This is a good investment or whatever it is. And we know we can hold it in the books. We know we can say, Maybe you don’t get the sale, but you know that what you presented, you know, you knew your stuff.
Right. But then on the creative side. This is where we start seeing things personally, like you said. They don’t like my podcast. They don’t like my picture. I’m like, there’s not a pixel out of place on this thing. I mean, it’s like, this thing is like the most Milton, you better buy this picture. Yeah, and then sometimes, they look at this picture I wouldn’t even look at.
Oh my god, that picture’s beautiful. I’m like, you know, the wife stands behind me, I’m deleting, she’s like, that picture’s beautiful. I’m like, I think so too, good. I mean, that’s the thing about art. Yeah. Everybody has a different eye. Everybody looks at things a different way. And you have to have, as a photographer, you have to have that broad audience effect.
I’m kind of niched in the ocean and also niched. Heavily in the travel industry now for the travel industry, you know, one of the hardest things to shoot out there is food. And I kind of zoomed in, kind of keyed in on it, and I’m doing really good with the food and beverage. Oh wow. And that’s really good.
It’s gotta be hard in general. Like, how do you, like, I see your shots and I’m like, they don’t, it’s a cruise ship. I’ve only been on a couple and I plan on going more. I told Scott, I’m like, hey, Like now, now I got it. Now I got a third. I said, Hey, we got, now I got you, Chris. I’m, we need to have a podcast on the cruise ship.
Who’s out there. Princess, somebody, Disney, somebody’s listening. I want him to take the podcast on the cruise ship, but, but was my aside, but my question is like, how do you shoot that? Like, they don’t just stop. They’re not going to like close off the whole section. I don’t think, I don’t know.
And they’re like, okay, now it’s time for them to come shoot. Like, how do you do that? Sounds like it’s a logistical challenge. That’s a go word. So sometimes we do shoot on a fly and we, do bring ourselves over into the corner and do not disturb your customers. And then sometimes we do have the professional shoots lined up where the restaurant’s closed and we’re going in there and just shooting that aspect of, let’s say the 10, 15, 20 dishes.
But now the thing about food photography. It’s kind of stagnant, so Do you mean, like, how do you make it interesting? I just want to correct because I’m on Instagram trying to make a dish look good. And I’m like, yeah, I’m not the 1 it’s all about lady, man. It’s all about lighting. it’s basically background and lighting.
So the lighting, you’re just basically photography is, Just controlling your eye that that’s what a good photo is gonna do. So basically, the main subject has to be apparent. And then the worst thing that actually, I see a lot of sometimes is is background. So, for background for me makes the picture.
I mean, in landscapes and food photography, anything like that, it’s going to be the background to me. What sets a good picture away from a bad picture. we do have to answer the question because if not, we’re going to be I want an email saying this, that this headline clickbait. Is it worth quitting your job to follow your passion?
I’ll answer first. I’m going to say now that I’m in year eight, yes, but years one through four, no. So I got two answers there. What? What’s your answer? ? . it depends what side of the bed I wake up on today. It’s what? On January 29th? 2024. What’s your answer Today? I’ll give you that one. . Well Seven days into editing it. R questions me. I need a vacation. They’re like, you were just on a cruise for 16 days. Oh. Like I’ve been editing for seven days straight. Yes, 100%. It is worth quitting your job. It is 100%. I mean, granted, some days I want to look back and say, yes, that could be easier. But also, knowing I have now been to every continent out there in the last, What, a year and a half or so with Scott, I have traveled to 30 countries.
Ah, I didn’t ask you that. I’m, I’ve been in the studio, don’t I? Speaking of, I look at you, I know Scott’s Instagram and I know yours as well, but for the audience that may not know yours, can you give your Instagram or where you’d like people to come look at your, at your work? Sea Warren Gallery and Sea Warren Travel, please.
Correct, so see Warren gallery is going to have my fine art ocean photography and then see Warren travel. You’re going to see all my travel adventures. You’re going to see my. Photos that I’m taking for the assets for the company and one good thing that I know a lot of people look at people on Instagram and say, you know, are they just showing off?
No. So, what actually is really I found in this is actually really, really cool. I got so many viewers out there and family members, whatever it is. I know if the person’s a shut in, like my mom, she can’t walk or anything like that. People can’t travel, they don’t have the finances or whatever. So I get to bring these experiences to them or locked in a studio like me, Chris.
Yeah, living vicariously. We get it. I live vicariously through you and Scott. It’s okay, but it brings it brings light to some people, you know, the elders or people financially not able to do it. So that’s actually like a little shining star that doesn’t really get spoken about. You know what I’m saying?
It’s pretty cool to bring these adventures and these situations to people that would never get to experience it. So that’s kind of like, it’s not, it’s, it’s not all about the finances all the time. It’s about the reward and that. Part of the industry doing a travel stuff is so rewarding for me.
Great. I mean, I love getting the shot and everything like that and giving the assets to the client and knowing that I did well. But knowing people actually enjoyed my work you know, as, as a creative that that’s, that’s what we’re here for, man, that that’s our passion is to get that like, so to say.
Well, we appreciate all you do and I do seriously appreciate the work that you and Scott are out there doing because I do truly enjoy it. And that’s why, that’s why I follow it. And so thank you again for coming on the show and to the audience, hey, if you haven’t hit that subscribe button, I don’t know if you need an invitation or I don’t know if you need me to mail you a postcard or what, but we’re not doing that.
Just hit the subscribe button. Okay. We have many more great guests coming up. And we don’t want you to miss anything. Got some good, some more guests lined up. So hit that subscribe and Chris, thank you again for coming on. Appreciate it. And I look forward to following your next adventure. So thank you, Adam.
Thank you so much for your time. I greatly appreciate it, sir.