Nolis - Living in his own Universe

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Does your photography work imitate your own personal style? 

  • Yeah I think it does, I kind of just shoot however I feel, whenever I feel. My photography definitely represents me, its not very complex, and a lot of time reflects my particular mood at that point in my life. Sometimes you'll get the darker more intense photos or you'll get the brighter more colorful photos.

How did you get into photography initially?

  • I just kind of fell into it, I’ve been shooting now for about 7 years. My friends at Leaders1354 and Fat Tiger Workshop really got me involved in photography, I've been with them forever, those are my boys. My friend Marc Moran is the one that initially got me intrigued with shooting, back when he worked at the store. But I've always had an eye for photography so I just kept with it. One day me and my brother Vic Lloyd got into a fight and my camera was broken in the process. Vic actually helped me buy my first DSLR afterwards and that's what put me on this path, its all love.

How do you prep for a shoot?

  • I always try to have a concept at the least, I’ll send the concept and theme to the hair stylist, makeup artist, and creative director. I’ll do location scouting if I'm doing anything out of the studio. I like to have a few pictures in my head about how I want the shoot to look and feel. Also taking into account for the time of day, lighting, angles, available resources, power supplies, and if I could possibly get arrested for shooting there. Once I get that together, I relay it to the team. I’d say its about a week and half - 2 week process to when the shoot gets going.

If you could shoot anyone who would it be?

  • If I could shoot anyone right now it would probably be Kanye, I mean yeah...I have my reasons. Others would probably be Esperanza Spalding and Yukimi Nagano. 

What kind of process do you have to make your images distinct?

  • My photography is not as dark toned as it used to be but still holds a dark tone, shadows, not to over aggressive but has that edge. I try and make my pictures look clean while still being realistic. Depending on what I'm shooting having a good grasp with photoshop is very useful and I couldn't live without it, but to a certain extent. I always want my work to feel believable but still show that I put a lot of work into the image that I envisioned. 

Are photographers a victim of their environment?

  • There’s always issues depending on the type of photography you want to shoot. When you’re out on the coasts it’s a lot easier to be more involved in fashion and advertising if that's what you're into.You're able to utilize more models, resources, and landscapes. Chicago has improved greatly over the recent years but you still don't have as many options. But that should just make you work harder. 

Favorite spot to shoot at?

  • My studio at Lacuna is where I used to shoot a lot at before I got kicked out for getting to wild, we were going too hard I guess. A lot of different areas in Pilsen, warehouse districts, and the lake work great. You have use the urban architecture here in Chicago to your advantage but this winter season is definitely not making it easy on anyone.

What has been your greatest achievement as a photographer ?

  • Last year was a good year, shot with Adidas for a concert with Pusha T and another for Lollapalooza. I also did a shoot for Sir and Madame clothing that was featured in Complex Magazine in collaboration with Jeep. I had a feature in a magazine that I totally forgot the name of with NFL player Israel Idonije. I don't know if those are considered achievements though? That's just what I'm supposed to be doing. I guess my most recent achievement is me getting back to shooting. I took a hiatus to re-evaluate "life things" as well as the direction I wanted to go with my work, and it killed me. I'm just happy to be back.
What do you say to those who think “the better the camera, the better the picture”?
  • That's bullshit, it’s all about your eye and creativity. Ask my homegirl Swopes, her work is amazing and she uses her phone. 

What kind of camera do you shoot with?

  • Canon 5D mark 3. I kinda feel like the question before this makes me look like an ass now..haha

When did taking photos turn from hobby to profession?

  • It was kind of just a gradual thing, as I kept going things just started to happen for me. I've had a lot of hobbies in my life, I just kept at it with photography.  As I kept progressing I had a lot of opportunities within the urban street wear scene and took advantage, I love doing this.

How do you feel music/photography/fashion work together

  • Photography and music play a huge a role together, you’re really able to promote up and coming artists on the internet. Making it in the music industry now is about making music, kicking it, and getting your name out there for your team. I’m able to help with that using my photography.

Anyone you look up to in the industry?

  • A good friend of mine and also the only person I really saw as someone I looked up to was Marc Laroche based out of Luxembourg Germany, fantastic portrait photographer, check him out. Also, having some of the most creative friends, (Sharone Poole, Hebru Brantley, Davy Greenberg, Trashhand, etc..) they provide me with so much inspiration on a daily basis and have really helped drive me back into shooting.

How do you utilize Instagram?

  • I love Instagram. When i first started shooting back in 2007 I used to do a lot of architecture photography, Instagram helped me get back into that. I use it as a way to keep me creative during breaks from my shoots, keeps my mind in that creative process.

Advice for a younger kid looking to get into photography?

  • Jump right into it but be smart about it. I've been shooting for 7 years now. Over the last few years photography has gotten huge, teach yourself, I never went to art school, I've never taken a photography class, Google is life!!! understand lighting, lighting is everything, watch tutorials, read your manuals, take the time to know what you're doing. You have to know your camera like the back of your hand. I hate when I see people just shoot, if you're going to do it, do it correctly.

Upcoming events?

  • Did a collaboration with DopeBoyMagic and SaveMoney a while back, should be out in Viper Magazine in the next week or so. But mainly now i'm just talking with agencies and creatives in the hopes of getting more work done.

Where do you see yourself and photography at in 5 - 10 years?

  • Where I'm at now just on a larger scale, doing it more frequently at a higher level. I love shooting people, portrait photography. I enjoy shooting people that are interesting, people that have things going for them living a creative lifestyle. I want to be able to reflect their lifestyle in my photography.

What drives you?

  • My friends man, when I see what their doing, constantly working hard to progress to get where we have to be. It has to happen now, its going to happen now, seeing my boys create success for themselves pushed me. We all help push each other, we just keep stuntin' on one another, my homies are my inspiration. I love what I do man, the one hobby I kept which turned into a career for me. 

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