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Rising Stars: Meet Antonio Diggs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Antonio Diggs.

Hi Antonio, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I fell in love with photography in high school about 12 years ago. It was a way for me to express myself outside of the normal day of school and sports. I felt I needed another outlet to express how I was dealing with life and coping with the unexpected passing of my father back in 2005. Once I graduated I decided to focus strictly on basketball, but always knew I wanted to circle back to photography to create a magazine that showcased the talent this area had to offer. Fast forward to 2015, my daughter, Peyton, was born and I knew I had to make a decision on whether I wanted to continue to pursue my career in basketball or jump into photography. After consulting with my family and friends, and doing a few shoots with my friends at Street Meet DC, I decided to pursue photography as a career and gave myself two years to make something of it. By 2017, I had worked with various companies, such as Shea Moisture and Capital One Arena, and once I landed those gigs I knew this was for me!

I decided to LLC my name and become a photography company and everything took off from there. I was working consistently with different companies and clients, including Instagram and Roc Nation, and then the pandemic hit. I finally had time to reflect on all I had done and realized I had never completed my plan of making my own magazine.

After seven months of work, I finally released my magazine (Ochenta Magazine) in October 2020. I am currently working on the second edition of the magazine, in addition to shooting with popular celebrities, such as Lisa Raye, Celebrity Stylist Michele Lopez, Ashanti, and Martin Luther King III. My most recent achievement is winning DMV Photographer of the Year from the DC Renaissance Awards. I’m proud of all I’ve accomplished so far in my photography career and am excited about the future!

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There were definitely a lot of struggles because although I was doing great things in photography, I was also learning how to become a great parent at the same time. So there were a lot of nights I was wondering if I was doing the right thing by pursuing photography. Am I spending enough time with my daughter?

Am I even as good as I think I am? I will say, with a lot of prayer and consistency without knowing what would come of it, photography and my daughter kept me sane. Some days all I had to do was look at Peyton and remember why I began in the first place.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I would like to describe my work as “aesthetically accurate”. I love to create art that evokes emotion but in an authentic and eye-pleasing way. I am mainly known for making my people look amazing in their element no matter what situation or setting we are in. The shoot I am most proud of has to be documenting Martin Luther King III and his family for an entire weekend for the March On Washington in 2021. Taking a portrait in front of his father Martin Luther King, Jr.’s statue was a moment I will never forget.

I love that my daughter is able to go to school and say that her father is a part of MLK’s history. I think what sets me apart from others is how I am able to get the most intimate emotions out of anybody I work with, which makes the shoot and the interaction that much more memorable. I want every person I shoot with to leave feeling like a better version of themself, whether it’s through the conversation we had or how good I made them look through my lens.

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