How did you get into photography/videography?
I never thought about picking up a camera until my breaking point with depression. Failed relationships, trust issues, unwillingness to communicate, etc… all led me to seeing a therapist. After about 2 months of weekly sessions, my therapist recommended that I keep a diary. I told her I didn’t have anything to write about except for depression… She then suggested as a weekly assignment, that I get a camera and take photos of things that were of interest to me, then write about how the images made me feel or related to past life experiences. I started taking photos at first with my phone just to kind of do the assignments and shut my therapist up, but after a couple months of doing this with my phone, I found myself walking around more and more searching for things to take photos of that I could use to represent the hurt and pain I was expressing in my writings. Before I knew it, I was researching actual cameras to buy so I could take better photos to go along with my journal writings I had to turn into my therapist. From there it just kind of turned into a passion.
What did you first use to take photos?
I started off using my iPhone 6. I frequent a lot of antique shops and vintage stores searching for records, and I would always come across interesting items and artifacts, so I would pull my iPhone 6 out and try to get an interesting photo of whatever it was that caught my attention. It worked for awhile until I wanted better results and more detail in my shots.
Where did you go to school? Do you have any formal training/self taught?
I did undergrad at Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virginia where I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology. Then I went on to complete graduate school at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania where I received my MBA. I said all that to say this… none of this education helped me in any way shape or form with my passion for creative arts and studying photography. I learned everything from just watching Youtube videos. If I could do it all over again, I would have went to school for media arts.
Do you have any nicknames? How did you get that name?
Most people call me Dee. I think because that was usually the final grade I got in most of my classes in grade school. (hahaha.. just kidding). I was named after my Dad and they needed a way to differentiate between the two of us. So I was called Dee.
If you could take photos of any 3 people who would it be?
If you could take photos of any 3 people that are no longer living who would they be?
If you could take photos in any 3 cities what would they be?
-Prague, Czech Republic
What is your goal when you capture photos of someone?
I think the best photos are the ones that weren’t meant to be photos, so my goal is to capture individuals in a way that doesn’t look staged and appears to be part of their normal every day life. It helps give a glimpse of their story and can sometimes invoke emotion or an emotional attachment from the viewer. It’s all about the story and the emotion for me.
What music do you listen to when you edit photos?
Depends. It’s usually something with a little bounce and a little soul. I love hip hop with dope samples. Editing photos can get boring sometimes so I need that soulful energy. Drake, Meek Mill, Cousin Stizz, Jay-Z…. To name a few.
What's your favorite app on your phone?
Outside of Instagram, I would say my favorite app on my iPhone is the VSCO app. It’s the first app I ever used to edit photos before I started using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. VSCO has some pretty dope editing options.
What is your dream as a photographer?
My dream is to create a multimedia company/platform consisting of fashion, art, music, and photography that exceeds the normal boundaries of what and how we see, hear, and consume creative media/arts. I would go further but I can’t divulge too much due to the confidentiality agreement I am bound to. This dream is currently in the process of coming to fruition with a small team of like minded creatives.
What is some advice you would give to someone with a dream to be a photographer/videographer?
My advice to someone with the dream to be a photographer is to not be a photographer, be an artist. I don’t consider myself a photographer, I consider myself an “artist”. There’s a difference. I don’t just take pictures, I create art. Create visions with video. The camera is a tool, sort of like a paintbrush. Use people and the elements in the environment to create art. If you’re just a photographer and you only take photos you will be left behind and soon obsolete. But to answer the question, whether you want to be a photographer, an artist, videographer, dancer, director, doctor, lawyer, etc.., these are some of the rules I live by (and these can go for anything in life)… Always quality over quantity. Be yourself and create what you like, not what you think others like. Act on your dreams, otherwise you’re just sleeping. Don’t be afraid to fail or mess up. I’ve made so many mistakes in life, and the one thing I know how to do very well is fail, but with failure comes loss and with loss comes a lesson and with lessons come learning and with learning comes experience… (get the picture).
Where can people find you? (social media, website, etc)
Currently I live on Instagram and Facebook. I’m in the process of getting my website up which will be announced on Instagram once its up, but in the meantime, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @byWilliamLeigh
How did you get into photography/videography?