Skip to content Skip to footer

Finally Focused NY to LA: Episode 5 Photographer Ace of LA

“The image that we create enhances that person to be bigger than life.”

Ace of LA

Ace of LA, black Commes des Garçons tee on, black snapback faced backward, speaks from his studio in a reclined black chair.

As he speaks, it is clear he is reflecting on his journey, with a visceral understanding in a solemn tone that he always wanted to be a photographer, and thus was always going to be.

“I knew my purpose at a young age. And that’s what I wanted to do no matter what.”

Ace of LA

Photographer Ace of LA takes the first step towards success…

Ace of LA is a photographer based out of Los Angeles. Born in Mexico, from an early age there was never any doubt about what he wanted to do.

“The changes that I went through defined who I was as a person.”

Ace of LA
View this post on Instagram


A post shared by @ aceofla on

He dropped out of high school at an early age to become a photographer. And amidst family members and peers thinking it was a hobby, temporary, or just fun-and-games, photographer Ace of LA stuck with his craft because he knew it was anything but.

He started taking pictures of people he wanted to photograph; “people that gave you that magnitude in front of the camera…” He then transitioned into photographing models, often with no pay.

But Ace of LA doesn’t see free work as just that, because that endeavor is always going to end up in securing a bigger paid opportunity.

View this post on Instagram

IN MY MIND w. @queenofblood

A post shared by @ aceofla on

“That’s one of the biggest things to me, just knowing the value of yourself, what you bring to the table.”

Ace of LA

Ace of LA has shot for Ty Dolla $ign, Wiz Khalifa, Common, Nipsey Hussle, and many more in his career. And he’s just getting started.

“We are in a never-ending journey,” Ace of LA says solemnly. There isn’t a day that goes by where he does not learn something new about himself and his craft.

“The only thing I can tell that young shooter is just to keep being hungry, keep wanting to create, and keep wanting to excel.”

Ace of LA

Ace of LA’s ability to live in the moment enables him to stay grounded and focused on the task at hand. Treating every project like it is a big-budget blockbuster means he is always seeing the best work emanating from his eye and fingertips.

Stay tuned for more of his work and his fashion line here, and check out the rest of our Finally Focused series below.

Watch the entire season of Finally Focused below

Finally Focused NY to LA: Episode 4 Director Terence ‘MF’ Thomas

It all started with a Canon T3i….

Coming a long way from the boondocks of Brooklyn’s well-known Coney Island area, black director, and cinematographer Terence “MF” Thomas has made quite a name for himself.

For this episode of Finally Focused the experienced lensman tells us how he’s gotten to where he is today and how he’s achieved success within the video industry.

“I wasn’t thinking about being an artist. I was just thinking about getting out the fu–in hood…”

Terence “MF” Thomas

That first camera…

From the first time, he touched a camera Thomas was hooked. At 20, he made the executive decision to quit his 9 to 5 but before he did, he racked up enough money to buy his first camera, a Canon T3i.

With one of the hottest cameras on the market, at the time, Thomas would practice until he perfected his eye, taking around 2,000 photos daily while traveling throughout various NYC neighborhoods.

Rapidly MF became an apt capturer of beauty and a justified camera wielder. Soon enough he would be asked to take his photographic talents to video. Word got around that MF had the visual juice, thus taking him to new heights within the industry.

And his well-rounded resume proves it. A three-year stint as a creative director at Elite Daily and stretch at Overtime to working on his own NYC production house Manuall Focus Media, Thomas has accumulated four NY Emmy Awards for his amazing work.

With his head to the sky, Thomas looks to use the pressure of his success to create more impactful content. Additionally, he’d love to pass on the skills and tools he’s learned throughout his creative journey with hopes of opening up a film academy, one day.

His advice to up-and-coming photographers, directors, and cinematographers?

Stay creative. Stay hungry. Stay passionate. Just go out there and shoot…

Terence “MF” Thomas

We love highlighting Black directors, photographers, and creatives. To see more, watch the previous episode of Finally Focused below with photographer Flo Ngala.

Finally Focused NY to LA: Episode 3 Photographer Flo Ngala

“Everyone’s story is really, really different. It’s about timing, and it’s about just being ready, so that when your time comes, you can make sure you come correct.”

Flo Ngala- New York based photographer


Hailing from Harlem, NY, the confident and collected Flo Ngala explains to us how that quote fits much of her career thus far. In eighth grade she got a camera, a Minolta-X-something to be exact, and that opened her up to be creative with the lens throughout high school.

Then, Ngala remarks that working for Gucci Mane was probably the first thing that really catapulted her career. Like she said later in the episode, when that time came… she made sure she came correct.

Working as a personal photographer for Gucci then opened up the door to working as a personal photographer for Cardi B. And portfolio opportunities blossomed from there.

A blossoming portfolio

Flo Ngala’s West African roots inspire her to pursue powerful images and moments. And capture the authenticity of diverse and unique vibrant cultures. In 2019, she landed a cover photo for The New York Times with insightful reporting on Black figure skaters from her hometown.

The talented New Yorker also kicked off the year working with Netflix on a project. Then she proceeded to a Rolling Stone job, capturing much of the intensely visceral moments connected with the protests in New York City this Summer. Notable other clients include Nike, Reebok, WWD, and

“I like being able to just move, and not have to worry about people knowing what’s happening. Just kind of see things, and getting them in the moment,” says Ngala.

The tenacity with which Flo Ngala operates is really what sets her apart and has made her so successful this early into her adult life. Emblematic of how she sees herself behind the lens, one of Ngala’s Instagram posts is captioned, “You don’t photograph people with equipment, you photograph them with energy. The camera is the medium, the photographer is the messenger.”

With an intrinsic understanding and acknowledgment of her roots, a New York energy that only real New Yorkers know, and an innate desire to capture powerful moments that are often forgotten, Flo Ngala stays Finally Focused.

Like the Flo Ngala episode? Check out Finally Focused Episode 2 with Producer Joe Hood

Finally Focused NY to LA: Episode 2 Producer Joe Hood

“There’s a lot of different types of producers and there’s a lot of different levels of involvement for producers, but I really made my way by being involved from content to completion. The idea of a creative producer.” – Director and Producer Joe Hood

That was Joe Hood talking, Illinois native and current LA director, producer, writer, etc.

Hood is the founder and Creative Lead/Lead Producer at Hoodworks Video, a full-service video production company based in Los Angeles, CA.

The visionary director went to school at NYU before dipping out West for more lucrative opportunities. With his pit bull by his side, Hood told us about his creative journey.

Some of the projects Hood has worked on are acting as the VFX artist on Dripjacker by Zaytoven and Lil Gotit, the editor on Body by Pretty Ricky, and the writer and producer on Fox 5 by Lil Keed and Gunna, which has amassed over 3.4 million views since June.

Hood has worked in many different parts of the media industry, from social media work to BuzzFeed and L’oréal commercials to the music video/ creative process now where he has more freedom.

But he stressed that one of the main reasons he has moved around so much in the industry is because he focuses more on the opportunities for himself and others that open up, rather than just over saturating the process with content.

“Being a creator of color… unfortunately it automatically defines you. So at some point, you have to decide how you want to define you and what it means for you,” said Hood.

He stressed how creatives of color almost need to have MORE versatility going into jobs than their causation counterparts, as it’s almost like “they want you to prove yourself in things they haven’t even proved themselves in yet.

“You can’t be successful and prepared unless you’re versatile.”

Hood’s creative journey and his day-to-day process are inspiring in its authenticity and his bluntness about the way the industry works. Keep an eye on the creative director moving forward, as his mission, as in ours, is to diligently stay Finally Focused.

Like the Joe Hood episode? Check out Finally Focused Episode 1 with Director Paulette Anges Ang

Finally Focused NY to LA: Episode 1 Paulette Agnes Ang

“In general, life is a gift invaluable and if you share that view everything you create is worthwhile… ” – Director Paulette Agnes Ang

We caught wind of Paulette Agnes Ang and her work after watching the video for Princess Nokia’s track “Balenciaga.” The continuous shot. The intensity of each frame. And the overall creativity of the project is what caught our eye.

We had to hit her up and tap into the mind of the young director in order to grasp a better understanding of her work. And this first episode of Finally Focused NY to LA is a direct representation of that.

Already making a name for herself the Thai, Puerto Rican, Italian and French director, has worked with artists and brands ranging from Joey Bada$$ to Versace.

Not to mention her grind doing non-biased reporting on social, scientific, political, and cultural occurrences for Getty Images.

With nearly a decade’s worth of work, the multi-faceted creative’s journey is definitely one worth documenting.

Paulette Agnes Ang and her creative journey

Starting her creative journey as a production assistant in 2011 Paulette took hold of every opportunity presented to her. She would tap into her directing talents for the first time after linking up with 88 Palms to create a video.

While shooting, by chance, she was recruited by a managing director at an agency that represented directors. It was at that moment Paulette said, “That this was something that not only felt natural for me but unknown and rich in exploration.”

Merging her skills as a painter and an artist Paulette’s work became more than valuable. For her, “film and video are forms of communication and they are conversations that you have with the viewer through your work.”

Additionally, they are conversations you have with the artists through their work and a conversation with yourself. Using her love of non-practical lights to create an atmosphere that makes the viewer feel like they are in an altered state.

“I think because I am not very ‘film literate’ I get most of my inspiration from paintings and the art world…”


View this post on Instagram


@PetiteMeller Aeroplane out now premiered on @lofficielusa . . Directed by @a_t_mann Produced by me 🙋🏻‍♀️ c/o @Freenjoy DP: @ste_ferrari Drone: @reininja (East Coast) @skyhighbtan (West Coast) Dancers: @RockwellDanceCenter Martial Arts: @martialkat Editor: Ornit Levy Post Production: Tal Baltuch, Yehuda Revivo Camera Assistant: @AshliBickford Assistant Director: @helenekugelberg , @chenca Styling: @Nao_now @MariaPozosc @HellenKugelberg Designers: @AngelChenstudio @AlessandroTrincone @PuppetsandPuppets Hair: @SherlynSuzette, Shinpei Tanaka Makeup: @LisetGarza Production Support: Jack @drezilla @Akere1e @Shahar_ruly Ella Yaari Drivers: Rojay Barnes, Robert (Bob) Savarino, Salim Allen, John Morford Location Manager – Meriden Markham Municipal Airport: Connie Castillo BTS Photography: @the_gerger #petitemeller #aeroplane

A post shared by Paulette Agnes Ang (@pauletteagnesang) on

At this point in her career, she is open to learning even more from collaborative experiences. Paulette’s advice to up-and-coming creatives…

“Be open to experiences and opportunities and be curious when you are in them. Challenging your perspective is how you can go deeper in what you are doing and learn about yourself and what surronds you.”

On the preface of greatness, let’s keep our fingers crossed for the visionary inspiring the next-gen of directors as she is nominated in three categories at the 2020 Berlin Commercial Festival.

“Life is a gift.”

Shoutout The Squad 


Director: Jesse Vargas

Executive Producer: Claude J. Easy

Creative Director: Paulette Agnes Ang

Director of Photography: Ilya Shnitser

Edited by: Jesse Vargas

Art Assistant: Esmee Liu

Colorist: Elias Nousiopolous

Color Provider: Evan Bauer

Color House: The Mill

The Music

“Figura” – written and produced by Giacomo Favaron

“Ritmo Elegante”- written and produced by Marco Shuttle

“The Tropical Year” – written and produced by Alessandro Adriani


Lisa Brown

Photographer Lisa Brown helps us heal with her powerful images

Photographer Lisa Brown is a Black woman making work that feels and looks like film stills. Her work covers the African diaspora in an honest and beautiful way. The powerful images encapsulate the Black joy and are at times moments of reflection. 

This Women’s History Month I want to recognize the powerful voices of Black women in photography. The emergence of black women in photography is not at all a new concept.

We know historically women and people of color have been left out of the major canon in this field. We can trace back time and again where BIPOC voices have been suppressed throughout multiple mediums.

There are many notable names that come to mind like Deborah Willis, Carrie Mae Weems, Zanele Muholi, Deana Lawson, and Polly Irungu. 

lisa brown photo
Photo Courtesy Lisa Brown

Photographer Lisa Brown connects to the diaspora

Lisa Brown and her works have been recognized by the Pittsburgh Art Society, Black Is Magazine, and The National Museum of Women in the Arts.

She began her photographic journey taking classes at the National Children’s Museum in Washington, DC. Brown completed college and got an AS in African American film at CCBC, and a degree in the Arts from Prince Georges College

After Brown graduated she dove into Africana Studies and the inspiration of these studies shows throughout her work. She is a bicoastal creative from Compton California, and Washington DC, a Getty Contributor, and a part of The Black Women Photographers collective.

Collectives like Black Women Photographers show us the importance of building a community amongst our fellow photographers.

photographer Lisa Brown
Photo Courtesy Lisa Brown

Currently, the photographer Lisa Brown is someone I admire. Her willingness to take a chance on her dreams and is creating works is inspirational, to say the least.

These images speak to the experiences of Black women. Her work promotes the representation of Black people from the black perspective. She uses a careful and caring eye throughout her photographic work.

Her project titled Shadow Work shows images of a woman in a white dress in a field. These images are striking in the way that Brown has captured movement and the individual’s essence.

She talks about Shadow work and the importance of recognizing the subconscious work that must be done to better oneself. 

Lisa Brown comes from a long line of photographers

black woman joy
Photo Courtesy Lisa Brown

Jade Rodgers: How did you get your start in photography?

Lisa Brown: My grandfather put me in a photography class in 1st grade. By 3rd grade, I learned to process film alone and did enlargements in the darkroom. 

JR: You’ve been photographing on film for some time. Can you talk about your relationship with film?

“Film has this timeless presence and you can always go back to this tangible item.”

Photographer Lisa Brown

LB: Subsequently, it has the ability to take you back in time. This reminds me of Sankofa. Which is a staple principle in my journey.      

black joy
Photo Courtesy Lisa Brown

There’s always room for Growth

JR: You mentioned to me in a previous conversation that you’re a Getty contributor, how did that begin and what sorts of jobs do you have to do for them?

LB: I randomly applied to BWP and got accepted. As a result, I was offered an opportunity to be critiqued by a director there. Who fell in love quickly with my work and taught me how to pitch a story deck. I think if you want to see the change it has to start with yourself.

Black joy
Photo Courtesy Lisa Brown

JR: Your work centers Blackness in a really beautiful way. Can you talk about your process and how you bring projects to life?

LB: While I learned some time ago from a professor at Towson, named Dr.Wright. Wright said to me“put your Black glasses on because you can’t take them off.” Being African from the diaspora is a beautiful movie. I thought, “Why not shoot a still?”

“I pray my images will make you want to see more of the emotions we go through daily.” 

– Photographer Lisa Brown

JR: Have you thought about entering into the NFT space? If so can you talk about some interest you might have or what you’d like to mint in the future?

Photo Courtesy Lisa Brown

LB: Yes, I’m in the production of my Polaroid book and there’re at least 5 shots that will be minted as NFTs through the platform Nifty Gateway soon.

JR: You grew up bicoastal. Can you talk about that experience and some of your influences growing up that played a role in your creative process?

LB: I grew up strangely loving Compton in my heart. My sister is Samoan and their culture is very different from my experiences living in the east. From their food to music it’s all very different.

I’ve had those hot fire hydrant days in DC and snowboarding on cardboard at Howard’s campus hills as a child. I was also able to have many muscle beach days and fly to the bay. It’s a polar life I’ve lived.

photographer lisa brown
Photo Courtesy Lisa Brown

Being apart of Black Women Photographers

JR: How did you get involved with Black Women Photographers? How has that space helped you grow as a creative?

LB: Big shout out to Polly Irungu, she critiqued me at Women Photojournalists Of Washington (WPOW) and stayed in contact with me like no other.

I was in Nigeria sending her emails and she encouraged me to scout this and that. Honestly, endless thank you’s to the space she created to grow fruitful relationships.

“Even in my little film corner, I didn’t feel alone anymore.”

– Photographer Lisa Brown

JR: It’s a new year so I’d love to talk about any upcoming shows or works you have and some goals you might have set for yourself moving into the new year?

LB: I have 9 shows this year, not including a solo in dc, a residency in Cali, and a show in Lagos Nigeria. My goal for 2022 is to hire a publicist and start working with an editor for my book. Honor an elder and accustom a professional mentor for my career. I’m very thankful for my photographer mentor Q in ATL.

black joy
Photo Courtesy Lisa Brown

LB: My project Shadow Work is a series about a close friend transiting in her life, a dark time but this too shall pass. The importance is to be present and perform your rituals and do the work on yourself.

This includes dancing, self-care of this body, sister circles, and devotion to your higher authority. 

lisa brown photo
Photo Courtesy Lisa Brown

LB: The Big Pin Up is a series on owning your sex. To show vulnerability and the muse shows you what you’re allowed to see that is attractive.

“Brown women have not been seen or allowed to control their sex in these countries and not at all like other women of noncolor.”

– Photographer Lisa Brown
lisa brown photography
Photo Courtesy Lisa Brown

Check out all of Lisa Brown’s work at Heal Her Photography here.


5 photographers who are making big ETH from NFTs

At Kulturehub, we have touched on the ever-expanding market of photographers and NFTs many times.

But, we are more than willing to give a summary to those who are unfamiliar with their unique place in the art world. NFT’s (Non-Fungible Tokens) are any digital assets that people pay real money to own. In the art world specifically, they are pretty much any piece of art that can be purchased and owned digitally.

NFT’s are an interesting and somewhat controversial technological and artistic topic. Some people believe that NFT’s are the art of the future. Some people scoff at the idea of owning something that is subjective “not real.”

However, as our society continues becoming more reliant on technology, the existence of NFT’s and NFT artists has slowly become increasingly legitimized.

It’s also important to remember that nothing legitimizes art more than money and popularity. NFT’s are becoming more and more popular every day, and people are investing more and more money into digital artwork.

Lately, people have been paying outrageous amounts of money for photographs. Photographs that are deemed iconic are particularly popular. Let’s take a look at 5 photographers who are already heavy in the NFT circuit.

“Love Is War” by Aimos Vasquez – NFT sale price $125,000 (40 ETH)

Via Instagram

You may be familiar with Aimos Vasquez from this extremely iconic photo that he took of XXXTentacion. The photo is currently the only photo left on X’s Instagram, the second most liked photo, and the most commented photo in Instagram history.

The photo was placed in a collection of his concert photos entitled: “Now Crediting: Aimos”, and was auctioned as an NFT. It was put to auction on the online asset marketplace Blockparty and the collection sold for an undisclosed amount of money.

Aimos is still snapping dope pics of your favorite artist. If you want to support him and his amazing photography, check out his Instagram and the portfolio on his website.

“Until We Disappear” x “White Roses for My Soul To Keep” by Randall Slavin – Combined sale price $22,000 (6.8 ETH)

“Until We Disappear” (courtesy of Randall Slavin)

On May 18, 2017, rock legend Chris Cornell tragically died by suicide at the age of 53. It was recently discovered that, only months before he passed, he had done a photoshoot with photographer Randall Slavin. Slavin, with the approval of Cornell’s widow, decided to mint and sell the unreleased photoshoot as NFT’s.

Two NFT’s went up for auction, one entitled “White Roses for My Soul To Keep“, and the other entitled “Until We Disappear.

Each of them is essentially slideshows of the different portraits that Slavin captured of Cornell in his final photoshoot. They were purchased using Cryptograph.

A percentage of the proceeds from the sale went to Phoenix House California, which is a trio of non-profit drug and alcohol rehab centers. Cornell was on drugs at the time of his death and struggled with addiction through much of his life, so it seemed to be the most fitting place to allocate money.

You can see the previews of these two NFT’s here. If you want to support Randall Slavin and his beautiful work, be sure to check out his website, and his Instagram.

NFT artworks by Matty Furious – Total estimated value $61,008.42 (19.217 ETH)

Terminal Stop Edition 1 of 1 by Matty Furious

Absurd cityscapes, vintage video games, and eerily familiar early 2000’s computer aesthetics. What do these things all have in common? They are all attributes of the insanely difficult-to-describe NFT’s created by photographer Matty Furious.

While NFT’s have the tendency to be sort of interesting and atypical, there is no artwork I have seen quite like Matty’s.

His work is so interesting because it is typically composed of things that seem so familiar, but you know you have never seen before. These familiar elements come together to create new ideas and fantastically chaotic worlds.

Matty’s work is currently available to view and purchase on SuperRare. You can also follow him on Twitter where he posts updates on new NFT’s he’s dropping. You can also subscribe to his Youtube channel where he makes wild videos with similar aesthetics to his NFT’s.

NFT artworks by photographer Elise Swopes – Total estimated value $339,772.88 (107.027 ETH)

We have already interviewed the brilliant Elise Swopes regarding her work and the NFT’s market. However, in case you weren’t familiar, Elise is an artist, a name-brand collaborator, an NFT creator, and a pretty remarkable human.

Her NFT’s are beautiful, they typically involve the distortion of stunning city pictures that she takes herself. She manipulates stunning, but ordinary environments into artwork that changes reality.

Recently her NFT’s have seen a great amount of popularity. In fact, some of her pieces have sold for over 40,000 dollars worth of cryptocurrency!

She is quickly climbing to the top of the NFT world, and you should be there to enjoy the climb. Go looking through her website, her SuperRare page, and her Instagram to keep up to date with all of her artistic developments.

Anna McNaught total NFT assets have an estimated worth of $105,000 (33.2 ETH)

Anna Mcnaught is an extremely talented photographer, photoshop artist, and NFT bag collector. She has dropped several impressive NFT’s along with her portfolio of far-out digital art.

Her Instagram is packed with beautiful, colorful, unique pieces that stand out even in the field of digital art. She has some NFT’s dropping on August 15th, so we highly recommend you hop over to her Instagram if you are interested.

Also, check out her website for a more comprehensive overview of her portfolio and everything she has to offer. You can shop for her work directly on her website.

A portion of the proceeds from your purchase will go to the environmental organization The Sierra Club. She’s one of the next big things in the NFT world, so check her out today.

Photographers need to get with NFTs

Photographers are having a tremendous amount of success selling their art as NFTs, so it looks like NFTs are not going anywhere anytime soon. Whether or not they are the future of art is yet to be seen, but it is worth it to take some time to get lost in this new and exciting art medium.

If you are new to this, start with these awesome photographers and see how you like their NFTS and work. You may just find that you appreciate digital art more than you ever thought possible.

Stonewall Riot

The memorable photography of the Stonewall Riots years later

At the center of Pride Month in New York City is the commemorative space that Stonewall Inn carved out in the summer of ‘69. Incited by a police raid, the Stonewall Riots laid the foundations for queer liberation in the years that followed. The revolutionary period of the Stonewall Riots was documented by photography that makes up the archive of visual history we still have today.

Not only were the Stonewall Riots captured in photographs, they also left a lasting impact on the artistic community as well. The Stonewall Riots were a liberating movement for the LGBTQIA+ community, and photography that had previously suppressed themes of queerness.

The movement was also a fight for visibility that transformed the expressive limits of photography. Photography during and after Stonewall was having its coming out – below are some of its key actors and defining images. 

stonewall riots photography
McDarrah captured this view of paradegoers during the fifth annual Christopher Street Liberation Day march at Gay and Christopher Streets in June 1973. Courtesy of Fred W. McDarrah Archive/MUUS Asset Management Co LLC.

Fred McDarrah

A longtime staff photographer for the Village Voice, Fred W. McDarrah is the photographer behind still many of the most recognizable images from the scene.

pride month new york city
Fred McDarrah’s “Celebration After Riots Outside Stonewall Inn, Nelly (Betsy Mae Koolo), Chris (Drag Queen Chris), Roger Davis, Michelle and Tommy Lanigan-Schmidt, June 1969” (1969).Credit…Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images, courtesy of Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York.

There was still no demand for photos of transexual or queer people from museums or galleries. But McDarrah knew they were valuable subjects.

pride month new york city
Marsha P. Johnson, the trans activist and co-founder of star (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries), the radical, intersectional activist collective, June 27, 1971.Photographs by Fred W. McDarrah / Courtesy OR Books

He shot countless Pride Month parades, hearings, and also marches that summer in New York City on his film camera. The images were developed in a makeshift darkroom in his family’s Greenwich Village apartment. All together it was about 40,000 prints by the time he passed in 2007.

Now McDarrah’s work is an invaluable part of this history. And it has been featured in countless institutions telling the story of queer liberation. 

Diana Davies

Another essential photographer of the movement was Diana Davies. She was a big-name photojournalist at the time that she turned her attention to the queer liberation movement.

photography after stonewall
Photo by Diana Davies, 1971. Source: NYPL.

As a result, Davies was able to capture those figures at the head of the movement including Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Ellen Broidy amongst others.

after stonewall riots photography
Diana Davies, Untitled (Marsha P. Johnson Hands Out Flyers for Support of Gay Students at N.Y.U.) c. 1970 © The New York Public Library:Art Resource, New York

Her participation in the movement and presence there was read by the public as an admittance of her own queerness and was a kind of ‘coming out’ in and of itself.

This kind of shallow judgment failed to deter Davies from continuing to capture the transformational work happening at the Stonewall Riots. 

Photography After Stonewall

The art world now stages countless exhibitions that seek to honor the photographers of the movement and beyond. One particularly notable exhibition by Soho Photo Gallery in 2019 commemorated the 50th anniversary of Stonewall by highlighting the work of 23 artists.

Titled Photography After Stonewall, the exhibit showcased the work of photographers that have developed a creative approach to LGBTQ issues. The works, which include themes of gender/sexuality, the AIDS crisis, the American nuclear family, would have been unthinkable before the riots.

pride month new york city
Image by Fred McDarrah, courtesy OR Books

As a queer liberation, the Stonewall Riots rippled out into the artistic community, and the lives of people around the world.

Mental Health Photographers

5 mental health photographers capturing the importance of MHAM

Art is not only a coping mechanism but an escape for many. Its different forms allow both artists and viewers to communicate, relate and understand the distinct depths of the human experience.

And now that is officially Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM), and the world is experiencing change like none before, perhaps, is worthwhile to explore the depths of the human mind through photographers.

Many of these visual artworks can be a great example to study and destigmatize different mental health problems.

The following photographers scrutinize and communicate different aspects of mental health. They explore depression, anxiety, and different mental disorders. But, most importantly, their depictions expose and challenge the taboos over the matter.

Edward Honaker

Edward Honaker was diagnosed with chronic depression when he was only 19-years-old. Thus, the photographer documents his experience with it through a series of black and white self-portraits. Honaker successfully captures the isolating fear that depression brings.

“Your mind is who you are, and when it doesn’t work properly, it’s scary,” he told The Huffington Post. Ironically, it was only after his diagnosis that he saw a light at the end of the tunnel.

Sometimes, when your mind is off, it’s important to name the problem. Not only does this give you a kind of explanation, but it’s the first step toward finding a solution. That way, Honaker used his camera to turn these emotions into a tangible expressions.

Katie Joy Crawford

At only 11-years-old, Crawford had her first panic attack. When she was 13-years-old, she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

In her series, My Anxious Heart, Katie Joy Crawford represents her physical experiences with anxiety and depression. The series not only aims to capture her internal struggles, but to bring them to light.

The photo series explores the emotional and physical journey that her diagnosis gave her life experience. She depicts her own experience as both draining and suffocating. Yet, aims to explain the weight that these bears in our society, thus challenging social taboos.

Heather Agyepong

Heather Agyepong, on the other hand, brings awareness to the difficulties in dealing with racism and oppression. This British-Ghanian artist sheds light on ‘Black trauma’ through a series of staged self-portraits. Mixing historical figures and her own experiences, she combats all the negative feelings of inequality and racism.

Her goal is to open up conversations about how these issues affect the Black community politically, socially, and most importantly, mentally. Thus, acknowledging the severity of the problem.

Photo by: Heather Agyepong, “Too Many Blackamoors”

John William Keedy

Through a deeply personal series ‘Its Hardly noticeable,’ photographer John William Keedy, illustrates his struggle with anxiety disorder.

After seven or eight years of being diagnosed with anxiety, Keedy was ready to create an artwork that not only represented him, but something that could help some audiences to relate. Through his series, he creates the ‘character,’ a person who intends to portray the different struggles that anxiety presents for different people.

Photo by: John William Keedy, Its Hardly Noticeable Series

He told NPR magazine, “if only to help a couple of people who are going through the same thing in some way feel that they’re not alone in this.”

Etinosa Yvonne Osayimwe

From the Plateau State conflicts to Boko Haram’s insurgency, Nigerian people have had their fair share of suffering. That leaves its scars.

Etinosa Yvonne Osayine uses her camera as a powerful tool to depict trauma and use it as evidence of such atrocities. Her series, ‘It’s all in my Head,’ aims to help people open up about their experience and help them deal with trauma.

“When I wake up in the morning and just before I go to bed, I think of all that happened. I went through hell and I can’t get it out of my head. Boko Haram is the worst thing that happened to me.”

Hajara Abubakar, 24, Borno, Nigeria. The Culture Trip Magazine
Photo by: Etinosa Yvonne Osayimwe, It’s all in my Head series

Yospie Cardoso

At the age of seven, Yospie Cardoso was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Through a series of self-portraits, he depicts the life of a man living with schizophrenia. Not only does he hope to incentivize awareness, but also to eliminate the stigmas around it.

Photo by: Yospie Cardoso, ‘Loneliness and Alienation’ 

“It’s been a chance to show people my experiences. When you tell people you have schizophrenia, they automatically think you’re crazy. I want people to understand and stop looking at the stigma of it.”

Yospie Cardoso, The Mighty Magazine, 2015
Photo by: Yospie Cardoso ‘Suicidal thoughts’ 

The importance of photographers specializing in mental health

Art can be both golden or gummy, but it is always real. Whether it is the subconscious mind communicating something beyond the realms of rationality, or a practical depiction of existence.

What these artists communicate, for that matter, depends on the eyes of those viewing. At the end of the day, the beholder would always see what the beholder wants to see. So, whatever it is, just let it sink.

Remembering a legend: 10 iconic photos from Kobe Bryant’s career

To the photographers able to capture photos of Kobe Bryant throughout his illustrious career over the years, thank you. It is because of you that we have iconic and powerful photos of Kobe Bryant to remember him by, both on and off the basketball court.

Much of my family derives from Philadelphia and neighboring East Coast areas. The farthest back that I can remember is the first time my feet touched the ocean at age three in Avalon, NJ.

When I sat down with my grandparents to watch the 2001 NBA Finals (76ers versus Lakers), my family swore up and down how the 6ers and A.I. would triumph.

Unbeknownst to them, there was a guy on the other side of the court with the basketball named Kobe Bean Bryant. Remembering Kobe Bryant is one of the best things we can do whenever we need motivation and clarity.

Let us now reminisce and bask in the glory of the legendary ‘Black Mamba’ through this collection of wondrous imagery.

Remembering young Kobe Bryant at the tip of his career

Kobe Bryant photographed by Jon SooHoo during a portrait session outside of The Forum in Inglewood, CA – 1997

“Green and inexperienced, dreaming about that chariot.”

Capital Steez – Dead Prez

Making the leap from high school to the league is quite the feat. Kobe welcomed the challenge in stride and set his sights on the upper echelon from day one.

Remembering Kobe Bryant means remembering him before reaching the height of his powers. The star-eyed youngster intent on being great.

Reading the paper, Kobe clearly disapproves of what he sees

Kobe Bryant photographed by Andrew D. Bernstein while reading the paper prior to playing the New Jersey Nets during the 2002 NBA Finals in Los Angeles, CA – June 01, 2002

The satirical caricature of Kobe’s domineering comrade, Shaquille O’Neal does not even measure up to his waistline. Why poke a bear? Kobe gives us his best Cam’ron impression in this flick in contemplation along the lines of, “Sure. Add fuel to this Mamba fire. My play will do the talkin.'”

Star-studded lovers Kobe and Vanessa Bryant in the early years of their relationship

Vanessa Bryant & Kobe Bryant photographed by Andrew D. Bernstein while arriving home after defeating the 76ers during Game Five of the NBA Finals in Los Angeles, CA – June 16, 2001

“Am I wrong? I want my bouquet when I can smell it”

(Legend – Benny the Butcher)

An undying passion for the game and commitment to excellence flowed through every vein of Kobe’s body. One can only imagine the amount of love and devotion Kobe showed to those with whom he surrounded himself, inside and outside of basketball.

We remember Kobe Bryant in his efforts off the court just as much as we do those on it.

A beautiful father-son duo, Kobe always respected and appreciated his pops

Kobe Bryant & his father Joseph Bryant photographed by Nathaniel S. Butler while in the locker room before a game against the 76ers in Philadelphia, PA – November 26, 1996

Kobe’s hunger transcended generations. He was one of the few athletes with the caliber to jump straight from high school to the NBA.

Some people know their calling from a young age and KBB was clearly of a different elk since conception.

Shaq and Kobe always had a contentious relationship, but there was always love there

Kobe Bryant & Shaq’s father Phillip Harrison photographed by Andrew D. Bernstein before a game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA – 2000

Kobe was a family man through and through. He yearned to discover every single detail and aspect about the game of basketball.

That crossed over to relationships as he wanted to know every single thing about those around him in order to better himself and advance relations in the utmost.

So even though Shaq and Kobe feuded, this photo of Kobe Bryant and Shaq’s dad reminds us that there was a lot of love on display still.

Before the rings, Shaq and Kobe had a lot to prove, together

Shaquille O’Neal & Kobe Bryant photographed by John W. McDonough while playing against the Houston Rockets in Inglewood, CA – May 09, 1999

The rift between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal in their basketball endeavors was well-documented in their careers. When you get two competitive behemoths of that magnitude, it is difficult to have everything flow perfectly.

Regardless, their off-the-court disagreements never spilled over onto the court. As genuine basketball connoisseurs, that is all we can ask for.

After the first ring, this candid photo shows the pride both Kobe and Shaq felt

LOS ANGELES – JUNE 19: Shaquille O’Neal #34 and Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers pose for a photo after winning the NBA Championship on June 19, 2000 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2000 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Clearly, the rings can do the talking. Not only that, but the sheer gaudy statistics speak volumes of these two players’ capabilities.

Call them what you want – never call them for fronts. These two men are legends.

Perhaps one of the most famous photos of his career, Kobe takes a second to take the moment in

Kobe Bryant photographed by Andrew D. Bernstein after defeating the Philadelphia 76ers in Game Five of the NBA Finals in Philadelphia, PA – June 15, 2001

Exhausted, spent, worn. Kobe poured his heart and soul into every bounce of the Spalding.

An individual to truly admire for his wondrous deeds on and off of the court, these photos of Kobe Bryant keep us inspired. Greatness personified.

The ultimate competitors: Kobe vs. A.I.

PHILADELPHIA – FEBRUARY 20: Allen Iverson #3 of the Philadelphia 76ers and Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers stand during a game played on February 20, 2000 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1993 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

If you were there, you attended the closest thing to heaven’s entrance. Night in and night out during their careers, Kobe and A.I. spoiled us with their incredibly gifted outputs.

When Kobe fatefully passed on this day last year, A.I. was one of his many contemporaries to speak out on his love and respect for the Mamba.

“Greatness needs company, and we needed each other. Mike needed Prince like Prince needed Mike.”

Allen Iverson in The Players’ Tribune

One of the most famous photos of Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson: The two biggest Laker legends of all time

Kobe Bryant & Magic Johnson photographed by Walter Looss Jr. during a portrait session for Sports Illustrated in Los Angeles, CA – April 01, 1998

Voila, Magic! Not only did Kobe put on for the entire state of California, he commanded attention, globally.

Together with Lakers’ legends, Kobe had massive plans to continue to bolster the identity and elite functionality of the Los Angeles Lakers organization.

The magnum opus of Kobe Bryant photos: Kobe and Mike, teacher and mentor

Michael Jordan & Kobe Bryant photographed by Andrew D. Bernstein during a game at The Forum in Inglewood, CA – February 01, 1998

There is no denying the fact that to be the man you have to beat the man. With careful craft and rigorous preparation Kobe molded his game ever so closely to that of Michael Jordan.

Kobe Bryant’s basketball prowess is what got MJ’s attention. But it was his work ethic and killer mentality that truly attracted Mike to Bean. And MJ spoke reverently about Kobe at his memorial in 2020.

“Kobe was my dear friend, he was like a little brother. When Kobe died, a little piece of me died.”

Michael Jordan

Interested in more Kobe Bryant quotes? Tap in here: