When I was in the 8th grade, it was around the time that everyone was on tumblr. Each day I’d spend my day taking in everything hype, be it sneakers or clothes, and began to realize that every Hypebeast posting on there had the same Canon Rebel DSLR. I wanted to be able to take dope photos too; it was like a “whoa! I want to do this photography thing” moment for me. However, I couldn’t afford a camera.
Fast forward two years. By this point, I had amassed a small collection of Air Jordans and other sneakers. I was still on the hunt for a camera, but I still didn’t have the funds to get one. I found a camera body on eBay for quite the low, and knew some people selling a kit lens and a 50mm lens at reasonable prices. I was desperate to cop the camera, so I ended up selling my Bred Air Jordan 1’s, some infrared Air Max 90’s, and a pair of black cement Air Jordan 3’s to pay for everything. I didn’t even think twice about it.
I ended up selling my Jordans to pay for everything. I didn’t even think twice about it.
Once I had my hands on the gear I was hooked. Every day I’d be out, looking for things to shoot. This is when Instagram started popping off with cityscapes, so that’s what I initially got into. As time progressed, it was getting a bit old to me, so I started shooting more portraits and live action shots.
When I was a senior in high school, I wanted to take my photography a step further; I wanted to finally make money off of my hobby. When I thought about who the biggest influencers of our generation were, musical artists immediately popped into my head.
After looking into how to start shooting rap concerts locally, (that was probably my exact Google search actually), I learned I needed to a) contact promoters and b) be shooting for an outlet. Shortly after, I saw Lil Uzi Vert had a show in town in the upcoming month. I emailed everyone and anyone that could maybe help me get into that show. I finally heard back from the promoters, who asked me the golden question: “which outlet are you shooting for?”
The truth was, I had no outlet. I was shooting for me, to build my portfolio and score more gigs. But I pulled a quick one and told them I was shooting for a local streetwear boutique that covered music on their blog. He told me “he’ll get back to me”, which seemed like a resounding no.
For every no there are a few yes’s.
On the day of the show, literally an hour beforehand, I received an email from the promoters — I was approved for a free ticket and photo pass for the show. Needless to say, I was stoked.
I went to the show, did my thing, and everything turned out perfectly. After this, I was a fiend for shooting live performances. I looked up every show coming through afterwards, and messaged every promoter I could. Of course, I was declined a lot, but for every no there are a few yes’s. The next show I shot was Tory Lanez, and I remember catching this awesome shot of him walking in the crowd that got me some attention from Tory as well as a local hip hop outlet. This helped me gain traction, while also helping me build a relationship with an actual outlet to shoot for.
Now I’ve shot Majid Jordan, Travis Scott, A$AP Ferg and Playboi Carti among others. To me, it’s still crazy how selling a few pairs of sneakers opened such a huge door for me. It’s been nothing but a total blessing.