I’ve said it over and over again…I’ve got some of the most talented friends…
They range from designers, artists, musicians, stylists, photographers….just to name a few. I wanted to take a second from featuring our local ATL talent, to feature a good friend of mine…. Taj Washington is definitely a name you should pay attention to. Taj is a 32 year old New York based photographer, he has an intense passion for his craft. His photographs have been featured in several magazines, and websites. Besides being a creative and unique photographer, he has a good eye for fashion…he’s definitely one of the best dressed men that I have seen (think Kanye’s urban swag fused with the GQ style of Jay-Z).
Taj resides in the heart of Manhattan, so he’s surrounded by fashion and the artistic elements of NYC 24/7, which gives him tons of inspiration for his photographs. Even though Taj isn’t from ATL, he frequents our city whenever he can….he’s pretty much an honorary ATLien now. Be sure to check out more of Taj at his blog, blog.tajwashington.com.
I got the chance to interview Taj, to find out more about his style of photography and what life is like in NYC.
So you’re a self trained photographer? Thats AMAZING! What type of cameras do you use?
Taj: I am completely self-trained. I think that self-taught artists are the best artists, in my opinion. Although, I have taken a few classes to polish my technique. I currently use a Canon Rebel XTi and a Nikon D300 (which is more often than not my weapon of choice).
How would you define your personal style of photography?
Taj: I would define my style of photography as “commercial/urban”. Others might abhor that definition, but it’s all good, because commercial work pays more than editorial does (in most markets).
Who is a photographer that inspires you? Why?
Taj: David LaChapelle. I have always been in awe of his work and have always wanted to assist him one day on a shoot. His work always seems to be cutting-edge. I own all but one of his books.
You are never too old to learn something new.
If you could photograph anyone in the world, who would it be…dead or alive? Why?
Taj: I would love to have photographed Dorothy Dandrige. I believe that I would have been able to bring out her emotions through my photographs. As far as someone living, it would definitely be Lady Gaga. She is the next Madonna. You can quote me on that one.
How do you come up with the vision for your photographs? Do you base it off the model that will be featured? Do you get a lot of inspiration from the city for your photos? If so, what place in the city inspires you the most?
Taj: I usually sketch it out or build a vision in my head of a storyline. I prefer story lines versus really cool and pretty single photographs. New York plays a large part in all of my photographs, as I usually shoot outside a lot and feature various parts of the city in my photographs. I would say that Times Square inspires me the most, as it is the heart of the city.
What is a typical day in NYC like?
Taj: A typical day consists of finding new clients, organizing my calendar to accommodate current clients and heading to events, as it’s all about being seen and making yourself known.
Aside from being a photographer, your one of the BEST DRESSED MEN that I have ever encountred. How would you describe your personal style? Who are some of your favorite designers? Where do you like to shop in NYC?
Taj: Well, I like a lot of stuff that Zara makes, but my ass is too big to fit into it. So, in the interim, I like to wear tailored suits and various ties with bold colors that make statements. Some of my favorites are Chanel, Christian LaCroix and Burberry. It’s not always about the name, but how you wear it. I like a lot of classic pieces; pieces that you won’t see everyone wearing. Also, being a big guy, you need to know what works for you and what fits appropriately. For instance, you’ll never see me wearing tight jeans hanging past my buttocks. Dudes who do that kill me. They look like that cartoon, “March of The Penguins”. LOL.
For the ATLiens who are not too familiar with NYC, what are a couple of your fav spots in NYC that are worth visiting?
Taj: I love Amber on 70th Street & Columbus Avenue (great Asian cuisine), I enjoy going to the Brooklyn Museum, and I like to shop in the East Village and Washington Heights because you can get great deals and haggle with the shop owners…you can’t do that down in Herald Square or Fifth Avenue.
Do you have a quote that defines you, and helps to keep you motivated?
Taj: I actually have two. The first one is my personal one and is very dear to me: “Always be happy, but never be satisfied.” The second one is, “As soon as you settle for less, you’ll get even less than you settled for.”
Here is a snippet of some of Taj’s work: