Favorite Flicks of 2017
Like the previous year, looking back on 2017 through the camera lens, here are 12 of my favorite photos that I shot this past year - my favorite of each month - and the stories behind them. Enjoy...
Polaroid Test Shots - January 16
As far as my own photography work goes, 2017 was a slower year for me than I had hoped for. I shot a lot for clients, brands, and SOSICO. - more than I did for myself, but that's what you gotta do to pay the bills I guess. This will be the over-arching theme of the year and all of these posts, so get used to it...
Anyways, I started the year with a brand new polaroid camera that I received as a Christmas gift. This is a photo of the first photo that I shot on it - a test shot selfie in a mirror in my basement with Allen lurking in the background. Classy.
Blank Face - February 12
It was snowing. It was cold as fuck. We sent it to Providence to try to shoot some content for the recent line, "Criminals Painted in a Bad Light". The "Blank Face Ski Mask" was the highlight of the line for me because of how dope it was to photograph, especially still coming off of a recent obsession with the (highly underrated in my opinion) Blank Face LP by ScHoolboy Q.
Alex and I sent it through the mall and to the other side of the parking garage to a pretty frequented photography location. This staircase has bright blue painted handrails and is incased in triangular shaped floor to ceiling windows that allow for tons of natural light. Because of the weather that day, the muted tones worked to almost "sterilize" the photograph and allowed the cyan criss-crossed handrails to pop out in the foreground while the S's logo dead center on the forehead of the ski mask stood in focus.
Blurred Vision - March 9
From a random shoot with Matt, Ricky and Johnny. We kept it pretty local on this one due to the weather finally breaking and warming up a little bit. I had envisioned this concept a while back and having my tripod with me, was finally able to execute.
While having the subject stand completely still, they would then move their head around rapidly while taking a long exposure - being sure not to move any other part of their body. If it all works out correctly, everything will be still and sharp, while their head and face become a complete blur.
Never stop experimenting with your art. Always try new techniques and new ideas. Don't get boring.
Beauty in the struggle - April 9
In the childhood home of Brodie Fresh in Elmont, NY.
This was my first time eating Jamaican food from Jamaican Flavors in Queens. This short trip was also my first time going to Philly. A couple firsts here. Things were good. Things were happy here. There was a lot of shit going on, on both of our plates, but we were making due with it all and at the end of the day we were both happy. It might look bad on the surface, and although shit sucked (underlying), it's never all bad.
I think that the struggles of life can simplify things sometimes.
Escape - May 30
Sometimes creating art for no reason is reason enough.
Took some much needed time to wander around the coast that day with Alex, Will and Brodie. I had been working on a lot of different things lately, one in particular was planning for the store that we were about to open a couple months later.
This shot feels so West Coast to me. Like a warm Californian day looking out at a beach from the vantage point of an ocean cliff adorned with sweet flowers. It's not though, and that's why I think I like it so much. It was Rhode Island in late May. Warm enough, but still very overcast and the least bit tropical. Perspective is all it takes to let your mind roam.
Reserva Florestal de Recreio do Monte do Brasil, Terceira Isl. Açores - June 26
Looking over the West side of Angra do Heroísmo from the crater of the Reserva Florestal de Recreio do Monte Brasil.
After a long hike to the top of 1 of the 4 peaks of a crater, Ricky & I hiked down into the middle & then back up the other side to the Southernmost point of this peninsula that juts out in front of the city of Angra. This photo is shot from just above the crater. As we continued, we were surrounded by nothing but rolling hills and the sights of trees & flowers with the city in view between the peaks in the distance.
Beautiful Abyss - July 1
Sitting on a whale watching boat in international waters off of the coast of the Island of Terceira. Out in the distance there was this one, singular low hanging thick puffy cloud gliding just above the calm sea. With nothing else in site or surrounding it, it felt so vast and empty - limitless like an abyss - but beautiful in the simplicity of it all.
Jamiacan Rain - August 19
Hot, humid, tropical rainy showers in Lucea, Jamaica. From the entrance to our hotel we could look out past the lush flowers and palm trees to the bright blue Caribbean ocean.
After I shot this photo, one of the gardeners at the resort insisted on taking a photo of us. He then asked us if we had ever had a fresh coconut before, to which we replied no. He asked us for our room number and told us he'd be by in 5 minutes.
There was a knock at the door shortly after. I opened it and he was standing there with makeshift water bottle vase filled with fresh flowers he'd picked from the gardens (for Bethanie), and a coconut the size of our heads with a small hole hacked in the top. I drank the fresh coconut water & instantly started speaking creole...
Swisher Sweet - September 30
September was lame, but I did get to shoot for Swisher Sweet. I also don't own the rights to this photo anymore, but I'm posting it here anyways.
of us - October 19
In early 2015 I founded a second clothing brand in the form of a creative outlet; OF US.
The name is rooted from a mix of prefixes such as “de”, which translates to “of” in most latin based languages. My family name, Deus, is of Portuguese origin and translates to God. When broken in half, it becomes, “De-Us”, (how it is pronounced) or essentially, “Of-Us”. The OF US brand is the unofficial sister brand to SOSIC. and represents the creative balance between the two. Its backwards nature and concept deems it solely exclusive to the individuals behind and around it. It is created OF US and exclusively FOR US.
In recent years, I have produced very small, limited runs of clothing under this moniker. If you asked me about it or what it was, I probably told you it was some shirt I bought in New York.
This brand is more personal; an extended look into my conscious and subconscious. Do not expect it and do not try to understand it.
It is of God; with contrasting beauty and fear. It is fleeting - here today and gone tomorrow. It is of ambiguity; bearing marvel and curiosity. It is release, to maintain balance in juncture. It is undivided, sole and unique among the masses. It is OF US & FOR US. Losers Never Win.
Dirty Mirrors - November 15
On a whim, we shot these looks for the "Dirty Mirrors" single promo content one night in the basement of the shop. We dragged these huge 4x8 foot mirrors down the stairs, and in the process fucked a lot of shit up. There were pieces of broken glass everything and Vincent sliced his hand open really good - to the point where he turned pale white and almost passed out from the blood. It was sick.
After a slight recovery, we positioned the mirrors into a pentagon shape with them all facing in towards each other and had Matt and Vincent sit inside one by one. We shut the lights off, and with an iPhone flashlight in one hand, and my camera in the other I proceeded to lean in over the mirrors from the outside and shoot away blindly.
The best part of this is how fluid and experimental it was. We just went for it and it worked and that's always the best. There was very little done in post which is always super cool too. This shot also reminds me a lot of some shit that The Weeknd would put out for content a while ago, back when he dropped House of Balloons and The Trilogy.
As it all unfolds - December
I couldn't pick just one. I did this the previous year.
December was one of the better months for photography and even in general. So many cool things came from it. So much progress. Myself and all of my friends doing great things. It seems like things are finally unfolding and shit is gaining traction. We're starting to figure it all out.
UNTLD. launched their first single & I shot this crazy as photo of them for their profiles. I wish I had photos of the setup we shot this with lol - it literally looked like a big fucking disaster. We cleared out a corner of our soon to be photo studio room and shut the lights off in the shop right during the middle of the day. I rigged up a desk lamp on the floor, and rested a taller lamp down on a pillow on each side to try to diffuse the hard shadows behind them cast on the white wall. It looked like a mess. Each portrait of Matt & Vincent was shot separately and then brought together in post production with a good amount of editing to get it all to fit right. It was the first time I did anything like this, and I'm proud of it. Thoroughly.
A week after that I shot with Spocka. He needed some new general promo content. No set direction, just content. We drove around brainstorming and shooting random shit. After a while I got sick of how boring and overdone everything was coming out. The solution - "Bro, your hair!" "What?" "Everyone knows you by your hair 'cus you've got these really long dope dreads." In my head I was thinking of some crazy ass Busta Rhymes styled video angles so I just sat down and shot up with Spocka looking directly over the camera.
Later that same day, I shot more content for UNTLD. again. Walking into the location was like walking into the past. It had this old vintage feel, it was perfect. 100% plan on shooting there again soon. Hmu.
Elmont, NY. Brodie Fresh. Directed by Fred Focus. Lamborghini with the top down in the Winter. Enough said.
And finally - the first SOSICO. tattoo. Yes it's real. Yes, that's how we're really setting the tone for 2018. Get ready.
It's done, 2017 is a wrap and I'm so much more excited for 2018 than I've been for any other year. This past year felt like a dud, but I did a lot of learning. There were a lot of experiences and it helped me start to get my shit together - and so much more than I could ever explain in a blog, and so much in store for the coming year. I even have a list of resolutions. Is this what growing up feels like? Am I "adulting" now, finally, at a fresh twenty three years of age?
Things feel like they're coming together. I've been connecting the dots. I'm not worried about or focused on things I once was, it's past me, and moving on and focusing on the bigger picture has become the new trend I feel I'm on.
Photography is a direct reflection of one's self, and if you have a camera in your hands most of the places you go it will embody that. You allow people to see your point of view, literally. With that said, by the next time I'm sitting down to create my list of "Favorite Flicks of 2018", it will be from a much different perspective that I can't wait to share with you all.
Peace + Happiness