As it tends to be with most Instameets I've attended, there's invariably at least one person who I end up connecting with afterwards. A couple days after one, I had the opportunity to catch up with Eddie as we explored a part of Brooklyn he wasn't too acquainted with but that I was glad to show him around.
1. So we got a chance to chat here and there during the ONA + Charity:Water Instameet which is where we originally met but tell me a little more about yourself and could you describe how photography became an intrinsic part of your life?
I grew up in Virginia Beach, VA. Like any other small beach town, you can do only a few things for fun. Surf, skateboard and learn an instrument to name a few. I did all of the above. I started skateboarding/playing the drums around 11 years old. The drums were my first love. I learned to play by listening to my newest CD at the time and playing along. I would go to this record store called "Volume" with my friend Steven and his older brother Danny. They would put me on to all of the newest/hottest indie rock bands and I would learn every song front to back.
While spending the little money I had on CD's, I found a little skateboard mag called "Transworld Skateboard Mag". Inside of this magazine would be the beginning of my second love, photography. I would stare at each issue every day for the whole month in utter amazement. The first photographer I became obsessed with was Atiba Jefferson. The way his compositions were, the lighting, you could just feel the emotion in every shot. To this day, he's the number one reason why I ever wanted to buy a camera in the first place.
But like I said, my first love was music. So I followed that passion all the way through to my adulthood. It wasn't until I found mobile photography around 2011 that I fell back in love with photos. I started to revisit those memories as a kid looking through skate photography. Then in august of 2012, when I hit a wall with music, I decided to get an actual camera. You see, drumming turned into producing. Producing turned into DJ'ing and I ultimately found myself going from one to the other looking for that old feeling I got from a drum set. When I picked up the camera, I got this magical feeling. That same feeling I got when I picked up the drum sticks for the first time. So in a way, living in New York and not being able to have a drum set in my apt, put a camera in my hand.
2. I know it took me personally many sunsets and puppy photos to realize what type of photography I enjoy. How was that path of self-discovery for you?
As I had mentioned, I started with an iPhone. So I was constantly looking at iphoneographycentral.com every single week trying to mimic what folks were doing in there. At the time, it was a lot of compositing etc. Once I picked up a DSLR, I started like anyone else does. Taking photos of my girlfriend, NYC, my mom, nieces, dogs etc. I am a huge believer that you can do anything you put your mind to/self teaching. So I am constantly learning every single day. My iPhone is always on my Flipboard reading articles on photography. Once I got passed "sunsets and puppies" lol, I learned that I loved lifestyle, commercial, documentary, landscapes etc. Once I started along those paths, I also found myself diving into music photography. Musician portraits, live photos etc. It's funny how things work out and come back full circle.
3. Photographically what inspires you?
This is a tough one for me. Like any other artist, my mood changes every 5 sec. So as of right now? A good minimalistic skate photo. There's a bunch of pro skateboarders that naturally move into photography as well. One of my favs currently is Fabiano Rodriguez. His black and whites are just stunning. He did this self portrait project a little while ago. The photos are him on his board with a very minimal approach. The compositions are CRAZY.
But majority of the time, music inspires images. I'll listen to a new album or revisit some music and visualize the sounds. If that makes any sense lol. I have a little bit of Synesthesia sometimes, it comes and goes. Sometimes as images, sometimes as colours etc.
4.What’s your big vision for where you want to be?
Well I'm working to be completely full-time freelance by next year. I just love taking photos and my dream is to make a living out of it. Whether that's doing lifestyle, music, skateboard or wedding photography....I just love my craft. I'll be happy with whatever falls in my lap. In the mean time, I'll be doing the same thing I've been doing.
Creating relationships with brands and artists all by myself with no agency or help at all. Not saying I wouldn't like an agency *wink *wink. Just making sure that people know that they could do whatever they want in life with or without people helping you. I have great relationships with brands like Giant Step, Okayplayer and Red Bull all because I pick up my phone and emailed people constantly and get them to view my portfolio. Countless free gigs for exposure and meetings upon meetings. You HAVE to put in the ground work first.
5. Any famous last words?
Yes. Never stop believing in yourself. Don't ever listen to what people are telling you. I don't care if it's your grandmother. Don't let people tell you, you can't do something. If you would've told me this past January that I'd be shooting for Okayplayer and RedBull within the next 3 months, I would've said you're crazy. If anyone ever wants to email me and ask me questions about gear, how I do this, how I got that....please feel free. I welcome it in view that I was that same person and still am. I know what it's like. I love giving back to the community and helping out. Last but not least, stay humble with whatever you do. It will take you places.