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Rising Stars: Meet Brandon Shields

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brandon Shields. 

Hi Brandon, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
My origin, like many, seems to be one of fate rather than luck. I stumbled into photography on accident but with the encouragement of a friend, I dedicated my efforts to building my knowledge and skill. I dug deep and studied the greats. I found interest in the works of Peter Lindbergh, Roy DeCarava, Mario Sorrenti, Gordon Parks, Helmut Newton, David Lachapelle, and more; before I realized, I had fallen in love with the craft. 

Through trial and error, I spent hours on end adding skills to my artist toolkit. I have learned a lot from so many people, taken advice from artists of all mediums, and carved photography into my life’s story forever. Ever since that moment, the craft has taken me all over the world and brought me in front of so many amazing people, from all walks of life. I am blessed to be fortunate enough to find my passion in life and with so much more life to explore. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Not at all. 

What I have learned along my journey is that finding your passion is a gift but can also be a burden. For all the enjoyment I have created through the lens, there was a lot of sacrifice along the way. Unfortunately, most artist stories have similar storylines. 

What haven’t I struggled with? 

I have experienced strained relationships with lovers, I have missed important moments with family, I have struggled to pay bills, I’ve worked jobs to make ends meet, and also been fired from jobs that I needed to make ends meet. I’ve had mental high moments, emotional low moments, and everything in between. 

I am grateful for the support of those around me along the way; some are still here but most are no longer and that’s just life, I guess. You learn to accept the forces that are out of your control. 

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Over the years, my work has mostly involved capturing Black women. I have made photos showcasing women across varying lifestyles and experiences as a storyteller. My goal has always been to show the world an image beyond the monolithic experience that the world expects, an image that encompasses the range of emotions. My work has shown themes of joy, romance, trauma & vulnerability while trying to focus on the reality of these ideas. As it has evolved, I have a growing desire to show Blackness as luxury in varying portrayals of life, with my life as the muse. 

Currently, I am working to get deeper into fashion photography, taking my mission of showcasing Black people’s experiences as being associated with luxury to the highest level. 

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
HipHop and the culture it has allowed us Black Americans to create for ourselves is one of my biggest inspirations. 

I love movies and would consider myself a bit of a cinephile. 

I swear by the book, Celestine Prophecy & The Alchemist is one of my favorites ever. 

In short, I love to take in creative information. I’m inspired by so much but life itself is my main source for all. 

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