In Onboard Pursuits

A Conversation with Crystal Chief Photographer Jeremy Fratkin: Part One

A lion in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

By Don George

I recently had the great pleasure of cruising with Jeremy Fratkin of Paragon Pixels, who is Chief Photographer on Crystal Serenity. During the course of the luxury cruise, I was able to ask Jeremy about his life and work as a photographer with Crystal and about tips he could share to help us all take better photographs. Our conversation is presented in two parts. Below is Part One.

How long have you been taking photographs?

I started taking photographs when I went to camp as a kid. I went through rolls of film like crazy, snapping shots of friends. My parents hated it, because the photos weren’t great, and it cost a lot to develop 20 rolls of film after the end of camp.

Jeremy Fratkin, photographer
Jeremy Fratkin

How did you first get interested in photography?

I was exposed to photography as a kid. My dad loved taking photos. He took great shots of my brother, mom and myself. Pictures were all over the walls in the house. He would come home from cruises with my mom and pull out the slide projector and show me his photos from the trip. I would say that was where the interest began.

When did you decide to go into photography professionally, and what steps did you take to become a professional photographer?

About seven or eight years ago, I decided to upgrade my camera gear, seeing as it was a hobby which was gradually moving forward into a job, photographing bar and bat mitzvahs, as well as private parties and functions. Photography was always a hobby of mine. It was never something I had thought of doing professionally.

How did you become associated with Crystal Cruises?

My grandma was a cruise travel agent for years. In August of 2008, she had a large group of people booked on Symphony, and she was bringing my cousin and her husband on board. Well, my cousin canceled at the last minute due to work, and the room was offered to every other family member until everyone said no; my brother and I were last on the list.

An African gorilla
An African gorilla (photo by Jeremy Fratkin)

This was my first experience on Crystal Cruises. I had brought my cinematic camera to film our vacation, because growing up with Grandma being a travel agent, we would look through the brochures and ask about the ships. She always told us we couldn’t go on Crystal because it was too luxurious, too boring for us kids.

We loved the high-end, six-star cruise line. I took a strong liking to the photo department and one day asked how I could apply for a job on the ship. They told me to speak to the owner, who happened to be standing at the counter at that time. We sat down, and he told me to send him my resume and portfolio when I got home, if I was still interested. I did just that and ended up flying to Singapore to start employment with Paragon Pixels on Crystal Cruises as a photographer.

What is your role with Crystal now?

I am now the manager of the Photo Department.

What are the prime pleasures of your role with Crystal?

I get to meet people from around the world, I get to work with people from around the world, and I get to do what I love, which is photography.

What is the importance of photography for people when they travel?

It’s important for people to take photos or have photographs taken of them when traveling because, when you travel, you’re doing something that you want to do; something exciting and out of the box to get yourself away from your life at home. It’s time to let your hair down, relax, and explore the world. If you want to have memories of these amazing travels, it’s essential to capture them in either a photograph or a video.

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