When I moved in the three Spaniards promised they wouldn't speak in Spanish so I would never felt left out- while I appreciated the gesture I knew it was a promise they could never keep. In the mornings I would wake up to Abel talking to his dog Django in Spanish; in the evenings after a hard days work everyone would slip into clothing and a language that was most comfortable. You notice the musicality and beauty of a language when you don't or can't understand its meaning. Seeing how regional speech affected speed or annunciation of words. I never cared because you can learn more about a person listening to them engage in a conversation in their native language then you can speaking one foreign to them. There were different schedules but one place we always congregated was around the kitchen. Often sharing meals at the table by the window.
This was the home I had envisioned finding abroad. Despite not living in an artist warehouse I still managed to live with people who created art. One of my roommates is a fashion photographer. He taught me that agencies are always looking for photographers to test what they call "fresh faces" new models that have just been added to the roster.
I emailed the giant list he gave me and one of the agencies reached out to me. The day of my first photoshoot I was scared, not just because this was my first time working with agency models but because the weather was overcast with a chance of rain and I planned on doing all my shooting outside. The agency was on the 4th floor of a narrow building in central London. There was a farmers market down the street brimming with food trucks and young smartly dressed Londoners. A very large very old great dane tried to escape when I walked through the doors. As I talked with one of the agents about my ideas for the shoot the sky opened up. Thankfully the model was late so we missed the brief storm.
During the photoshoot with the second model we talked about the experience of being black in the U.K. versus the U.S. Through it, we found there were similar experiences like the racist treatment which manifest in different ways due to cultural norms.
My final shoot was with Beckett who had just finished his A levels. We talked about what he saw in his future and the possibility of getting a degree in physics. All the photos were taken around the Barbican Center this amazing brutalist housing and community arts space tucked away in central London.
I love shooting outside and interacting with the world. I learned how to think on the fly and create interesting compositions using my models and the urban landscape.
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