I was going through some old archives and thought I would share this. Appromixately three years ago, around this same time – I was asked by a good friend of mine if I would be willing to photograph a hip hop artist that he was doing some design work for, the images would be used in marketing/packaging/etc. I had no idea who the artist was at the time, other than the fact that ‘he was going to blow up’, according to my friend. We always hear about these potential stars but we never end up believing all the hype, until it actually happens, right? Anyways, there was no reimbursement or anything for the shoot, not even lunch, the only thing I was told I would gain would be the fact that I could ‘build my portfolio’ with the images. Again, we’ve all heard and seen that one too many times. Anyways, the shoot went on for a good 3-4 hours, we finally wrapped it up, went out to lunch and parted ways. I was feeling pretty stubborn as I had nothing but a ton of RAW files to go through and edit (standard student mentality) about someone whom I’ve never even heard of let alone their music.
Now, here we are – three years later and Kid Cudi is at the top of the charts and collaborating with other hip hop artists like Jay Z, T.I. and Kanye West. It’s been quite incredible to see Cudi rise to where he is today and it only feels weirder to think that we had burritos together on that one rainy afternoon. A half a year and some odd weeks later, one of the photos from the shoot got published in Vibe Magazine for a small feature on the kid from Cleveland himself, it was my first kind of real publication and I couldn’t be more stoked. Weird how things work out but I guess my real point of the story is this – if you get thrown a gig that may not seem worth it because of the circumstances (not getting paid/etc), shoot the shit out of it! Regardless. I’m talking like shoot until you run out of memory or all 4 of your batteries die. Because you will never know where it will lead and you’re only benefiting yourself by putting your best foot forward when you work. I can’t say much because hell, I’m trying to figure out a lot of things myself but I can say this, that putting forth the same amount of effort on a paid shoot and a non-paid shoot is never a bad idea and regardless of how tired and frustrated you may get – it will be worth it somewhere down the line, I promise.