When did you realize you wanted to become a photographer and was there any photographer who work influenced you the most?
I actually never had that moment when the light clicked and I thought “Wow I want to be a photographer”. My reason for picking up the camera to photograph models/talent was born out of necessity. My intro into the entertainment field started when I created a web-portal called DC Music & Models. I would go to local open mics in Washington D.C. and videotape the rappers performing, battling, etc. The unedited footage streamed on my website 24/7. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I was doing this in a ‘Pre-MySpace’ era, before YouTube, Facebook, World Star, etc. After a short while I took that content and created DCMM Live, a 29 minute TV show that aired nightly on lease access channels in the DMV area. I started hiring photographers to shoot models, so that I could stream and air that content as well. The main reason I got into photography, was because the photographers I hired were unreliable. I realized I would have to get this done without relying on other people. When I think about it, I can’t say that any particular photographer influenced me. During that time creating for my website, I would look at the various hip-hop/urban magazines and admire how the models were captured. I wanted to get deeper into photography, because of the art. Soon I started meeting people in the entertainment media field, including Howard Huang (celebrity photographer) John Blassingame owner of Blackmens Magazine and Sean Cummings (SHOW Magazine). Shortly there after I created CRED Magazine®. Since then I’ve created and published other mags like Cred XTRA / XCLUSIVE, She’s inCREDible, GamerGirls Mag and coming very soon, Cosplay Vixen.
What’s the shoot you are most proud of?
There was a model that I had shot early on, she was featured in the very first issue of CREDMAG. Some years went by and we reconnected to do some cosplay themed shoots. The very first shoot we did, was of her cos-playing Harley Quinn. It wasn’t a big production, we just went out to the train yard and shot. Well, one of the shots went viral. Seems like everyone has seen that picture of Marie Starr as Harley Quinn. It might be my most recognized shot.
Do you prefer indoor or outdoor shoots?
No preference. I started out shooting in-studio, so I learned how to use strobe lighting before I ever shot outside!
What has been your greatest professional success and biggest setback?
I haven’t reached my greatest success just yet, but I’ve had a lot of great moments. When I complete any project, a magazine launch, etc., that is always a good feeling. Biggest set back was between 2012-2016, I stopped creating at the pace I had been. Life happens and sometimes you take steps back to build up and move forward. I had to find a healthy balance between secular work and my creative work. I’ve been able to resume my creative work full-time. The setback was, that no one really knows my work now. When you stop creating, you die. So its no days off from here on out.
What has been your favorite shoot / campaign / to date?
Around 2010/2011, I created a publication called ‘unDressed Magazine’. I photographed all of the female model talent, wearing the latest fashion, dresses, etc. (fully clothed). Again not such a big deal now, but at the time most ‘urban models’ were only getting magazine features wearing lingerie or nothing at all. It was a good time creating a general audience publication, in which urban girls/models could be legitimized in their modeling craft. I might have to bring that concept magazine back.
What’s your best childhood memory?
Spending time at my grandma’s house in Washington D.C. She lived a block away from Howard University on Bryant ST NW. As a kid, I would walk up the block and see students going to class. When I think on it, I might have been scouting talent even back then, LOL (jokes).
Is there something you have dreamed of doing for a long time, if so why haven’t you?
Getting wealthy is something I’ve dreamed of doing since childhood, lol. I consume a lot of self improvement materials on health, finances, etc. So I’m on my way up!
Would you rather live for a week in the past or the future?
The past is done, nothing happens there. If I were to visit the past, it would be to get a few more moments with a departed loved one. Definitely a week the future.
What is the #1 thing on your bucket list?
No buckets, I just do it while I have the time. Live it to the limit!
Has there been an incidence that has changed your life forever?
Not necessarily one incident. I’ve traveled to a lot of different countries, seen and met a lot of cool people. The experience of seeing the world outside of your own neighborhood, was definitely something that shifted my perception of life. I’m a lot more grateful for the simple things, that I used to take for granted.
How can everyone keep in contact with you on social media?
On Instagram: @ishootdopepics . But Keep your eye out for my publications @CREDMAG and other associated titles like @CosplayVixensmag . Big thanks and shout out to AJ3Report, for granting me the opportunity bro! Love Abners Angels, I’m a fan!!!