The MISSBISH Photography Workshop | Bukunmi Grace
DateJune 5, 2017
Photographer: Bukunmi Grace
Tell us about your style of photography. How did you develop this style and what do you enjoy shooting the most?
I‘m really into vivid images that provoke imagination; a good mix of light and heavy. My style developed by studying artists that I’m inspired by in fashion, music and literature. I’m also inspired by the colors of the places I’ve traveled to, and often use them to set the tone for the colors in my images. The work I tend to cherish the most are highly stylized with hints of sociocultural themes. On another level, I would also be satisfied making beautiful portraits all day and playing with light and styling.
Photography is all about capturing that moment. What’s the secret?
Sometimes when I shoot, it feels like I’ve “blacked out” and have complete tunnel vision. Then, when reviewing the images I don’t recall the moments that occurred to create that image. That’s when I know I was fully raptured within that moment. I believe it’s part of the process I’ve adapted from calming down my anxiety. I’ve utilized meditation to suppress distractions and focus on the moment and over time, it’s allowed me to become more mindful.
Where are you based? What makes home a good base for you?
I’m currently based in LA. It’s a great place to work but I can also easily find space to detach from work and explore. I travel to New York frequently and feel more at home in New York, but I find it hard to create space to do much more than work. I was raised in Chicago so that will always be home because my life source, friends and sacred things are there. Lagos, Nigeria is also home because I was born there and I know no matter what happens, I can go back and find people who know my history just because of my last name. That is just as comforting to me as sleeping in my bed in LA.
Tell us about your gear – what camera do you use? What lenses do you prefer? Post-editing?
My workhorse is the Nikon D810 but you will most likely find me shooting with a Sony A7 because it’s light on the wrist and I’m in love with my Sony 35mm Zeiss lens. Other lenses I prefer are a good 70-200mm and 8mm. The latest addition to my gear is a nifty Leica x “Edition Moncler” model. The color is so supreme! For editing, I use Lightroom, Capture One and Photoshop.
How did you get into photography? Tell us about your first experience.
Long before I pursued photography as a career, I viewed my camera as a tool for navigating the fashion industry. That changed in 2011 when I was working at NYFW. In addition to project management, I began building creative assets for a client and realized that visual storytelling was more thrilling than brand management or producing. Since then I’ve been obsessed with the process of photography.
“Continually immerse yourself in every artform for inspiration and clarity, and of course, bring a camera everywhere you explore.”
Tell us the story behind one of the most memorable photos you’ve shot…
One of my fave stories is of my shoot in Cape Town for Elle South Africa. It was my first time styling and shooting in a foreign country, and I received a 1st place Fashion Photography award from PDN so that set will always be dear to me. Second to that are images from my shoot with Offset of Migos earlier this year. I appreciated Offset’s openness to creatively building the storyline and his general lightheartedness. I love photographing people that bring their all into the creative process. That joint effort always translates to an epic, cherished moment for the artist and the audience.
What is a constant source of inspiration for you as a photographer?
God, space, the universe, friends, activists, artists, art, history, culture, traveling… anything that’s worthy of being inspired by.
Who has been a great influence or mentor to you and what did you learn from them that you still carry with you today?
My photography mentor Johnny’s got about 68 years worth of stories and techniques. He taught me most of what I know about light, and provided a state of the art studio for me to experiment in when I first moved to LA. NoMBe also encouraged me to reframe my paradigm on photography and my approach to new subjects.
Can you give us three photography tips and explain each?
1. Continually immerse yourself in every artform for inspiration and clarity, and of course, bring a camera everywhere you explore.
2. Organization is your best friend. Scrambling logistics last minute will cause anxiety and distract from the creative process.
3. Building a good team that complements your demeanor and work flow is everything!
Finish the sentence..
If I weren’t afraid I would… backpack around the world for a year.
I wouldn’t be where I am today if... it wasn’t for my parents. Literally.
I’ve been listening to… Tchaikovsky.
Kids these days... was Vic Mensa’s first band.
I look and feel my best when… I’m in a white tee or a matching two piece.
When no one is looking I…dance like a maniac until my ribs hurt.
Traveling… to Indonesia after Chicago and New York.
I respect… respect.
I would recommend interviewing …. Petra Collins.
If I were to ask him/her a photography related question, I would want to know … do your dream in Technicolor?
Website: Bukunmi Grace