CA: What made you want to do photography? SF: A good friend of mine, Donnell Culver, got me into digital photography. I was always attracted to it, but never had an “in” really. Eventually though, I got into film photography while at grad school when my mentor Thomas Sayers Ellis suggested I try it out.
CA: How do you incorporate photography to encompass how you see the world? SF: I constantly compose shots, even when I don’t have a camera in hand.
CA: Do you have any inspiration from the world of photography? SF: Other photographers inspire me, sure, but I’d like the think that the world alone is all the inspiration one needs to fall in love with photography.
CA: What do you do to improve on your craft? Techniques? SF: Try & shoot everyday, even if it’s just with my iPhone. More importantly, though, especially now that I’m still new to this, I think it’s almost important to just try & shoot everything. Comfort is the most dangerous thing to an artist.
CA: What is the perfect picture to you? SF: This question’s too loaded! There are a number of “perfect” photographs. A lot of things go into it, whether it be how evocative the image is, or even just how nice it is to look at. Like any art-form, it should make the audience feel something, good or bad.
CA: How do you work with your clients for shoots and events? SF: I try to get an understanding of what they are trying to express. Often times clients come in with a more general mindset, I like to try and narrow something down to start & then expand as the shoot progresses.
CA: What helps you get in the mindset to shoot something? SF: It depends. If it’s a portrait shoot I usually try to hype myself & the subject up with music, really get some feeling going. For events, I just try to have fun. If I’m having fun & those around me are having fun, it makes the experience such much better.
CA: How long have you been doing photography? SF: I first picked up a camera maybe three or four years ago. I mostly tried to teach myself the mechanics of photography. I didn’t start taking it seriously until maybe a year & a half ago.
CA: Do you have a favorite shoot? SF: A few weeks ago, I went to Atlanta to visit some friends. It wasn’t a paid gig or anything, but getting out there & just shooting was so much fun, so fulfilling. Not to mention the people there are so dope to be around. It was such a beautiful place.
CA: What do you feel is the biggest asset that you have right now? SF: I’ve got an amazing set of friends & family. I depend on them a lot for the support.
CA: And the biggest challenge you have as of right now? SF: Focusing on what I want to do & how I can accomplish that.
CA: What is fun and rewarding for you in regards to photography? SF: Capturing life at all its moments. There are just so many beautiful things that go unnoticed & unappreciated. Photography makes you slow down & really take in the wonder around you.
CA: How do you want your work/portfolio to be remembered for? SF: A friend of mine described photographers as “having the audacity to let life speak for itself.” It’s such a genuine sentiment. That’s what I’d want my portfolio to be remembered for.
CA: What is the best advice you can give someone with a strong desire to do photography? SF: Get at it like Nike says homie.
Follow Stephen on IG @bodegablues