Updated: Apr 2, 2020
CA: Who is King Texas?
I am a guy who likes to have fun, loves his mother, takes photographs, loves film (medium format), and loves building connections with people. I’ve also switched from whiskey to tequila.
CA: How did you get into photography?
I started actively taking photographs after I dropped out of college. I stumbled onto the punk/hardcore scene at CBGB and took 35mm photographs of some bands I knew. I also was a part of a band and went on the road. After CBGB closed, I entered the nightlife scene in Manhattan and Brooklyn. I was a part of a media team, The New Pop. I worked with two amazing artists, TreVZ and TONE. We covered a lot of ground together. I started to photograph Sway (SoHo) with my friend and mentor, TONE, and produced a lot of work in that space. Later on, I curated some events at Sway. I photographed Happy Endings where A.L.I.E.N. was producing events and I also produced an event with them. It was a really great time. I had the pleasure of working with a lot of amazing individuals. The list is really long. The experiences that I had in multiple DIY scenes definitely helped shape the person and artist I am today.
CA: There is something powerful about the portraits you have in your portfolio. What makes you decide someone would be great to shoot? Are these impromptu or planned?
I don’t really have any opposition to who I photograph. The decision is up to the person. I actually want to photograph everyone. I really try my best to make my experiences as open and expansive as possible. I have no limits when it comes to people. It’s really weird when I see the same people over and over again in people’s portfolio’s, but everyone works differently. Most of my shoots are never planned unless I am working on a specific project. I can ask a friend to meet me so we can grab some coffee and catch up and I’ll end up taking pictures.
CA: You have subjects from all walks of life especially those of the LGBTQ community. How important is it to showcase these individuals in photography?
Portraiture is a collaborative experience, at least in my work. To be able to connect with kin/community and document these connections has and always will be a great importance. It collectively allows us to showcase our narratives and support one another in our endeavors. It’s also important to create a visual archive of our existence. I’ve photographed activists, artists, writers, and a bunch of folks who are doing amazing things. The violence and oppression against Black queer, gender non-conforming, non-binary, and trans-identified folks, especially Black Trans women is heartbreaking. I know that there is a question after this about being (solely) Black feeling like a “battle“, but there is oppression against those are don’t fit within the gender binary, fighting everyday to keep going when the systems that be are creating laws that are meant to kill you. It’s so deep. So, to have folks be a part of the work that I create and to be a part of the work they are creating is beyond significant.
CA: I see some recurring faces as I start from the beginning of your work to the present. Do you have a team of people you work with on a regular basis? If so, does the group have a name?
I’m not a part of a collective, but I do have some individuals that I work with more often than others. It really depends on where we are creatively. I’m always down to work with people who have amazing ideas and energy. I’m always down to work with people who push me to create something completely new. Two of my favorite brothers to work with is MoRuf and Rob Lewis. We started working together in 2014 for his first LP, Shades of Moo. We got to collaborate again for “Loosies” which just came out. We work very well together and I have the upmost respect for them.
CA: As a born and raised New Yorker, how does it feel recording the stories of the residents of this city?
It is really awesome and surprising that I’ve been able to continue to live and work here. I say that, because the city is changing so much and in some ways, not for the better. I’m very happy that I’ve been able to build, connect, and document people and their journeys. There is nothing more important to me than that. And, no matter how much this landscape changes, I will continue to build work and moments in New York.
CA: At a time that being black seems to be a fight to live, how do you feel your images make being black so beautiful and positive?
The beautiful thing about many people creating work is there are so many narratives to tell. I don’t strive to create portrait work outside of what people are feeling. I create work that showcases Black people who are joyous, sad, depressed, ecstatic, on their way to work, on their way to the club, on their way to the bodega, on their way to run their business, and so on. We are multifaceted and it’s so difficult for people to see Black folks as human beings. We are beautiful no matter how we feel and where we are in this life. I want people to look at portraits that I take of them and wake up in the morning with more power and confidence.
CA: What are your three goals for the rest of the year when it comes to your craft?
I just want to continue to take pictures, be surrounded by love, build community, and travel.
CA: How do you want your work/portfolio to be remembered for?
If I am fortunate, I want people to feel like they were loved and heard when I took their picture.