Jamel Shabazz

jamel_shabazz

Brooklyn, New York

How did you get your start in street photography?

My father is a photographer. He picked up the craft when he went into the Navy. My home was rich with photography. So early on, I remember reading various books on photography. I developed a deep appreciation through these publications although I didn't physically pick up a camera and start making images until I was 15-years-old.

I had a friend whose cousin was a member of a gang and a street photographer. I remember going to his home and looking in his photo album, being astonished by his images of young men on the street of Brooklyn. It was at that point I decided to pick up a camera and shoot in a similar way.  It started with me shooting portraits in my community. When I returned home from the Army in 1980,  with the increase of homelessness and prostitution at the time, I became passionate about documenting the streets to try and better understand what was going on around me.

Your photos truly embody the essence of young black urban life in 80’s, what messages should viewers garner from those photographs?

My primary focus is people from my community. Sadly, a lot of men and women died from that era. When I share these photos with individuals who grew up and understood what occurred in the community at that time, it can be very personal and emotional for them. I want to them to remember the time, and the impact crack and war had on our community. My photos serve as a form of visual medicine. Some of the people I photographed never made it to 25 years old, so I'm finding a lot of the children of the men I photographed who died prematurely, reaching out to me and thanking me for having pictures of their loved ones. I've had young men whose picture I took back in the day hit me up and tell me they didn't have pictures of themselves from that time and I was the only person to photograph them.

On a global level, I strive to show the world a counter-narrative to the negatively we all too often see in the predominately black and brown community. I aim to show images that display friendship, love, unity and style at the same time.

You have a new book "Sights in the City: New York Photographs." Can you give us some insight on what we can expect from this release?

Unlike my traditional work that typically consists of posed portraits of people I meet on the street, the majority of the work is hardcore documentary and street photography. This work is more intense and very political to a degree. I've shot veterans who had just returned home from war, poverty, despair, as well as friendships. I'm also introducing a lot of prostitution images that I had documented over the years as I was doing proactive work to get women off the street. This book has a different feel; I collaborated with a different publishing company from my previous books, and a lot of the images in this book have never been seen before.

What I wanted to do with this particular book is give balance to the misinterpretation of my work. Many people speak to me about my photos are posed, but over the past 30-40 years I have been taking pictures, there has always been a balance of posed and spontaneous photos. I decided to put a book out with images that are predominantly spontaneous moments.    

Gentrification is constantly changing the landscape of New York, what are your thoughts on the evolving culture shifts and its effect on street photography?

Regarding street photography, [gentrification] has brought new people into the community which has increased your ability as a photographer to capture diversity. Now, you can find people from France, Japan, and China living in Harlem and Brooklyn where you didn't see that before. As a photographer, your eye can go beyond the local people in your community, and you can enhance that by documenting these new people.

Do you have a favorite photo?

All my photographs are special and dear to me, but the covers of my books do resonate greatly with me. The cover photo for my new book, Sights in the City, is special because it represents me following the instructions provided by my father who guided me into photography. He told me to carry my camera everywhere you go regardless of the weather conditions, always have it set at 1/25th of a sec at 5.6, and keep your eye open. When I look at that photo, I remember it was raining, I had my camera, and it was correctly set; so when I came upon the man swinging the dog, I was able to capture it instantly. It went on to be one of my most iconic photographs.

With the introduction of camera phones and social media, what direction do you think street photography will go in the future?

I appreciate the fact so many people are picking up photography and they are using their camera phone as a tool to capture those moments. I see some excellent work, and I'm impressed by that. It has become this global phenomenon where everyone in this generation is a photographer and seeing the beauty in visual storytelling.

What’s next for Jamel?

 I'm working on two new book projects, one featuring all my subway photographs from 1980 to the present. I spent a lot of time in the New York City subway system over the years, so I'm gathering up all those images and putting them in book form. The other will feature the neighborhood I grew up in, East Flatbush, which is the community I have documented more than any other community throughout my travels.

I was asked by the City of Philadelphia to participate in A Mural’s Art project, where I will be developing a mural on African American veterans in Germantown, Philadelphia.

What quote or motto do you live your life by?

Yasiin Bey (also known as Mos Def) has been a great inspiration to me over the years. His song Umi Says is reflective of what I feel each and every day. There's a verse in that song "I ain't no perfect man/I'm just trying to do the best I can with what it is I have" I live by that verse, and it keeps me humble. In addition to what Confucius says: "Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."

For more information on this artist, please visit jamelshabazz.com and follow on social media at @jamelshabazz

Messay Shoakena

messay_shoakena_streetmatic

Washington, D.C. 

How did you get your start in street photography?

I started several years ago when I moved to Washington, DC from Atlanta, GA. I fell into street photography; before that, I was taking the standard family shots. When I moved to DC, I didn't know many people so I would walk around and explore the city with my camera. I began taking a lot of photographs of the landscape and scenery and some of the many protests happening during that time.

Where do you draw inspiration from your photos?

Inspiration can be spontaneous for me. I usually will go to a location and see what comes out of me. I also get inspiration from reading books and looking at other people's work. Photographers like Alex Webb and Saul Leiter have inspired me.

What is your personal process for taking a great photo?

It's very unpredictable. I don't scout for subjects; I go to locations that are densely populated and have great light and shadows. Places like metro exits and bus stations are great. I stand and look for minutiae things that people don't pay attention to in their usual day to day. I watch for a person walking by a particular shadow, watch the hand gestures of a person as they talk, the patterns of people walk. I usually will stay in one location and try to find the rhythm of the place. You almost become invisible to people, and that allows you to experiment. I do not like for people to pose for me so I try to blend in so I can capture people as regularly as possible. New York City is one of my favorite places to shoot because you can blend in the scenery and get close to people.

On the transition of color schemes in his work:

You can use them differently to express different emotions. I used a lot of monochromatic while documenting protests; the black and white images captured the intensity and emotional of the environment. I love color and vibrancy.  I want to be in a happier place emotional, and I believe color photography helps me with that.

What is your favorite street photography experience?

I watched a documentary on Netflix about New York Times street fashion photographer, Bill Cunningham. Two weeks later, while I was out shooting in New York, I spotted him riding his bike in Time Square at 2:30 in the morning. I recognized his signature blue coat and ran across the square to meet him. He was very gracious but in a hurry; he let me photograph him while he was locking up his bike. This moment inspired me to keep shooting.

Have you ever offended anyone by taking their photos?

I was testing shooting with a flash on 42nd Street in New York. I took a photograph of a woman with the flash and she was not happy. I tried to explain what I was doing, but she said it was illegal. She called the cops but they did not understand what her issue. I offered to walk with her to the Time Square police station. I tried to smooth it over, but she was pretty upset.

What are some challenges you have faced in pursuit of your career?

Balancing my “9 to 5” with my photography work is one of my main challenges. I began to resolve it by incorporating taking pictures into my daily routine. I take pictures on my way to work or when I take breaks. It can be difficult to manage at times, but it’s all about balance.

Do you belong to any street communities or collectives?

I have gotten requests to join street communities; I think they are ideal for connection and to expand your networks. I try to keep myself in a bubble, in a sense. to help develop and refine my style. There are pros and cons because you miss out on the connections. As I evolve as a photographer, I believe my opinion may change.

What’s next?

I’m coming off a sabbatical this summer. I’m doing some work with Photoville and a few collaborations with other photographers I met on Instagram. Long term I’m working on a book project that will be comprised of street photography from different cities. I have already shot in Ethiopia and Mexico this year and plan to photograph in Tokyo or Hong Kong at the end of 2017.

What advice would you give a young photographer?

You have to understand yourself. To be a true artist of photography, you have to know your personality, your experiences, and why certain things happened in your life. You have to be in tuned with your strengths and weaknesses. Every day I ask myself “How can I improve myself today?” If I can understand myself, I will understand other people and situations around me.

For more on this artist, please visit Messay.com and follow on social media at @streetamatic

Christopher Parsons

christopher_parsons_photography

Los Angeles, California

How did you get your start with photography?

I was studying architecture at Florida A&M University (FAMU) and found myself feeling lost. I love architecture, but I was having a hard time with some of the math classes. I decided to switch to graphic design and got an internship with Mark Starr Graphics. There I met Justin Huff, and he opened my opened my eyes to a lot of possibilities as a creative. My dad gave me a small point-and-shoot camera for Christmas, and I started shooting friends and a modeling organization on campus. They were terrible pictures, but I kept at it and got better.

How would you describe your photography style?

An expression of emotion.

Every person I shoot is unique in their special way, and my photography is a manifestation of trying to pull these emotions out of them. Also, I have found a way to take the emotions I feel and use the subjects as a vessel to express all the words I necessarily can't say with a pen and paper. My photos are about power, geometry, and shadows. Lately, I've been more into black and white, but I'm beginning to explore more color, so I will be putting more of that out soon.

Where do you draw inspiration for your photos?

Life, movies, my phone is full of screenshots. I'm always looking at old photo books and studying the masters. Photographers are always taking inspiration from each other, especially now with social media. Musicians have to list how they take their samples from, and I often wonder what if photographers had to list who they took their ideas from. One photo would probably have 20 different samples.

On first celebrity jobs:

My first celebrity job was Chris Tucker. I use to do graphics work on his website back in college. In regards to photography, T- Pain was the first celebrity I shot.

You went on the road with Kendrick Lamar & TDE as their tour photographer. How was that experience?

It was an incredible experience. I learned a lot from [Kendrick], watching his work ethic. I got to explore the world. Being that close to someone so successful, you quickly realize how dedicated you have to be; it's a 24/7 commitment to your craft.

Who are some other photographers that have influenced you?

Helmut Newton. He always shot women very powerfully in black and white. There are also a lot of shadows in his work. I love Richard Avedon; he shot a lot of people on white backgrounds and was all about the performance of the performance. He was able to capture people very well. Henri Cartier-Bresson was really about geometry and architecture and people just happen to be in that space. He had a love affair with shapes. Another is Jonathan Mannion. He shot a lot of the early Jay-Z album covers. I got to watch him work, and he is magnificent at bringing out the best in people and having fun.

How do you mentally prepare for a big shoot?

Everything comes from music for me. I listen to music and thinking about the subject I'm about to shoot. If it's a celebrity, I do my research and think about what I want to learn from this person, like what questions do I want to ask about their life. I'm encountering someone who has it figure out and in that conversation is where the photos happen. It's less about the camera and more about the psychology. I have to think about what I'm going to say to this person to make them feel comfortable and drop their veil to show me who they are.

Do you prefer strobe or natural lighting?

Natural Lighting is simple and the less distraction you have, the more attention you can pay to your subjects.

Do you plan to pursue your graphic and film work further in the future?

I had started in graphics before I jumped into photography full force. Now, I rarely tell people I do graphics. I only do graphics that inspire me. I've been really into collage work. Film is my main goal and something I'm exploring more. I started in photography to learn about film. I couldn't afford to go to film school, so I use photography to tell stories in freeze frames. When I shoot video, I want every frame to be a photograph. I want to shoot more music video, more fashion films and eventually movies.

What risks or sacrifices have you made in your career pursuit?

My biggest sacrifice has been time away from my family and missing my nieces grow up. Relationship and friendships tend to suffer at times. Some people don't understand why you are so obsessed or always working. However, I am blessed with great friends in my life who understand and support my journey.

On upcoming projects:

I'm working on my first book right now. I have been shooting the series, and it's going to be pretty incredible I can't wait for everyone to see it. I'm planning to a May release.

What quote or affirmation do you live your life by?

Dream big.

Always dream to the point it scares you and follow that fear.

Video Feature: Mshon Pulliam

mshon_pulliam_photography_videography

Atlanta, Georgia

Photographer/Videographer, Mshon Pulliam speaks on his start with photography, motivation, family influences, and how he balances life as a "multipotentialite"

Watch here:

For more on this artist, please visit MshonP.com and follow on social media at @mrpulliam

Ron Hill

ron_hill_photos

Atlanta, Georgia

How did you get your start with photography?

At age 16, I started taking photos of my family.  I got serious during my senior year in high school. I did my first shoot for a local clothing store in North Carolina. I got this feeling that I can't quite describe but I remember how I felt after I finished shooting.  The sense of accomplishment lit a fire in me. The rest is history!

How would you describe your photography style?

I like to say the way I capture subjects with my photography is very editorial, almost cinematic.

Where do you draw inspiration for your photos?

My inspiration comes mostly from the world and discovering new things. I also find inspiration from in magazines and store displays.

On memorable shoots:

Recently I had the pleasure of photographing my three-year-old niece. As I took her pictures, she began to tell me that I'm not shooting her right. I asked her what am I doing wrong and she said: "You have to get low." The fact that she is so aware is the cutest thing. It was one of the most incredible moments of my photography career.

Who are some photographers that have influenced you the most?

Anthony Mandler is one of my most favorite photographers. He is excellent at capturing the mood of a scene whether it's a short film or still. He has an eye for storytelling, and his work has a significant impact on how I see things.

 What is your personal process to capture a great photo?

I’m very detailed oriented. I make sure everything is in place to ensure photos look as natural as possible.

Editorials are a collaborative process. What is it like to work with different brands, models, and designers?

Collaborating with others is great for the art. When you can work with someone and bring their visions to life is always a great feeling. When your clients are involved in the process, it guarantees they are happy with the work I provide.

What are some risks or sacrifices you have taken as a creative?

Being an entrepreneur, I take a risk every day. There are days I wake up and not know where the next job will come from. I still have to hold my head high and exude confidence that I will be blessed to continue to get work. Believing in myself and completely jumping off that cliff to follow my dreams, was a risk I was willing to take!

What’s next?

I have two campaigns that are in the works. I can't give too many details right now, but I'm super excited.

What quote or motto do you live your life by?

Less is more. Always stay true to who you are.

For more on this artist, please visit RonHillPhoto.com and follow on social media at @ronhill

Nana Ankamah

nana_ankamah_photographer

Houston, Texas

How did you get your start with photography?

I got my first camera in the spring of 2015 that I still use today, my Nikon D3200. That's when everything started for me. I've always had a fascination with photography growing up because my family was never really big picture takers. It was almost like a sacred thing that is the camera in our household. Growing up playing sports and interest in fashion, I've always loved sports photos and Harper's Bazaar magazines.

How would you describe your photography style?

My style, that's a tough one to answer. When I first started taking pictures, I was really into nature type stuff like sunrises, sunsets, fall foliage. I lived in Nacogdoches for five years attending college out there so being out there in East Texas was excellent for those things aforementioned and for that I will always have a spot in my heart for Nacogdoches. Now I am really into minimalism or at least trying to transition to minimalism. I'm also big on keeping my pictures as straight as possible.

Where do you draw inspiration for your photos?

A lot of times inspiration for me comes from music. I'll listen to a song and hear a lyric, and it will inspire to go out and take the pictures from what I hear. The music ranges from Kanye to Sam Smith to whatever I am listening to at the time. My girlfriend Karina has also been a big inspiration for me is well. I love taking pictures of her, forever my favorite muse.

On memorable projects:

I just started a hashtag called #MeDɔByNana Me Dɔ in the Twi language which is native to Ghana in West Africa means my love. It's just me capturing black love in all forms, so it is something I am excited about as the year moves along. I also plan on making a book out of the pictures at the end of the year.

What other photographers have influenced you the most? How has their influenced shaped your craft?

Some photographers that stick out to me are Temi Coker (@Temi.Coker) who I had the chance to meet and hang out with for an afternoon. He's a really good dude and of course amazing photographer. Rosebeth Akharamen (@isi.rose), who I went to college and worked with a few times. I've seen her grow as a photographer. Faidat Bakare (@riotmuse) another photographer I went to college and worked with, and have seen her grow so much as a photographer as well. I chose these three because we all share African heritage, and growing up in our culture your talents in arts are never respected by your family, who I feel can be your biggest support and make a big difference in your craft. If you know they back you, if it's not a doctor or lawyer then you are wasting your time. So it's refreshing to see so many creative fellow Africans out there breaking out their shells and showing their artistic side better yet making careers out of it. One other photographer, I want to mention is Farran Manuel I can't mention photographer influence and not mention her (@farranmanuel) she does a little bit of everything and takes amazing travel photos. Her work along with the three aforementioned make me want to get better with this craft each and every day.

What is your personal process to capture a great photo?

For me, it's using a rule of imaginary thirds in my in my mind to make sure I fit everything that I want in my picture. Making sure the angle or perspective is unique as well.

What’s your favorite lens to use?

My go to lens, for now, is my 50mm. I got it as a gift for my 26th bday from my brother and have been in love with it ever since. I love the Bokeh capability and the clarity of the focus. It works well in low lighting situations as well so I love that.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as a photographer?

When I sat down with Temi, we talked about how numbers can be an issue, worrying about likes, etc., etc. when you are starting out. For me also working as a 9th-grade teacher and basketball coach just simply finding the time to go out and have time with my camera can be a challenge.

On upcoming projects:

I am thinking about starting another hashtag called #PlaygroundEarthbyNana which would pretty be a fitness concept and just shooting people working out around town. Kind of similar to Nike photos which I love being a former Nike employee. Much love to the Swoosh.

What motto or affirmation do you live your life by?

To infinity and beyond.

For more on this artist, please visit VSCO.co/Nanye and follow on social media at @nana.jpeg

Jeff Hagerman

jeff_hagerman_sloppystick

Atlanta, GA

How did you get your start with photography?

I've grown up, having a camera most of my life, but I only cared about capturing memories from vacations or car shows. Once I started getting feedback from the Instagram community, I started looking at it more artistically and decided I wanted to take it more seriously.

How would you describe your photography style?

Purposeful.

I always put a lot of thought into composition, regardless of how I end up editing it. An easy way to describe it is just abandoned.

You shoot a lot of abandon buildings and desolate spaces, what is the inspiration behind selecting those spaces for your photos?

I've always been a fan of trains and eventually graffiti. That naturally led me into abandoned buildings. I've been obsessed with finding these places ever since.

What has been your favorite area to shoot?

My favorite place I've shot was a hospital in the south that was abandoned since Hurricane Katrina. The history behind it was just amazing with the hurricane and all, but even more so the contents. It was just huge and full of stuff, and it was incredible.

What other photographers have influenced you the most?

I've tried to have my kind of style, even though I love photos that are nothing like mine. Other photographers motivate me, and that has made me grow more than anything.

What is your personal process to capture a great photo?

I'm just a big fan of good composition. I always try (maybe sometimes too much) to try to get a good composition with every photo I take. I probably miss out on other stuff I should at least document.

What particular technology/software do you use to help with your photographic process?

I use both Photomatix and Lightroom. I shoot in 7 shot brackets for HDR shots and merge them with Photomatix, and then I touch them up in Lightroom. If it's just a single shot, I only use Lightroom.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as a photographer?

One big challenge that I have this week is going to court in Los Angeles because I was arrested there for taking pictures while trespassing. It could hurt, not only financially, but I also don't want a misdemeanor on my record of at all possible. Sometimes things just don't go as planned.

Do you have a funny or bizarre moment that occurred during one of your photo shoots?

Aside from getting arrested or almost getting arrested, when I first started exploring abandoned buildings, a guy was pleasuring himself in a building! It's probably still the craziest thing ever.

On upcoming projects:

I’m doing a lot of traveling and slowly putting together a book.

 What motto or mantra do you live your life by?

I just always tell myself not to worry about things that shouldn't be worried about. Also, stress is a killer and worrying is nothing but stress.

For more on this artist, please visit JHagPhoto.com and follow on social media @sloppystick

Derrick Hogue

derrick_hogue_photography_kshpeace

Philadelphia, PA

How did you get your start in photography?

My start in photography is a sad story. I had a son born in March of 2013, and he passed away two days later. I was in a dark place mentally, and emotionally. I discovered the VSCO app, and I got into looking at the pictures via the #vsco hashtag on Instagram. In 2014, I started shooting with the iPhone. I would walk around Philly for hours and take pictures of the buildings. People began to contact me asking how much I charged and I didn't even own a professional camera. I got my first camera in March of 2014, and I've been shooting ever since.

Would you say photography became a unique way to mourn?

Definitely. My IG name [ksh].peace is my son's initials so, through his passing, photography was a form of therapy for me.  I internalize a lot of my emotions. I believe photography became my coping mechanism. My grieving process translated through my photos. I looked at my feed and realized a lot of my pictures could appear very dark and moody.

How would you describe your photography style?

Moody, melancholy, sometimes gloomy. Philadelphia is a very “blue-collar” town, and I try to incorporate a lot of that into my photos.

Where do you draw inspiration for your photos?

Music plays a big part in my editing process. Sometimes I am inspired by a song, a conversation with a friend, a movie or documentary I have watched. I also keep notes on my phones of ideas that I would like to create.

What have been some of your favorite projects?

I have been blessed to have a lot of friends who have different projects and brands. I am currently working with a young brand designer in Philly, and we have been meeting with various designers and collaborating on conceptual designs. I enjoy shooting my friends and coming up with fresh concepts. The goal is to do fashion/lifestyle photography.

What other photographers have influenced you the most? How has their influence shaped your craft?

When it comes to portraits, I like Carrie Mae Weems, Gordon Parks, and Roy DeCavara. I love the way they can capture moments in their community and convey a story in a very simple manner. Fashion wise, Steven Ezell, he doesn't care about what's cool, he just does what he wants. 

What is your personal process to capture a great photo?

Patience.

Street photography is all about timing. Being able to improvise and wait for the right moment. Sometimes it might take 20 to 40 minutes to get the shot you see in your head, but it's worth the wait. With my earlier work, I rushed a lot just to get it done. Now, I place more focus on composition and placement to capture a good picture.

What is your favorite lens?

Sigma 35mm 1.4.

35mm is perfect for me because the focal point is not too tight, not too wide and it is good for landscape. 

What are some of the challenges you face as a photographer?

Being that I'm self-taught, there are times I get discouraged trying to figure out how to do things. Any creative wants to be excellent at what they do, but it takes more time when you are self-taught. Your first stuff is going to suck, but if you stick with it, you will get better. You have to put the time in and not worry about what the next person is doing. I am working on being a better photographer, a better creative, and a better person. I have to trust the process.

What is your dream project?

My dream brand to work with would be Adidas. I have been a huge fan, before Kanye, I was rocking Adidas.  I would also like to shoot a big festival. 

What quote or mantra do you live your life by?

Never talk yourself out of your dream.

When we are kids, we have all these dreams. As we grow up, we have a way of talking ourselves out of those dreams. I know what I want, I know how I want to live, and I'm going to put in the work to get me there. Even if it takes me twenty years, I will get there. 

For more on this artist, please visit vsltruths.com and follow on social media at @ksh.peace

Tyrone "Syranno" Wilkens

tyrone_syranno_wilkens

Baltimore, Maryland

How/when did you get your start with photography?

I bought a camera in 2009 to take pictures of my son and document his moments growing up. I put it down for a period, and my child's mother began using it. She got good enough to pique my competitive nature, so I picked the camera back up and never put it back down. A year later, a friend introduced me to owners of the event company, Hush Society, and I began shooting different socials, mansion parties, and celebrity events. During that time, I did some photo work for Carlos Allen, who later became one of the people who crashed the State Room Dinner party during Obama's first administration. Jet Magazine reached out to me to request imagery of the party crasher. I took a chance and inquired about other opportunities for work and got assigned to photograph entrepreneur Mike Humes for Ebony Magazine. Around 2011, I met Aaron Williams, Editor in Chief of Iconography Magazine and he became somewhat of a mentor to me. My interest in fashion photography began through his guidance.

How would you describe your photography style?

My style is more industry standard at the moment. I'm still developing and grooming my style, but I try to stay within the higher market industry standard. I try to step out of the box and use my childlike imagination to bring a twist to my photos.

Where do you draw inspiration for your photos?

I am an avid Pinterest user. I look at a lot of history photography from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. I draw a lot of my inspiration from vintage fashion photography. History always repeats itself, and it shows itself in style on a regular basis.

On notable features:

My work has been featured in Huff Magazine, Elements Magazine, and some work I did for a makeup line was featured in Fader. I also snagged the cover of ECHO Magazine, a biweekly publication located in Arizona. In March, I will have a feature layout in Elegant Magazine.

How have other photographers influenced you the most? How has their influence shaped your craft?

Initially, Richard Averdon was a huge influence. More recently, John Ellis, a fashion photographer in New York and also a friend. Danessa Myricks, she is a beauty photographer and also owns a makeup line, and she's a beast. They each have helped spark creative ideas for my work.

What particular technology/software do you use to help with your photographic process?

Lightroom is the only technology I use outside of my camera. My team is important to make sure I don't have to retouch a lot. I feel Photoshop is overused at times.

 

What are some of the challenges you have faced as a photographer?

Finding good models and wardrobe stylists in my market. Some people say they are experts in particular areas, but when it's crunch time, they can't produce.

On upcoming projects:

My primary focus for the entire year is a seven editorial project. I'm looking to have them all published throughout the year. I'm excited to take on this challenge. I know it's going to be great.

What is your dream project?

I want to work with Nick Knight on a fashion film. I  want my work to be featured in Harper’s Bazaar as well.

What quote or affirmation do you live your life by?

It is not always about you.

It's hard to separate business from personal but a lot of times. When things do not go your way in business, it's usually not about you; you are just on the receiving end. You have to have tough skin.

For more on this artist, please visit PhotobySyranno.com and follow on social media at @photosbysyranno

Dante Marshall

dante_marshall_digital

Los Angeles, California

How did you get your start in photography?

I started in 2010. My dad used to take pictures, so I would go to his photo shoots and play around with his camera. One day I asked if I could use his camera to take pictures of a young lady I was dating at the time who was into modeling. I took a few pictures of her and people loved the way they came out. I got a good vibe from that experience, so I kept it going.

How would you describe your photography style?

It's weird trying to describe my style.  I would say minimal, timeless, organic, authentic, and classic. A lot of my work depends on my mood. Whether I'm happy or sad, etc. I'm from Detroit, and in the past few years, a lot of work was black and white or had very saturated muted tones. Over the past months, a lot of my work has been super vibrant with poppy tones.

Where do you draw inspiration for your photos?

I live in downtown Los Angeles, and there are so many interesting places and people here. California has so much to take in. The barber shops, the old motels with the big neon signs, the strip clubs, and tarot card reading signs. There is so much character in the buildings here.

On memorable projects:

I've worked on campaigns, but the most fun I've had on shoots are typically when I get a chance to work with friends or when I'm working on passion projects. There is no pressure to make something for a client. We just go out and make dope shit. Those pictures make clients go "That is so cool do something like that for me."

What other photographers have influenced you the most? How has their influence shaped your craft?

My dad taught me the technical side of things. He was still a student of the craft. Back then, you picked up a camera and you went to school for it. Today, some of the Instagram guys can pick up a camera or phone and every shot is going to be good. Having someone learning while I was beginning to learn as well helped me a lot.

There are a few fashion photographers I look up to like Richard Avedon, Steven Klein, Helmut Newton, Mario Testino, and Craig McDean. They are photographers I have studied to find their work outside of the fashion magazines. Also, I love Gordon Parks, he is a legend.

 What is your personal process to capture a great photo?

Two words. Time and lines.

There are times when I'm doing shoots; I will have another photographer there, and I will have the model look at the other photographer a lot of the time. While the model is doing the straightforward "eyes to camera" pictures with them, I'm off to the side capturing the moment from the right or the left. That is a secret way to get the juice. I think the behind-the-scenes photos look better than the actual pictures, so a lot of my photos look like behind-the-scenes of someone's life.

What's your favorite lens to use?

24 to 70 is a cool, all around, all purpose, go to lens. I will use a 50 for most of my film cameras.

What particular technology or software do you use to help with your photographic process?

I use Lightroom and Photoshop.  For film stock, I use Portrait 400.

You recently began shooting videos, tell us about that experience?                   

Yes, I'm just getting into to film. It's a different process; you have to pay attention to various things than you would with photos, so I'm learning a different way to create.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as a photographer?

The challenges I have faced are mostly internally. Things a lot of artists go through. I get tired of the photos I shoot fast. I'm never satisfied with my work. Keeping relationships and dating is hard. I shoot a lot of models, and even though I'm a faithful guy, these are some of the most beautiful women in the world. That can bring certain insecurities and energies into play. These are the realities that come into play with being a human in the industry.

Do you have any bizarre or tragic moments that occurred during one of your shoots?

I did a cool campaign for TGI Fridays. For 12 weeks I drove to different cities and states to shoot various locations. In Houston, someone stole all my equipment from a rental car while I was getting lunch. I was in the middle of the campaign, I didn't have insurance, and they took everything. My laptop, audio gear, lens kit, 2 or 3 cameras and I lost it all. That was crucial; I was in a position to bounce back, but it sucked. I have insurance now.

On upcoming projects:

I plan to do a lot of personal projects this year. I may even start vlogging even though I'm weird about being on camera. I'm definitely doing more studio work and would like to work on a few photo series.

 What quote or affirmation do you live your life by?

If you build it they will come.

Keep going.

People are always starting things and then they stop. If you stop you never know what could happen. Keep going.

For more on this artist, please visit dantemarshall.com and follow on social media at @dantedigital

Vanessa Granda

Vanessa Granda

Brooklyn, New York 

How did you get your start in photography?

I was fascinated by art at an early age but never really considered photography until later in life. I started shooting photos for my college newspaper because I was never a great writer and that was the position open. I then would photograph friends whenever I had spare time and the medium really stuck with me.

 How would you describe your photography style?

I see my work as an integration of graphic elements, provocation, and color.

Where do you draw inspiration for your photos?

Usually by watching films, rummaging through old school vinyl (they have a unique color combination) and from the big fashion house editorials from the 80's and 90's like Fiorucci.

On notable projects:

My most recent project was with Sunglass Hut. We teamed up to create 27 images from around the city which were then put together to create a gradient effect for fall, from green to yellow to orange to red to brown. It was challenging finding locations according to specific colors but the whole project was sort of an adventure and an easy way to explore the city. However, my favorite project is my #SOILANDSOLE series; I love sneakers, so I wanted to showcase them in a feminine and fun way by combining them with flowers and plants. It's fun thinking of ways to make the two things work.

What other photographers have influenced you the most? How has their influenced shaped your craft?

I really enjoy the work of Venetia Scott, Juergen Teller, Charlotte Rutherford and Collier Schorr. Each photographer is very different but I believe it's important to study different styles of whatever art you choose to pursue. I try to grab the best parts of each, Venetia's dreamy like sets, Juergen's shock factor, Charlotte's humor, and Collier's ability to create an emotion.

What are some of the things you consider when taking an editorial or beauty photo?

Definitely lighting and composition, but that's all technical. The most crucial part is my team, got to have a good team. I choose my stylist, makeup artist and assistants very carefully. I like to be part of every decision made, from the makeup to the wardrobe, to the backdrop/location.

Vivid colors seem to play an important part in most of your photos. Is that intentional?

I come from Miami; it's a city full of color. Honestly, it's just embedded in me. When I first moved to New York, I was fighting the urge to create in color so badly because I felt like no one would appreciate it. My work suffered when I tried to constrain myself. As soon as I started photographing colorful subjects, I felt myself again and I think my creativity skyrocketed.

What are some of the challenges (personally or professionally) you have faced as a woman photographer?

Thankfully, none

I feel that in a creative space, there's rarely any gender prejudice. However, there was an incident, not sure if it had anything to do with me being a woman, but a fellow photographer told me I wouldn't make it in NY if I was shooting landscapes and street style, which to that I said 'F off. (Laughs)

On upcoming projects:

I'm working on some great campaigns later this month that I can't wait to share. I'm also really excited to venture out of the photography world and work on something I've been waiting to bring to fruition for a long time.

 What quote or mantra do you live your life by?

Eject the hard drive

For more information on this artist, please visit VanessaGranda.com and follow on social media at @ohmynessa

Aaron Ricketts

aaron_ricketts

Philadelphia, PA

How did you get your start in photography?

My interest in photography started around my sophomore year of high school. My digital media teacher, Catherine Patelli,, introduced me to the whole medium of photography. Then I got introduced to Photoshop that really blew my mind. I saw that I could shoot photos and take it a step further to create different viewpoints that I see in mind.

How would you describe your photography style?

I’m really versatile as far as my style. I can shoot concerts, weddings, lifestyle, and surrealism. My style could be considered simplistic and futuristic. I like geometric shapes, architecture, and modern clean colors.

What's your favorite lens and why?

My favorite lens right now is Nikon 18 to 85. I like shooting wide but I also like to get tight shots. The lens has a great versatility to go from wide to really tight. I also have a Sigma 17 to 70, it’s kind of similar to Nikon put it goes to f2.8 so it’s really good for low light environments.

Where do you draw inspiration for your photos?

I’m a really big kid. I’m 24 and I still watch cartoons, anime, and I’m also a big movie buff. Those are my three biggest inspirations. I want my photos to resemble movie posters. That’s the look I’m currently striving for.

On notable projects:

I did a project with K-SWISS, the photos actually aren’t out yet, it’s for their Fall/Winter 16 campaign. They have used one of the photos recently for a trade show. We shot the project at a racquet club in Philadelphia. It had this gigantic all black room, black walls, black doors, so that was really dope to shoot in. I also did a project for the clothing line THEORY. They were introducing this new material and wanted to highlight its durability, so I took a lot of shots of figures jumping overhead. I had a really fun time working with them.

What other photographers have influenced you the most?

For the most part, I try to keep to myself because I don’t want to get to the point where I’m looking at someone else’s work so much that I begin to copy them. There are a few photographers that really inspire me: @thebrightesthour, @creationsofla, and @shotsbycones.

What is your personal process to capture a great photo?

I have an unique process for taking photos. I don’t draw out my ideas on storyboards. I visualize all my photos and translate what’s in my mind through my shots.

What technology or software do you use to help with your photographic process?

I use Photoshop is for the composition of my photos, for editing I use Lightroom and that’s where I get to the "nitty gritty" of my aesthetic. I’ve also begin shooting video and I've use Premiere for video editing.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as a photographer?

Photography and the media field in general are highly competitive. You have to really bring the heat to stand out. Finding consistent paying work can be challenging as well. Networking is also a big challenge. Now, I always keep business cards on me. When I’m shooting at these events, not only do I want to get my shots, but I also what to know who’s throwing the event and meet the significant people I can reach back out to and invite them to see my work.

On upcoming projects:

Along with building my client base, I am working on a project with a big shoe retailer. I’m also reaching out to Complex because they are hosting this big event in November called Complex Con. So I’m doing this whole campaign on my Twitter to work with them. A producer from Complex actually contacted me, he liked my work and is going to pass on my portfolio.

What quote or phrase do you live your life by?

“You gotta want it” and “Just ask”

You can have these insecurities in yourself, even when you know you are good at what you do, that prevents you from reaching out or approaching certain people. I have knocked out the fear of asking people. They are either going to be with it or they aren’t.

For more on this artist, please visit Aaron Ricketts.com and follow on social media @aaronricketts_

Charles "Chad" Etoroma

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Raleigh, North Carolina

How did you get your start with photography?

It kind of happened by accident. In 2014 one of my New Year's resolutions was to stop and be more appreciative of moments around me. I was noticing too many times where I would see something or be present in a moment that I could capture and just pass by it because my friends were or because I didn't want to stand out. So, my goal was literally to just take one photo a day, whether it was good or of something "meaningful." Over the course of the year I realized that I had a pretty good eye for it. So the following year I kept up the same thing. This time, instead of using my crappy iPhone camera I got into my dad's collection of all Dslr's. Late last year, I met an amazing group of photographers at a Worldwide Instagram meetup in Raleigh. They had fresh new perspectives and they were extremely gracious with their knowledge. I was never made to feel less than even though the quality of work I was producing wasn't nearly on their level. A few months after that I bought my first camera as a symbol of an investment in myself to get better at photography. It's almost been a year since I made that decision and it has been one of the best things I have ever done.

How do you describe your photography style?

When I think about my style there are two things I focus on when shooting, creativity & authenticity. I want to be one of those people that can match an amazing image with an authentic/real moment. It's part of the reason I don't edit my photos to perfection. I love seeing the flaws in photos. It gives it a very "real" factor. I would say that my style is not at all technical and I am so proud of that. I am glad that I didn't take a class or have any formal training on photography, because I don't know or understand the constraints around the industry. I don't know what can or should be done vs. what can't or shouldn't be done. I just do what I feel. I had to improvise for a while because the gear I was using just wasn't up to date (I didn't realize that until I started hanging out with the photography meetup). I used my IPhone for a while and then an old camera so figuring out new ways to shoot things to make it stand out was what I had to do. While everyone I was shooting with was finding the perfect angle for shots, being a rookie, I stood back, watched and found different ways of shooting around them, so I wasn't in the way. (Hah) I had no idea what I was doing.

Where do you draw inspiration for your photos?

I draw inspiration from a few things, namely storytelling and lighting. I am a big storyteller so people constantly inspire me… their experiences, their struggles, their emotions. I also love the symbiotic relationship between light and dark. Shadow play is something that really inspires me as well. I think it's because each shadow created is so different and there are endless possibilities when working with shadows.

On notable projects:

I think one of my favorite projects to date is a shoot I did with some Bose headphones. The story how I even linked up with them is a big laughing point for me. I was scrolling down the #MondayMotivation on Twitter, which I rarely do anymore, and caught glimpse of an awesome caption, picture, quote combo from Bose. So, I retweet it and commented at them that I loved their headphones and that I thought their headphones were way better than Beats by Dre (I truly believe this as I am a big fan of Bose because of my dad). The tweet quickly made its way around several different people within the Bose organization and they soon reached out saying that they had loved my tweet and my vibe and wanted to send me two of their latest limited edition noise canceling headphones as a token of appreciation. After I got them, I created a mini Instagram campaign (charlesetoroma.com/bose) to highlight the story and feature their product. This was also the first time a huge brand I respected reached out to me about anything.

Which photographers influenced you and how did they influence your thinking, photo taking and career path?

That's a good question. I wouldn't say there is a specific photographer that influenced me but a collection of things. I honestly don't even know that many famous photographers. A lot of my close friends in Raleigh have been big influences. Looking at their work and how good it is continues to inspire me to get better. Plus looking at content hubs like The Creator Class and seeing the amazing talent there has been great. If I had to pick a few names of people, when I was originally starting, they would be:

@brandonharvey

@cubbygraham

@1924us

@fursty

@alexstohl

The first three people really influenced my love and need to be extremely open with my audience and tell stories that could actually help inspire and be more relatable. I try extremely hard with every picture I take to have a caption that is worth reading. I want my audience to be able to take something positive away when they look at my account and it's because of those guys that I actually realized the importance and profound impact it can have. The last two photographers just have an exceptional handle on their specific photography style. I don't think I'll ever have that consistent, same-look per photo style, but seeing what these guys have done is amazing. Their work is all just so good. If I could get remotely close to these guys in terms of mastery, I'd be a pretty happy person.

What is your personal process to capture a great photo?

Honestly there isn't a personal process hah. As I have gotten more into photographing people the way I see it all is just about capturing authenticity. I don't plan shoots. I see them as a dance where I am getting to know someone and figure out how they move or what makes them works and vice versa. Once a good level of rapport has been established, creating magic isn't too far behind. Once I get into editing I view each photo as a story. My job is to figure out how to best tell that story. I err for extreme creativity when editing and I try to make it as different as I possibly can. So, my only process is to act as a conductor to creatively tell a story with each photo and help evoke an emotion from the audience.

On upcoming projects:

I actually do. I have been working on a personal project much like this called Espirer (espirer.com) where I am putting together a collection of story/interviews on young, millennial, creatives, all across the country, who are daring to forge their own path and create something of value for themselves. I have talked to people from multiple industries, doing vastly different things. I am super proud of where this project is going and want to show that creativity can be found in multiple disciplines and as young creatives we have the ability to create something of value if we believe in what we do.

What quote or motto do you live your life by?

"I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me" -Philippians 4:13 &

"Strive not to be a
success, but rather to be of value."
-Albert Einstein

For more on this artist, please visit Charles Etoroma.com and follow on social media @hipsterchad

Donte Maurice

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Atlanta, GA

How did you get your start in photography?

I started photography around June 2013, and I started because there was something about portraits and fashion photographs that I was always drawn too. Whether it was the style, the composition, or the personality, it caught my attention and it was something that I wanted to create for myself.

How would you describe your photography style?

I would describe my style as simple & sweet. It's pretty minimal but it still draws your eye to it.

What are some of the things you consider when taking an editorial photo?

One thing I consider is making sure that I direct everything properly, and that it comes out exactly how I envisioned it.

Which of your projects have been the most fun?

Honestly, it's so hard to say! Every project that I've gotten to do this year has been a joy! I wish I could narrow them down.

Which photographers have been your greatest influences?

The photographers David Urbanke, Raul Romo, Alasdair Mclellan, Lachlan Bailey, Mario Testino and Billy Kidd are my favorite photographers in the world! Looking through their work they help me realize that having a simple photographic style is okay. You don't have to own the topnotch equipment or have these elaborate sets to make a shoot good. It's all about your eye and what you can create.

What does style mean to you?

Style is something timeless to me. A person that has style can wear anything and make it look phenomenal

What has been some of your greatest challenges?

The huge challenge is getting out of my comfort zone sometimes when it comes to different clients and assignments. I have to approach everyone's shoot differently and not focus on what I like for them. It's hard because it feels like I'm relinquishing power.

What is it like to always work with new stylists, models, and designers?

I think it's completely fine! I always become very comfortable with the people I collaborate so every shoot is literally a great time.

Any upcoming projects?

You will have to keep watching! ;)

What quote or motto do you live your life by?

Rome wasn't built in a day.

 A lot of times I get a little down when things aren’t happening fast enough for me but then I remember it takes a while for great things to happen and a long development makes for longevity.

For more on this artist, please visit dontemaurice.com and follow on social media @dontemaurice

Ted Wimbush

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Charlotte, North Carolina

How did you get your start in photography?

I started photography in college. I didn't go to school to study photography but was always interested in taking dope pictures with my iPhone. With some inspiration from a few friends, I started looking into buying a DSLR camera. I finally did the winter of 2013.

How would you describe your photography style?

I would describe my photography as unpredictable. Truly, it is... I find that not having a set style makes you better and keep striving to learn more and more. If there is a style out there for me, I haven't found it yet.

What are some of the things you consider when taking an editorial or fashion photo?

Definitely how well-lit my subject is whether I’m using artificial light or natural light. Recently I’ve gotten into retaining as much detail as possible in my shots which require me to use a smaller aperture... With that I have to now include my background in photos to add a dramatic creative effect. Those really work for most shots.

On notable projects:

Well I’ve done an ORGANICS project, which was to show awareness for the women that are natural. By natural, taking the word organics and truly sticking to its definition by shooting women in their natural state without the use of artificial products. Now, I am working on a fashion series with a creative team.

Which photographers influenced you and how did they influence your thinking, photo taking and career path?

Helmut Newton is my all-time favorite photographer; he really didn't influence me but kind of made me be comfortable doing my own type of art, which a lot of people can't accept. I do a lot of nude, swimsuit and lingerie work. But Helmut was just himself, he received the same criticism I receive and he never let up. Modern photography wise and still living, David Bellemere is definitely my favorite photographer. His passion for his craft is shown through his pictures, and actually following him and seeing how he directs his photo shoots by setting the camera down at times to get his subject to do exactly what he pictures in his head... That's inspiring. I sometimes do the same now.

 What does style mean to you?

I don't believe in that word as much as the great Helmut Newton doesn't believe in the word "art". Both of those words have limitations and I just don't live that way. I'm always trying something new.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as a photographer?

Learning the business aspect of things…. When you consider yourself an artist and you have to deal with people outside of your art, it can be on your back sometimes. But if we could just do what we love without satisfying someone else it'd be a fairytale life. So I have started studying more business, trying to balance it with my photography.

Editorials are a collaborative process. What is it like to always work with new stylists, models, & designers?

It’s definitely an experience; I like seeing people do their work in a collaborative way. Most of the time with a team, you'll get some of your best images. The hardest thing is finding the right team. Everybody has a different vision for where they want to be in life. Talents don't usually match ambition. Other than that when things run smoothly collaborative shoots are the best.

Any upcoming projects you would like to promote?

Yes, I'm currently adding some fashion to my portfolio. So if you've got the itch for fashion shoots and you're a model lets create!

What quote or motto do you live your life by?

"Do right by yourself. Do your part. Let the rest fall in place."

 I feel like as long as I’m positive and doing my part, that's enough for me.

For more on this artist, please visit Ted-Wimbush.com and follow on social at @tedwimbush

Gallery Showcase: Awkward Spaces + Chuck Marcus 9/24

HARLEM, NEW YORK

La Maison D’Art will host the inaugural exhibition of Harlem-born photographer and visual artist Chuck Marcus for one day only, September 24th. Awkward Spaces will feature nearly 30 original images by Marcus, inspired by his adoration for his home, featuring four professional female dancers performing in unassuming spaces around New York City.

Born in Harlem, Chuck Marcus has worked for numerous brands as a visual artist in including Sirius XM, KITH NYC, David Z., Play Cloths and more and has been featured in noted publications, High Snobiety, XXL and Hypebeast. Marcus has a pulse for all things New York City and the ability to purely document them in their rawest and truest form through his photography.

I recently caught up with Marcus to discuss the upcoming showcase:

Explain the meaning behind the title of your showcase Awkward Spaces?

It means an uncommon space that you wouldn't normally see dancers in. Ideally I deemed it as something considered awkward to the art form of dance.

What inspired you to choose dancers as the primary muse for your photos?

I went to an Alvin Aliey show and I was watching the dancers as still images and I came up with the idea to create a series based around dancers. I didn't have a theme at the time, I just knew I wanted to photograph dancers. Over time it blossomed into the theme of Awkward Spaces.

How has the Awkward Spaces series challenged or evolved your photography process?

It challenged me in many ways as far as location, scouting, and basically turning anything I want into an awkward space. It also made me think about some of the most regular spaces as awkward for dancers. As far as my photography process, it has helped me develop the story line for the subject in depth.

What should the audience expect from Awkward Spaces?

The audience should expect to see a lot of color, movement, and most importantly the beauty of dance. I call it 'Visual Movement"

Awkward Spaces will run for one day only, September 24th, 2016 and Marcus will host an opening reception from 6pm-9pm. For more information please contact Alexa Palacios at press@chuckmarcus.com or 323.350.2231.

Temi Coker

Arlington, TX

When did you get your start in photography?

I got started in photography December 2011. My friends always sent me pictures to edit (at the time I was editing pictures on my cellphone.) I was told I had an "eye" and was encouraged to get a camera. I had $370 saved in my bank and my friend Dennis Campbell who worked at Target at the time, gave me a discount and I was able to get my first camera for $350. It was a Nikon D3100.

How would you describe your photography style?

I think my style focuses on evoking thought and emotion. I'm really big on capturing captivating moments or something that just makes me feel something. My goal with my photography is for people to feel what I felt when I took the picture.

Where do you draw inspiration for your photos?

I take inspiration from life. If we take time to breathe and just look around, we will see the beauty in this world. This is what keeps me motivated. I like to take walks and just observe. I also draw inspiration from people I've met in real life and other photographers online. Some of my good friends are my biggest inspiration. We grow, learn and inspire each other.

What has been your favorite project so far?

My favorite project so far is the "flying colour" Project. One night I thought to myself "what if people could fly?" This started a series of me putting people in the air and make them look like they were falling from the clouds. As this project progressed, I decided to use color along with people being in the sky. The results were amazing.

Which photographers have influenced you and how did they influence your creation process?

I have so many people who have influenced me as far as photography goes. I've studied notable photographers like Henri-Cartier Bresson and Vivian Maier and loved how they approached their photographs. I would also say @MasterWilliams (Gary Williams), @Rayneutron (Ray Spears) and @ChristianGideon (Christian Gideon) have played a huge part in my journey as a photographer who likes to produce authentic photographs. It's amazing to see the growth and wisdom these people have and I'm thankful they take time to mentor me and give me tips on how I can become a better photographer and hone on what my style is and be confident in it.

You are also a graphic designer. How does your design background influence your photography?

I always loved how people used graphic design and photography to create content and I thought it was a good idea to get better in graphic design. Graphic design has allowed me to approach photography differently. I love minimalism and not doing too much in my photography. I've realized its always about the person behind the camera and behind the computer rather than the tools. Also being a graphic designer allows me to be able to design covers for my projects and books.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as a photographer?

I think my biggest challenge was finding my voice and accepting that my work was different. I wanted to be like other photographers and would try and copy and mimic their style, but as I began to be more confident in my work, I decided to just do what felt right. Another challenge I had was looking for acceptance from other people. I realized if I'm not confident in my work it will show. I don't want to look for acceptance from others because I would also be discouraged from their rejection.

What is your personal process to capture a great photo?

I try to take time with my pictures and focus on conveying feelings using color, composition and mood.

What’s next?

I am working on producing work that I'd like to get hired for so this summer I will be working on a lot more personal.

What motto, phrase or affirmation you live your life by?

Don't base the value of your work or your photography from Instagram likes. Keep creating. Remember why you started and continue creating. Help others along the way as well.

 

For more information on this artist, please visit www.temicoker.me and follow on social media @temicoker

 

Cody Guilfoyle

New York City, New York

When did you get your start with photography?

The summer of 8th grade my family took a trip, we went to Honolulu Hawaii. My grandmother brought her 35mm Canon Rebel along on the trip and decided to let me use it to capture everything. I shot over 25 rolls of film, from there I was hooked. Shortly after that trip for Christmas I received a Nikon d40x.

How would you describe your photography style?

I would describe my photography as documentary, storytelling and spontaneous. My work has a lot of range, so you will see these aspects in my work depending on the platform you are viewing it on. My Instagram has more color specific based work mixed in with portraiture. My website has my documentary and storytelling work.

 

Where do you draw inspiration for your photos?

I draw most of my inspiration from traveling, connecting with people.

What has been one of your favorite photo projects?

One of my favorite recent projects was a bit spontaneous, I went to a fish market and instantly felt inspired. I purchased a couple of dead fish, grabbed some pastel poster board, set up my lights and before I knew it I had an interesting fish photo story.

Which photographers have influenced you and how did they influence your thinking, photo taking and career path?

A few photographers I often get inspired by are Jimmy Marble, for his beautiful color palate as well as out of the box visuals. Second would have to be Vivian Maier, her street photos constantly inspire me to attempt to shoot strangers.

What’s your favorite lens? Why?

The 40mm has to be my favorite lens, it’s an older mm not as common in the new age of lenses. I prefer that lens because it’s not as wide as the 35mm but not as cropped as the 50mm. To me it’s really the best of both worlds, perfect for portraits and landscapes.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as a photographer?

My biggest challenge both personally and professionally is always curating, or consistency. I have a very broad aesthetic as well as subject. I shoot portraits, to landscapes, to arbitrary composition. It’s never just portraits or landscape, it’s always a mix. I used to not embrace it but now as I’ve gotten more confident I just embrace it 100%.

Upcoming projects?

My new project that I’ve been slowly working on is creating perfect scenes by minimizing them. I shoot very graphic or distracting areas then minimize them in Photoshop, to create an aesthetically beautiful, but unrealistic scene.

 

What quote or affirmation do you live your life by?

I like to live by three words. Curiosity, Strength and Awareness.

 

For information on this artist, please visit codyguilfoyle.com and follow on social media @codyguilfoyle

Brandon Haynes

New York City, New York

How did you get your start with photography?

I started taking photos in 2009 after a dear friend showed me some of her photography from an art class and I was amazed by the behind the scenes work that went into it. She walked me through the process of how to manually set up a photo and them develop it in a darkroom. I found the idea of creating something that would never be the same again beautiful. Putting in the work to capture a split second in time felt like creating a work of art. It is now how I see everything I photograph.

How would you describe your photography style?

I would say my style is a minimalist documentary. The goal is for me to capture a definitive photograph of a person, a scene, or whatever it may be at that particular moment, while not overthinking the approach. Capturing true moments that tell a story for the viewer.

Where do you draw inspiration for your photos?

I draw inspiration from my environment. I am inspired by a song, a shape, a person I see on the train - you name it, I take it in.

How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?

I read blogs, trade books and magazine to keep myself educated on what's new. I always view my work with a critical eye and reach out to mentors and peers when I have issue or need advice.

On fun projects:

A fun project for me was shooting the musician Sharon Jones. She is a small lady but has so much energy and was great to photograph. Her personality is so infectious. If you were having a bad day a moment with her would change your spirits. She lighted the whole room when I shot her.

Which photographers influenced you and how did they influence your thinking, photo taking and career path?

Jonathan Mannion, Kareem Black and Matthew Salacuse are big influences. With Mannion, I grew up on his photography and just had a appreciation for the work and always saw his work as being true to himself and the art. His work basically became the blueprint for what I wanted to do. I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Black and was exposed to a vast amount of techniques and information while working in the field with him that I would not have been be able to discover on my own. Salacuse helped me find my identity as a photographer. I had the opportunity to show him my work and he provided me with guidance on the path of what my niche as a photographer should be. He told me to "shoot what you love and specialize in what you excel at".

What are some of the challenges you face as a photographer?

My challenges as a photographer - or having a creative mind in general - is that I am my worst critic and I am never quite sure if my work is good enough. I am always scrutinizing and adjusting and trying to perfect my craft. But I've come to realize there needs to be a checks and balances. You want to progress creatively as an artist but also want to stay consistent in the work you present and the brand you build.

What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

One thing I wish I knew when I began to take the craft seriously is “do what you love.”  Initially I would shoot anything and it would lead to a lot of short comings artistically on my end.  I would have an artistic expression but no style or identity.  All the work I shot in the beginning wasn’t a true representation of myself but more so what I felt others wanted from me.  It led to a lot of frustration as I was trying to find my voice within the art form. Once I realized I began to shoot what I enjoyed in the manner I wanted to. I started to excel in the work I produced.  Shoot what you love, learn all the rules, break the rules, take inspiration from others, and be true to you.

On upcoming projects:

Yes, I am working on a passion project titled "Film Love." Over the years I have been shooting rolls and rolls of film and never had them developed. I recently started to develop these rolls and love what is coming out. It reminds me of why started taking photos in the first place. So I am creating a series to showcase my love for film based photography by developing the over a 100 rolls of film that I have around my apartment. The collection of film covers my beginning as a photographer and shows my progression to now.

What quote or motto do you live your life by?

"Blood, Sweat, and Respect. The first two you give and the last one you earn." -Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

For more on Brandon, please visit www.bhaynes.com and follow on social media at @bhanyesphoto

 

Justin Milhouse

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Detriot, Michigan

You began taking photography serious around 2010, how has your photography style evolved in the past six years?

When I first started taking photos and I didn't have any prior knowledge about photography, I just knew I wanted to start capturing what was around me. As time passed I started reading up on it and really learning my camera. I think my style evolved into more street photography and then to studio photography. I also found myself starting to pay more attention to architecture, shapes, and lines around me. I think that shows a lot in my work from the past couple years.

The city of Detroit has been the backdrop to a lot of your photos. Has that been intentional? If so, why?

Detroit is where I was born, raised, and currently living. I always strive to show off my city and tell stories through my photos, so in a sense it is intentional. I am currently working on a couple projects that really tells the stories of the Detroit people.

You once stated one of the challenges you faced as a photographer is people not understanding the process of creative photos that are original and timeless. Talk a little about your process to capture the perfect photo.

Capturing the "perfect" photo is all about the mood and setting you put yourself in. It’s very rare that I feel like I've gotten the perfect shot instantly. Most of the time it’s when I go home and go through the photos is when I discover the greatness. I don't like to put pressure on myself when I go shoot. I know what I like, I know what I want to capture so I just go out and do it.

What particular technology/software do you use to help with your photographic process?

Lightroom and Photoshop. But it starts with the raw photo I've captured with the camera. You can have all the editing tools in the world but without an eye for what you're capturing the editing tools are useless.

What has been your most enjoyable project(s) so far?

Shooting Iman Shumpert and Teyanna Taylor's baby shower/engagement and covering the 2016 McDonald's All American Games were two projects I had a good time working on. My friend Fred Daniels and I formed GOODHOUSE a couple years ago and have been documenting events through videography and photography. Another project I had a great time working on was a collaborative effort between myself and Shannon Cason where we went to different barbershops and salons documenting the hair culture in Detroit. I took the photos and Shannon Cason did the narrations.

What’s next for your company, FRESH-COOL-DOPE?

Currently working on officially opening my own gallery/creative studio in Detroit.

What quote do you live your life by?

"Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I'm going to take tomorrow" - Imogen Cunningham.

I'm always trying to get better, learn new techniques, and travel to new places. I think that mindset is what fuels my passion for creating.

 

For more on Justin, please visitwww.jmilhouse.com and follow on social @j_millz77 (twitter) and @j.milhouse (IG)