Interview with Photographer / J Shotti | Edition VIII

How do you describe your Photography to people?

I try not to describe it at all. As far as styles, my mood and interests change a lot, so I’m always trying different things. It shows in my work, so when I tell people that I do pictures, I just leave it at that and tell them to check my site.. Or I tell them who I have worked with so far.

I see your Photography in a wide range of subjects from beauty to music artist, whats your favorite?

At first I just started taking pics of little random obejcts in the street, I had more of a fine art style of shooting, but the more I started shooting people, the more I loved it. I just love capturing the moments that will never happen again. Its like I’m recording history and becoming a registered part of it. Everyone and everything affects history somehow, but my contributions can actually be seen and viewed later. I love that! If I had to choose a favorite, it would be music. Because I LOVE taking portraits…and I LOVE everything fashion photography is about. Music is the perfect blend of portaits and fashion, you get the honesty and personality that you would get from a portrait, while also keeping that fresh style and showing the clothes and concepts that fashion brings.

Did your early photographic goals include earning a living from photography, or did it start as a way to express yourself creatively?

I was actually doing music, music is my life. I write and produce and had NO interest in photography at ALL. I took a film photography class in high school, only because a girl I liked was taking the same class and I wanted to try to get into the film loading room with her (it was a pitch black room that only 2 people could fit in). But two years ago my friends got me a digital camera for my Bday. It was a lil Kodak 6mp camera. I never had a camera before that, it was my first camera ever. Lol. I was taking all kinds of pics with that thing and one day I decided to become a professional photographer..lol. My life is retarded. I went to Barnes and Noble everyday for 8 hours a day for 3 months straight and read every book and magazine about photography that they had. I saved up 900 bucks and bought my first SLR. It was the Nikon D80. The camera paid for itself in just 3 shoots. I still haven’t recouped the money for all my music equipment. Needless to say, I put music on the backburner and started a new career in photography.

Do you remember your first photography sale?

Yep! My first independant sale was when I knew NOTHING about how a photoshoot works. I had taken some photos of my good friend Jesse Boykins III( he’s a talented singer/writer). After he showed people the pics, everyone came to me asking how much I charge…I was like “uhmmmmm..$350.00″ and everyone pretty much was cool with it..lol. So those were my first sales. I had NO business charging that much money at that point in my career. The pics weren’t retouched, color corrected…nothing at all. I look at them today and I’m like WOW..those pics are horrible, I’m so much better than that now. (One of the pics actually made Jesse’s 1st album cover though, its called “Dopamine”..google it and listen if you havent already)
My first major sale was a few months after that. It was with Dime Magazine, a basketball magazine.

Who are some people you would like to work with?

I would feel totally accomplished if I shot Michael C Hall (Dexter), his character in Dexter is sooo complex..I would get MONUMENTAL photos of that guy, I already know what I’d do. I also want to work with ANY musician who puts their real personality and soul into their music becasue when I shoot you, I’m going to find the TRUTH in your soul, so if u don’t want that exposed, chances are we won’t be getting the best pics possible, and in that case, I don’t want to work with you. That’s why I like shooting actors when they are IN character, its the character they play that I get to know and become fascinated with. Anyway..let me just finish answering the question and stop rambling. I’d love to shoot Hugh Laurie (he plays Dr. House), Homer Simpson, Michael Vick, Lil Kim, and the iconic hip-hop photographer Jonathan Mannion. Just to name a quick few.

Do you feel like what you are doing is important?

VERY. I’m recording history. You cant sell anything without an image attached.. the world would be barbaric without music and pictures!!! But, I also feel that everyone in the world is doing something important. Even if you are homeless, that’s important. It gives the world a balance and diversity that is soo beautiful. I always work to be the best at whatever I’m doing. If I was doing this interview and you ask me this same question, but instead of photos, I’m working as a janitor…my answer is still “HELL YEAH what I do is important!! I get PAID to do it, don’t I??..lol. If I don’t clean these floors, who will? This building don’t get clean, who can come to work? Who will make money here? Who won’t be able to feed their family anymore?” lol “The world’s a stage and everybody got to play their part!!” -Andre 3K

Must art have a relationship to the rest of the world?

The world is a huge place! Every piece of art connects with something, somewhere. Art is GREAT! Everyone is an artist, some do a better job of expressing it. Art is any kind expression made from within and manifested outward. It doesn’t even have to be tangible. Models/Actors create intangible art. You can take a picture of them in the ACT of expressing an emotion. But you can’t put hands or eyes on that feeling that they’re showing you, you can only feel it inside yourself…MANNN…how could you not love art??? I hope I answerd the question properly.

Lastly, could you talk about any long-term goals you have in mind?

I’m working on a huge project that will be about 15 years in the making.. I hope I last that long. Other than that I try to stay productive and keep myself amused artistically. Photography is such a small part of why I was put on this earth, but its going to help me pave my path to succeeding in doing all those other things. Shout outs to Convention Mag, Thanks for having me!!!

www.jshotti.com