Flying with Mohnsta
It doesn't get any better when you give black people an opportunity to show up and show out! It's a beautiful thing to see individuality roaming free and people celebrating each other. To know that our differences can coexist in the same space is a healing experience. The open energy is palpable when you are in this kind of space. It feels like home. I approached photographing people at Afropunk differently this year. Taking in all the creativity pouring out of the crowds. The outfits, makeup and hairstyles are always a pleasure to witness. I didn’t want to feel overwhelmed with the idea of feeling the need to photograph as many looks as possible. I became more selective, more intentional and it was the most freeing experience not putting so much pressure on myself. I sometimes have to remind myself that just because I am a photographer, doesn’t mean I have to photograph everything.
Taking someone’s portrait is an intimate exchange. My goal wasn't to photograph as many people as possible. All that mattered was that I was holding the camera again. I was back at it creating images for my own pleasure. Little did I know that meeting and photographing Mohnsta would propel me back into my craft like a muscle being reactivated.
She is a creative, model and fashion designer, and she makes her own custom costume every year. These were some of the first photos I took of the day. The freedom in which she moved was a hypnotizing performance. I didn't let go of the shutter as I followed her perform for the camera. Our creative exchange felt like a mutual creative release.
In the effort to decrease the camera equipment I carry, I used one lens all weekend. I was shedding old ideas of what my photography should look like and instead I was going with the flow. I remembered how fear and anxiety used to hold me back from going for moments like these. So, with my heart racing, I watched Mohnsta make her moves as I captured the moment.
The editing process of these photographs was a new experience for me. I have been teaching myself not to overthink and instead to let my intuition guide my creative eye. I have been curious about the world of presets and creating them to build my own unique use of light and color. Taking time away from creating images guided me to think about other aspects of my visual expression. I give credit to one of my fave creatives ChasingDenisse for igniting my interest in this area of photography, diversifying your brand and showing how multi-talented you can be if you stretch your imagination.
I love the color blue and I saw it creeping up in my editing process more and more, so I recorded my Lightroom settings one day and I have ended up being able to transform my photographs in a visually exciting way. I created my first custom preset and called it ‘Blue Industry’. Over time I experimented with different subject matters and the results are quite exciting.
I tried to focus on rich texture and punches of color using images taken in natural light, incorporating cool blue tones. It might throw the color off a bit sometimes, but it still retains the integrity of the subject. A few mistakes and experimenting with color adjustments lead me to save and begin using the preset I now call ‘Blue Industry’ to edit my photos.