I was recently reminiscing about my career, how it has evolved, the multitude of paradigm shifts that I have experienced over the course of the last eight years and the many events and projects that I have been involved in.
Thinking about the past led me to browse through some of my hard drives, which allowed me to stumble upon the portrait of my friend Milo featured here.
As an artist and entrepreneur that has experienced countless burnouts and devastating drops in morale over the course of the last eight years, the premise behind Sebastien Zenella’s “Please Stay Positive: Jeremy Flores” short film truly resonated with me.
When I first began my career as a photographer, due to my overwhelming enthusiasm and lack of professional experience, I never anticipated that the business and entrepreneurial nuances of it combined with my (unhealthy) workaholism and perfectionism would cause me to begin to resent photography and my career at times.
“Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” is psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s famous investigation of “optimal experience” wherein he reveals that the most genuinely satisfying moments involve a state of consciousness called flow. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity and a total involvement with life and what they are presently engaged in.
With that said, I believe that very few human endeavours embody the state of flow as clearly or as beautifully as the art of dance.
Even though I think of myself as a visual artist, I have definitely experienced other art forms firsthand and I have a great deal of admiration and respect for all artistic mediums, especially those that I have not invested thousands of hours into.
I have been a huge fan of “Star Wars” mythology since I was a kid and I’m very excited about the release of “Episode VII: The Force Awakens” this coming December, even though George Lucas is not directing it.
In the meantime, a super-talented British filmmaker by the name of Paul Johnson has released an animated short film entitled “Tie Fighter”, which depicts the forces of good and evil with a primary focus on the dark, Galactic Empire.
I love the digital age, I love social media and other aspects of digital media, I love the fact that the quality of my cellphone’s camera allows me to practice my skills at any given moment and I love the fact that I can instantly share my work with thousands of people around the world.
However, even though the vast majority of the images that I shoot are presently digital, I am forever grateful for my early years as an analogue photographer that exclusively used film, between the seventh grade and my second year of university.
During those years, I was a kid, my economic resources were limited and as a result, film was limited. Furthermore, darkroom time was restricted, so I had to make every photograph count. Each roll of film was sacred , every second in the darkroom was cherished and the process of shooting and developing film was not unlike a religious rite of passage.
Over the course of the last seven years, I have worked with, have been on stage with, have learned from, have documented and have shot portraits of countless musicians, artists, entertainers and icons that I admire on a number levels.
With that said, at this point in my career, it takes a number of unique qualities for an artist to peak my interest, regardless of what medium they use to create their artwork.
Since 2013, Travis Scott has been one of a few musical artists that I became an instant fan of (for numerous reasons). As such, I was truly excited to cover his concert at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall this past Tuesday and even though I had thoroughly listened to his “Days Before Rodeo” project prior to the concert, I had no idea what to expect from his live performance.
Much of the chronology of my life and many of my memories are tied to music that reminds me of certain periods of time.
In terms of my early high school years, many of my memories are intertwined and triggered by Dr. Dre’s “Chronic 2001″ masterpiece and most of Eminem’s seminal work during the late 90s and early 2000s.
In fact, one of my earliest high school memories involves being intrigued and perplexed by my first viewing of Eminem’s “My Name Is” music video.
Prior to traveling to Atlanta, I didn’t have a truly experiential point of reference for Atlanta’s Hip-Hop culture or the the societal nuances that influenced it. My appreciation for Southern Hip-Hop only extended as far as BET, MTV, Much Music and a childhood of mixtapes, mix CDs and digital downloads.
However, once I visited Atlanta for the first time, I began to understand Atlanta’s Hip-Hop music at a deeper level.
Prior to that first trip, I read an interview featuring Julia Beverly (of Ozone Magazine) in which she described Southern Hip-Hop music as being music that doesn’t place a great deal of emphasis on lyrical complexity and is produced primarily for nightclubs or as part of one’s soundtrack for a long drive.
In many ways, Florida is the underbelly of the United States, with many of the nation’s most absurd and sometimes horrific crimes taking place within the state’s borders.
Sean Dunne’s endlessly quotable and surprisingly poignant “Florida Man” documentary features worn out and inebriated layabouts in the Sunshine State, interviewing a number of beer can philosophers over the course of fifty minutes.