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Portraying Dignity in Portraits

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Portraying Dignity in Portraits with Aundre Larrow

Aundre Larrow, Kenna Klosterman

Portraying Dignity in Portraits

Aundre Larrow, Kenna Klosterman

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1. Portraying Dignity in Portraits with Aundre Larrow


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Portraying Dignity in Portraits with Aundre Larrow

What? Hello, everyone. And welcome to Creativelive. Welcome back to Creative Live. I am your host, Ken Klosterman. And today we are recording another episode of our podcast. We are photographers where we talked to photographers and filmmakers from all over the world Bring you directly to their homes Now, from my home now, um as we are this year, we're recording now at the end of October 2020. So as we like to do, be sure to let us know in the chat room. If you on creativelive dot com slash tv, you can click on the chat icon and that will allow you to interact with us while we are live. And if you're watching on socials is well, be sure to drop in where it is that you're tuning in from. We love to hear those shout outs. So I am super excited to bring on today's guest, Andre Loro. Ah, he's coming to me all the way from Brooklyn. He is a Jamaican born photographer and visual artist. He was an adobe creative resident where he was exploring stories across this country he has. He continues t...

o work on the set of W. Kamau Bell's united shades. We're gonna talk about that. Um, he continues to He seeks the truth in each human being. And that is what really shows through in his portrait. Will continue to talk about that. Um, he, uh, received his first Minolta at age 15, and hey, wants to pay it forward with all the knowledge that he has. And he also I'm gonna ask you about this Andre eyes known for his viral treat about how to photograph darker skin tones that went to at Annie Liebowitz. So be sure to follow Andre on be hands and on his instagram at Andre, if you're not already. Welcome, Andre. Thank you so much for being here, dude. First of all, thank you so much. That was, like a really involved intro that I'm impressed that you like, study. No teleprompter like I do. This is professional before, but I'm blown away. Um, I was actually looking around to see if the Minolta was in plain sight, but it is not. I could only see you can in 81 I didn't want to have an incorrect product place, but so, um yeah, I mean, just as a quick, quick like, Thank you. Um, you know, creative live, Uh, a a ton things skill share all these. Linda, all these companies do a really good job particularly helpful right now during quarantine, when we're feeling really self conscious about our self worth and also one of their new things. So having things that allow us the ability to learn things quickly is really, really vital. So, you know, just take a minute. Really appreciate all the hard work you did to get people to the point where they can Just trying to learn something specialized, you know, like that's not a small thing. Um, that we're really thankful for things like that. Like, I think no single creator, even if they're self taught, has gone without any resource. Is so chads creative life for that? Well, thank you for that, Andre. And I know I mean, the concept of self taught is still like self taught is self directed learning, you know, And there's still, like, you know, somebody that you're continuing to learn from, which you know, now you are a part of. You are part of the, you know, creators and folks that are out there teaching, educating whether that's your, you know, your tutorials on be hands last week was Adobe Max, your light room tutorials s. So let's just start by talking about what are you most excited about right now? Whether that's in terms of your work, your life open floor. Well, I'm gonna go and say you have, like, the most interest looking background. I'm so sorry. I'm, like, showing off my shoes. Um, this probably is actually going to stay here. It's just a place for things to go. I'm in like a new little closet office that I am very happy. Just moved. Yeah, Yeah. I mean, what I'm excited about, it's a couple things. Um, you know, I just voted. Voting was exciting. Um, I think that there is something very calming about having a single action that you can have to do something that you need, Um, and just to be able to, like, settle on, do that has been really nice. I think we've had a lot of moments, um, in the last, I think throughout our entire lives, but especially in the last four years, where there have been moments that have been overwhelming, um, for people that from their identity based on whether I mean coronavirus was the obvious peak of this. But there's so many things along the way that I think have reminded us how fragile our lives are, and so something that helps us decide what kind of government want is actually kind of exciting, even if it's if if you're happy with what you have or if you want to try something else or do something else, I think I'm really excited to vote. I was excited to vote. That's over now. Other things I'm excited about, um I don't know, I think, and this year is gonna be interesting. I think that we've all finally settled that we're not coming out of this in 2020 like, you know, the years will wash and it's about to be November in a day or two. And although it's tie that we can't go out for Halloween and I am wearing my sweater to look like Yogi Bear, um, I think that in that settlement we've had the opportunity toe figure out ways to, like promote our online community and to be actively a part of it. Like I've never seen more email chains and group text Come back off that we're all kind of okay with, um and I think that's helpful because over time, in a globalized society, we're not gonna be able to stay with all the people that maybe we met in New York or we grew up in Fort Lauderdale with or whatever. And so getting, um, new ways to interact and be consistent about it is exciting. So I think that that's really exciting to me right now. So what are some of the ways? I mean, you and I first met. I think it's four years ago when creativelive we were doing our photo week in New York City and we connected with pursuit of portrait, which are part up part of helping organize and get the community out for. And you know that that was the days when we would have these big photo meetups. So what have you seen with regard to community? Um, in this year and how it's shifted to online. Like, where have you been in addition to sort of your personal contacts? Um, where have you seen people being successful in terms of connecting and learning from each other? So you know. I know I'm not really old like I but I'm 29 I've really started to feel old like my friends. Like you wanna like beyond tic tac or like, get on twitch. I'm like, No, I'm alright, man. I don't need down time for all that. Um, but the point reason wanna call out which specifically is? I didn't understand that streams were being used. So earlier in the year when I hadn't really stream before unless it had been through, like, an adobe related things that someone else is set up for me. How? For a lot of people streams were placed where it was almost like seeing the same movie you've seen again like, yeah, you might be feeling different, but often it's just a place to be with other people that are like minded. Um, And so for one of my friends, like, as they are starting to discover their gender identity, their streams air just about writing a novel, and they get the point that are confusing, like it's just kind of soft music playing their writing, and people are in there chatting, and then they'll say Hello. Hey, I'm having a hard time with this character. Let me describe it to you what you think about it. Um, and it all of a sudden is now this space where it's like collaborative learning and collaborative action on gets one of the few places you could feel safe. Like I mean, you go outside and you feel stressed whether you have a mask on or who's gonna wear a mask or where you can go. And so I really do want to call out Twitch, be hands, um, stream yard, like all these places that have made it click easier because I think I think Zoom is it's not exhausting because, um off we're not opting into having our video on. But when you go into a stream you're not having a video on. You're just kind of group watching something. Um, I also want to call out, like the quarantine, all these little quarantine groups and then, like, um, for photographers to talk about work or people wanted to learn about photography, or I'm in one with some of my friends. That's just a quarantine movie groups. So we just right films that we want to see and talk about. Um, I think it's more just a deeper connection to the communities already have. But I think the cool thing is you have an idea and people just try it. My friend Clinton made the slack group called Hello Creative, and it's mostly like tech people. And so one of the big things is that they got a lot of tech companies toe acknowledge Juneteenth is the holiday going forward, but just in it, like they've been doing Happy hours once or twice a week, every single week have had conversations about wealth, about growth. And, like I think in the lack of interaction we've had, we've had more time toe learn stuff. And so there's just so many people that are figuring out ways toe even organized digitally among us Animal crossing like there's so many ways that have been like, I think I wouldn't have given a second thought before because I've really in previous usually worship that go, go, go, go go mentality of traveling or shooting or whatever. But there's there's a lot of really tender and calm and helpful things that, um to be embraced. I know how it happened. It's a it's a beautiful sentiment and I and yeah, I mean, I think that the sense of community, whether it's, you know, with people used to work and we works just so that they could be near people. And so, like, relating that to twitch, you know, are these places where you can kind of it doesn't even matter if you're not like an active conversation, but you just feel less isolated, and, um and that is that is a beautiful thing. Um, you have been working. I e follow you on Twitter. I mean, well, I do follow you on Twitter and Instagram and I The other day you had a post with your, you know, your story, your pictures in the New York Times. And it was that said, like, it never gets old. Um what does it? Yes, there, Ugo. Well, congratulations on that. How? Tell me about the first time that you got published, whether it was the New York Times or you know something that then, like, take me back to when it kind of clicked for you, like, Oh, this is legit. Like, you know, I'm doing it like it's not that just getting published is doing it, but it is a milestone, you know. Let me say something. So just on the editorial front, um, almost all the editorial that I've worked on and my friends have worked on. They pay you less than other things. But I think there is an ability to it because of some of our oldest solutions. And I think particularly right now is we discuss what counts is using what doesn't. It's a great pride for me to work with things like the New York Times organizations that have been around for over 100 years and have, like, delivered news to us, was a journalism major in college on DSO. I know how hard that job is. And so for my friends that were my good friends from college works in crime reporting and in the Palm, Palm Beach, The Palm Beach Post. And like, she is just at the courthouse every day. Um, that's not an easy job. So I think the first time really quick for me. Um, I'm gonna three high school. I was a drama nerd, and so we had this program with a sunsentinel. I'm from Fort Lauderdale on Sun Sentinel's our local paper, Sunset. All the Miami Herald with papers down there and they had a program called Team Link, which is like a teen magazine or newspaper. The brand, like once a week, Um, and in it they had a section where you could review other high school theaters like productions. Um, and so that was something I really enjoy doing and through, like, a like a county program. We'd go toe other schools and review there, review their shows. And so for the first time, I got published with, um for this show I saw in Coral Springs and it was so exciting to like, you see my like, words printed somewhere and it was just it was cool to feel about it and that way, like my words had value. And then second, um, I got into photography, like around that nice cool. But in college, the first one I had published, it was my sophomore year. Um, I went to a concert with my girlfriend. Then page milk shot out the page and or in Portland, I hope you don't. All right. And it took a photo that was like such a college photos, like, you know, I had a show. And there's like, um, led pink lights pushing and someone held up like a little heart and the way our called paperwork for independent photo alligators super shout out to that, Um, you could send in photos Aziz features. And if they had, like, spots or gaps, they would just put him in. And they liked the photo editor like that. Photo had been trying to submit some stuff and they ran it the paper next day. And I was like, Super excited, Um, and then from there I started to be like, Oh, like there's value. So this is really cool. Like I tried to say that I don't have all of them, but in college, I saved a lot of my college paper is just what I thought was really cool. Keep but the first one thing here that really mattered Waas Ah, during my residency, your I forgot the photograph Karamo from Queer Eye for angsty magazines. So Banksy is like kind of editorial, but it's more loosely editorial. It's ah, publication that's focused on mental health, and they reached out to me because I knew some friends of friends, a photograph, one thing for them And then the following year I photographed was the bi annual Twice a year. I thought of Grandma with a piece about masculinity, and it was super interesting to me. Just toe meet someone who's really famous that point. But we got to spend, like, just a quick Sino for anyone that wants to shoot celebrities. My biggest no to you. It's practice, practice, practice. No celebrity gives you longer than, like, a second. Like every every celebrity shot isn't like Oh, I'm shooting with Andre. Let me, like, give you two hours. Like for crime. I remember like I had toe flew in the Kansas City. There was no direct flight in Kansas City, so I took ah bus from my then apartment to the R train to Penn Station, toe Philly to the train to fly to Kansas City. It was madness. Got there at like, two in the morning, got up early, scouted all day and then was supposed to have two hours with them and it turned into seven minutes. I am not joking, uh, working like I think a lot of the photographer. If you're not shooting editorial, if you're like a commercial photographer, you are running the set. Everyone is Everyone is your important, like you are the star of the show and nailing this image like although your clients there, your producers were trying to speed you up. You are the engine that makes everything go when you work on stuff that isn't as that can go on without you, with the nice reminder that, like you're part of something larger. Andi, I think one good thing about coronavirus has been that the reminder of our need. Thio lean on each other properly. And so I think discovering truth starts with a couple of realizations himself is like a that I'm very fragile. Be that, um, like there's a David Foster David Foster Wallace David Foster Wallace speech called This Is Water, where he talks about how to think. Um, he says this thing where he was like, you know, for whatever reason, when other people describe how they feel, it's every everything that you see is happening through your eyes and in your world, and your narration and other people's emotions air so for and they have to be explained to you, right? And so if you come out with the realization that like everyone. It's just a sad and freaked out and scared and upset and hungry and doesn't want to be in this course to store as much as I do. Um, then it, like, usually helps you listen a little bit longer and maybe ask yourself, Ask that person questions you wish other people ask you, Um, I think that it's really important to me to try to connect with my subject early. Um, and just try to make sure we're on the same page like, Yeah, Carmela. Seven minutes. But we had two minutes in the elevator and we talked about how he was like everyone. I used to have long hair like yours, and I was like, Okay, you're still more handsome and famous than me, so I'm not sure what matters here. Um, no, I just think that like like jokes aside, I think that it starts with just wanting toe. Understand that you're not like the most important person and practicing a lot, because you need to make sure that people trust that you can deliver. So the first step is to make sure that, um they trust that you see them and they see you. And second that when it's time to play like you're ready to go. Dana Scruggs photographers. Incredible. I don't know if you've had her yet, but you should have her on. She had this e think it was a tweet where she was talking about how she shot that essence covered with P. Diddy's whole family. And she said the P. Diddy selected her specifically to do this. And when she she said when he came in with his family, the first thing he did say he was like, Hey, you ready? And she was like, What? And he was like, I selected you specifically. I want to make sure you're ready like you're not scared anything, are you? Um, but if you hire any contracting, right, if I hired some guy to come in here and hang stuff for my feeling, you just like I mean, I'll be like, Yo, get out of here, bro. On dso you know your work. The good news is like I have enough work now where people see that I care about people, so they're going to trust me, and it kind of compounds on itself when you're starting, like for me, It was just about taking the same photos of the same people over and over until I learned something else about them. Um, people couldn't really reveal things to you when you are quite enough to listen on. Give them a space to just feel a little bit uncomfortable. But still directive. That's kind of what I would say, but yeah, I think it really starts. Just understand. Like you, I'm not the center of the universe. And what helps me is that, um since I'm an immigrant, um I mean, my family is cool, but they don't really care anything that I'm doing a bit. It does. It was a totally time to like, Okay, cool. Like you're gonna help us pull these weeds. Like E. Yeah, great. Like congratulations, but like, like way still got to go do this thing. There's so many things under and my mind was like, What do I What do I ask him about next? Because there's ah lot of layers in in that story. Um, and and so I wanna I wanna talk about, you know, having Jamaican parents or, you know, being born there, raised in Florida. But before that, this the the layers of sensitivity and the ability to allow somebody to toe hold space for somebody to both be uncomfortable and then shift into being able Thio to trust you and for you to direct them because I think that is like what people need when you're nobody wants to be in front of a camera. And so it's just like constant directing of people. So they stop thinking and connect with you. Um, and I want to touch on Recently, you did a project with the organization to write love on her arms. Yeah, shout out. And 50 year old Andre, that was you stuff. And like, you were like, man, if I knew what I was gonna do this when I was 15, 15 years old, The first show that they came out of the switch foot show. They just made the shirts. They just come out. And I was at that show as like a youth group kid with other church kids. So excited. And they were It came out that we all had their shirts and stuff. So it was I got that email for them when I was like, Get out of town. Wow, So So tell us about people Could go to your instagram and and let's see these images. But tell us about the organization and like what that project meant to you Because it's, uh yeah. So to write love on her arms, which is weirdly a lot harder to say than I would have seen to write love on her arms To write love on her arms is an organization that started I wanna do It has been 2009 someone in 2006 or seven They started on day sold like merchandise and stuff to raise money for mental health. Resource is because you remember in 2007 nobody was talking about the mental health. No, sir, they were like, Yo, you are crazy. Stop being crazy like that. Was it I You know, I even have a moment where I remember saying something really stupid to a girl like a friend of mine in in high school who thinks you have a hard time and about medication. I just didn't understand. So I was like, Why are you taking it stupid like just very not empathetic. And I'm happy that I've learned more, but right like their arms. Their whole goal is thio. Both reduce stigmas, a mental health and be able to help people pay for it. And so they sell stuff. They promote events. And they asked people to share Well, you know why their lives worth living. And so basically they reached out. I even look back photos of me as like 100 and £40.160 pound high school or wearing their shirt like just looking so happy. Um just told them what it meant, but basically the where the project was called. Um, it was called, like life worth living. And I wrote a block close for them, called No Moments or Worthless. And a goal of it was like I'm probably doing some commercial work is you get paid enough money that when someone like, Hey, we can pay you like no money or we have no money. But this is important, like anti suicide like, yeah, okay. And so the goal with the project was Thio photograph people that I had previously worked with on commercial jobs, but instead, like asked them place where they feel safe or with whom they feel safe and capture them there, which is actually pretty simple, was essentially a portrait project. But I tried to explicitly photographic at sunrise or sunset just to make sure that I had that really strong, hopeful light. Like, kind of. I thought about the way that I wanted to photograph things when I was really learning photography like no strobes, none of that stuff. And I just wanted it to be reflective of, like, maybe all the things I've learned from when I was 14, 15, 16 to 29. And like, I think in some ways it was like a little bit of a love letter till the place photography has taken me. And like, the roundabout way that I've gotten back toe really what it came down to, which is, like, you're seeing in your important, um, he was a photographer. Lauren Larson. She is a fine art photographer in a wedding photographer, and I met her many, many years ago when I was still in high school. Um, so I bet her husband because of something, and we happen to chat. Then I was given Instagram friends for a long time and our good friends and, um she told me in high school, read this book camera lucida by Roland Bars, and he talks about in the book. The online I remember, is essentially that a photograph freezes a moment in time, and there's a nobility to it, but also like they can create a ton of excess. And the nobility starts with the idea that the moment that's frozen is completely true on DSO, when you take an image like making sure that you're chasing that truth is super, super valuable and vital. And so that's the thing that I would think about. It's like What truth? My chasing and being able to do something like that with people I care about was fascinating, and I was honestly, super surprised with how, how much just what responses I received back and even from the people that I asked. I had friends that were like my brother killed himself, and I was like, I've known you for years and didn't even know that that was a thing. Um, and it just it felt it felt good to just work on that, especially this time when you're I'm afraid to be around other people. Well, it's such an important organization and I had no idea what a full circle in terms of you being and being, you know, already buying their merch and supporting it without sort of the true understanding. Personally. What? Right, Right. And what do you think it is that has, um, change in society that we are now able to talk about mental health? This is gonna be a weird thing to say, but if you look at, like, how, like rap music has changed like when I waas or that this is going to be very careful, right? Music has changed in that. What was the most popular thing in 2000 and five? I think early two thousands was a very like capitalism focused like if you look at rap music of like As rap music goes, music industry goes, the music industry goes, culture goes, culture goes reflective of society. So, um, we're looking at, like, shake your tail a feather we're looking at, like big pimpin looking area codes, like a lot of songs that are really fun. But don't really talk about how you know what we're thinking and feeling right. And I think that, like, who's supposed to be at the top of the game of musicians. Now we're sending a lot more time. In my opinion, maybe what I'm consuming now being very reflective of, like, kind of deep pain, like think about how well could cut. His first album was received where he talks explicitly about just drug used to deal with. Like how he feels, Um, we're more aware of mental health right now because we can all admit that we're having a traumatic experience as a country as a world right now, like we're just we're distrusting people that we would walk by and see what's on before, like we're watching all our groceries like everything is all of a sudden super scary. And so I think being able to admit that you're stressed has had a new value, and I think we've shifted our public discourse in a way that's more much more helpful on bakes people makes people feel less alone, which kind of goes back to that idea that, like if I feel this alone, everything like you are scrubs used thio. It's been it's been a while, but yeah, I doubt he's watching this. But if anyone knows Zach Braff, tell him I said I appreciate him dearly. Um, one thing that's really cool about JD and Scrubs is the fact that he monologues every episode andan occasionally other people monologue. It is a reminder that like, Oh, no, I also think this way. And I think so Much of that is what's important. Art, especially mental health, is like, Oh, like I think I'm absolutely bonkers. And no one thinks like ideo Oh, wait a minute, Okay? And we can talk about this and there's validity in being seen right? And that kind of goes back to all of this. But like, how do you How do you be seen on How do you be patient? I love that about that JD character because you're right. I mean, we all kind of walk around with this inner monologue and that can either make us crazy or make us do brilliant things. You know that. And and so I'm curious, kind of talking about art and creativity and and how that gets people through these challenging times, um and and like you said, like the country going through a collective trauma, uh, in the world. So the world going through a collective trauma. Uh, world, have you? What have you seen in terms of how art has, um, shifted or or you know what? What have you seen this year? That has changed for you. Do you know the artist or the instagram account people I've loved? No. Um, it's by this woman, Carisa Potter, who lives in the bay. And she just has, like, really lovely drawings and paintings and illustrations that air just about, like, just exactly how everyone feels right now. Because the people I love people I love people I ve loved. Yeah, um, it's been actually really interesting because, wow, I think even people that work study So first of all, our concept of steady job is has gone out the window because people got furloughed from jobs I didn't even know could, like, go bankrupt. Jobs like you're good for eternity were like, Oh, no. Yeah, Our job is gone, and I think in some way, that's further validated. The freelancer artists like lifestyle because now it's Yeah, I intern idea that I mean, some creative folks that denies himself is like, Well, you know what happens if you know I need something and you realize Oh, no, We're all in the same boat. Work wise. So first I've seen, like, a validation of art on dat lifestyle Second and with the additional time I've seen people try some new things. Um, some portrait photographers have been doing object photography, product photography. Some illustrators has just been, like peeling back the veil and showing us their process like shouted Lloris ethnic and Jingwei. Um, there's a lot of really, really lovely things. Um, and I think that in that receiving of artists bombs got, like, set up a little bit. Um, you've seen Mawr art and I weirdly haven't. I personally don't seem like a big drop in, um, in the work from the people that I follow. I'll also say that artists of color have, like, finally gotten slightly longer moment than usual, and I hope that it doesn't go away. Um, I think that that validity is super important because you just you don't You're not making art to make everybody to make other people happy, But you need a platform for people to see it. Um, and so just organizations and people realizing that they've lacked the diversity, the diversity of being able to say, like, Hey, here's a non binary person of color and no one has ever cared about what this person has to say before. And so we need to go and do a better job of making that space has been the most exciting thing because I think that, like when you pursue concept of anti racism, your two goals are to make being racist, have negative consequences and make being anti racist, have positive consequences. And the first one is just increasing our visibility. Um, I guess this isn't exactly our but another example is Look how well the W N B A is done during this period. Like their viewership is up a ton. Um, people are like it took people not have not having things to watch to say, Oh, this is basketball that I should watch I shouldn't be stupid about it. Oh, wow. These women know how to play basketball. I should be watching us the whole time. And so sometimes it's just a thing of like making the platform available well or to your point. Oh, this this non binary black photographer is really talented. Oh, like you know, it's so I shouldn't just hire them for this 11 off thing. It's like, Come on, man. What do you think this is? There's a ton of value in it. And like, um, you know, the other day, light room has been working really hard on this. I saw them post some work for a non binary, um, I think Latin X creator. And they got a ton of negative comments. And instead of turning the comments off, what they did was they pinned all the positive ones, and then they kept posting the work. And I was like, You see, like I know it sounds silly, but yeah, just going back from a lot of bars, taking a snapshot is important to validate this moment in time. And this moment in time, they never happen again. And I pray I pray it doesn't happen again, but it's important we don't forget these things. As we take our photograph, we see our illustrations or writing a Z. We see paintings and drawings for this period of time. We need remember exactly how this made us feel, because if we don't and we get back to something where we're not prepared for, I mean no one could have been prepared for this, but not remotely prepared for this. Um, and how would make us feel how it will affect the economy like that Will do a support, A detriment in the future. So I think that, um, I've artists have been stepping up in this way to just make all sorts of things like Red Gaskell awesome of creator. I don't know if you know him, you should follow him red. Like the color red G A s k e l l um He did this thing when he was getting as much work where he was just trying to recreate some of his favorite commercials in his apartment. And like talking about how some of the special effects were hard. Like even that, like IPhone commercial where you shake the box, if you like trying to slow it down to all of these things before, like, I'm trying to create the scene for my favorite film. Like, sometimes it's just a simple is that, like documentation, joy and honesty, or, like, the three main tenets of art. And like, I've just seen people just chasing that right now dot I'm writing this down documentation, joy and artistry. Um, sorry. Occupation, joy and honesty. Honesty. Alright. Notes to self. That's beautiful. Uh, and it makes me think, um, talk to me about yeah, talk to me about the your adobe creative residency for people that aren't familiar with what that means. What? That is how how you got the residency or more so interesting. I'm also interested in, like what you did during it, what I did. Okay, So first of all, um, all love to the following people. Julia Tian, Libyan Mitchell, Al and Heidi Weltner. So inside of Adobe, they have a agillion teams. It is like just the Lord, just such a large organization. But somewhere along the way, there was an idea that there should be mawr community support from the Toby for emerging artists. Eso I'm gonna actually go on my way to say this, but they for the first year, it was Kelly Anderson and Becky Simpson. Year before me, it was Craig went slow. Sarah Beachy Christine Heron and said Wyler, And then our year was myself under the road. Jessica Bellamy, Chelsea Burton, Natalie Lue, Rosa came a mere and Julian M. K. And there's been some since then, but the idea of the residency is, you know, right when you're on that cust of, like, you kind of know what you're doing now, but you need, like, some opportunity to work on thing. We're going to help you by paying you salary, helping you pay for your project costs, giving you a computer and just letting you go work throughout the year, we're gonna have you test some products. Um, you're going to give us feedback you're going toe, show up on our lives. But for the most part, your time is yours. And to be honest, it's like Loki stressful, because all of a sudden, everyone you know is like, Oh, well, you got a job, the money. So you But, I mean, I'm gonna be seeing, like, Oscar level films out of you, like you're like, um all right. I mean, I'm just gonna buy sneakers, but whatever. So I think that the way that it was set up was really cool because I had the opportunity to just say, like, what do I want to do? Right. And so, um, I when I graduated college with, like, really jealous of my friends um, Tyler Benjamin, Melanie Birdcage in particular because they got thio travel. And, like, I think Tyler went and did like, some work in Switzerland for a couple months. And he was in Costa Rica and Melanie was all over the place and, like, Germany, and I was just really jealous. But I don't have any money to do that. Um, that was like majal. Um I just was like, Oh, I could be so cool to do this. And I always wanted to take, like, a just a America cross country drive. Um, just goto all the states. I've always for some reason, been really infatuated the idea of all of the states and how they're different. And, um, I collect state quarters as a kid because those were cool. Remember, when you go to the store, you like, Oh, no, not that quarter. Come another one of the cashiers, Like you know, there's like, 800 people in mind. Your eight year old needs to get out of here. Um and so I I had this idea about doing a project that was about like it was first called Echo Chamber. You know, you know, you come over the idea you think it's popping and later, like this is a good andI idea was that we moved to places that validate our like political beliefs or we stay in place to validate them. But instead the project turned into something much better. It was called stories from here, and it was a series of micro stories about you know, what makes us human, what motivates us. And so my project idea was essentially like, if I come up with questions and I ask everyone the same questions, um, what can I find out about other people if I put them in, like a magazine feature style, please. Right? And so some of the questions, or, like what is true freedom look like to you? What does your name mean, and why are you giving it? Who cares? What were some fictional characters that, um, you relate? Thio, whether it's the novel or book, a lot of them are questions about self sense of self. And then what brought them to this place on DSO? Some themes aroused. So, like when I would, I went to Texas. First I went toe Austin, San Antonio and um, El Paso and for whatever reason, if they're listening to this Kim Libby, Christie and Matt, Um, thank you all so much for letting me stay with you when I was there, and then, um, shot the apostle family. But when I was in Texas, the possible specifically I tried the only speak thio various stages of Mexican American immigrants, whether they had been in, um, they have generations in America or just come over and they were older, just come over. They were younger because I wanted to understand the economy of, like, how also could be, statistically, one of the safest cities in America or the safest, but also be called beachfront for immigration and like what that meant. So, like somebody's line, it's one of the two, like either there's, like gangs of cartels or nothing. And so it was really cool to kind of frame it through the eyes of other people. And I think that was a big pivot point for me. I learned a lot on that trip because I actually took the Amtrak down, so I couldn't be comfortable. I was just kind of rolling along the hallway, but, um, throughout the year I took, I went toe like providence on Guy Learned about and, um, and New Haven and went to cities that had what's the word cities that just had two different things. Like, I went to these two Ivy League cities or towns because I was curious about how the Ivy League impacted those towns and, like, you know what? What? The effects were in the place. Um, I went to one of my favorite ones that went the Lake City, Florida, and interviewed high school students would be the first students their families to go to college, and they were cool to do at the end because of this whole project based on sense of place. But you're 17. You have no sense of place because you have no agency yet. Um, and so working with them was really cool to hear them talk about their poetry he didn't talk about, like what? Impact with them and why? Um, the project was something that I was really thankful for because of the end, there was, like, almost like a yearbook at this moment in time. Um, I also did this project about the train in New York. That was kind of okay, on, But I did. I did the darker skin tones thing, which was s o. First of all, I never tweeted at any legal. It's because I just value not getting dragged like, Look, I know it's cool to, like, dunk on her and stuff, but like, she probably still has, like, a lot of influence. So, like any I never said anything about you. You have some amazing photographs that have influenced me in my lifetime. I just think that the way you de saturate generally leaves black people looking not great on because of the area you are in your career. You don't feel like you need to change. Um, I would like it, though, if someone balls didn't look like, um, she was, like, turned into a baby hulk. You know, it's just it was strange. And so that's just my opinion. Other people happen to tweeted. Um, Annie Liebowitz had nothing to do with me. Um, I would never mess up my money by tweeting out a legend like that. But essentially what happened was I read this lovely article in the Hollywood Reporter about the folks in the that work on lighting on Easter. Raise insecure. They do a great job. And they talked about one thing. They do. For example, when they're shooting those club scene, they use these led lion lights. They're just like a linear line. Or excuse me in a straight line and they add the men, Um, just to make sure there's enough light on the subject without making it seem like they're not in, like a nightlife scenario. And so I thought it was really smart. So they talked about using pink and blue lights, depending on the like, the undertones of people. And so I was like, This is interesting research some more And I was like, Oh, Andi, I was just realizing that a couple things were happening. There are a lot of photographers that I loved that like, you know, for, you know, algorithm reasons or whatever weren't really shooting a lot of people of color. They just whether they didn't know any or whatever it was. When you bring it up, people like, Oh, well, I don't really do it don't really know how to do it and like that one's gonna bring up describes She's right and saying It's not really different. It's just a little bit more attention to detail. And if you if you are used to shooting only black people, then shouldn't people be weird? But the idea for me it was just to say like, Okay, if you said this is a hard thing to do, you are some very obvious things. So we talked about using a hair light we talked about when you're in light room, like when we're, like, all preset like slaves. And we love using them like making sure that doesn't alter people skin in a crappy way. Using color makes the light room. And like I give the stuff all the time. People, if you're photographing like white people exercising and they're getting very red and very flush, like just turn the red down on color mix just like you would the orange if you're using using like a darker skinned person. And I promise you both people look better and you know what? That that's something that I learned, and now you can learn it. And so it's funny, because what happens is every couple months someone will take a bad picture of black people and someone with the goal. Read this and then I got all these floods dimensions where I'm like, yo like. And it's funny because it's funny, like as the baby viral on Twitter, because I at that point wasn't really using Twitter literally. I wrote it. I wrote it for Adobe Create. Then light room was like, Oh, this is cool. Why don't we do like, a feature on the light room? Instagram about it? I was like, Okay, cool. So I was like, Can you all pay for the studio from the shoot people? I did that. Then when I was doing that, I met this woman at Apple. Very long story. I met this woman apple at a dinner and she introduced me to someone else before she left Apple. And then I ended up doing a big talk about this whole thing. So it was like an apple talk, the Instagram or the Instagram thing. And somewhere in the middle of getting rid of the apple talk, I was like, I guess I should tweet this like people use Twitter like whatever. And I put it like just let you know how the little I tried. I put it out on like a like a Friday like six PM like it was just like I just put it on. I didn't care. And then I went back on Twitter. Later, I was like, What is happening? And then, like for two days, I just I couldn't use my Twitter, but like every couple weeks, it'll every couple of months ago like that will happen. And so I know for some people 10,000 tweets and seem like a lot but retweets. But for me, it's a lot, Um, and so it's cool because a lot of people were like, Oh, I know your work because of that. Or like I was on set for United Chains and one of the Ph was like, Dude, I've been following you for years and I first saw your work on this thing, and I was like, Oh, weird, also, maybe not the time to break this up, but like, appreciate it. It was cool. It was really cool. So, you know, I don't think that that should define my work. But I think that what should define my work is my like Chase to make everything more accessible and easy to understand for people what I hope it does. And I love that you are aware enough to know what defines your work. You know, at this point, you know, in your in your career, tell us about working on United States. Like what? What? What is your role in that? Like what? What is it, like Thio to be working on a show? Oh, absolutely. Um first of all, let me say this. Um, I really most part haven't had any bad celebrity interactions. I'm not telling you. I'm like that. Like a celebrity photographer, I just, like, take pictures of celebrities. Sometimes. Usually it's other black man, I think often like thes like folks that air shoot that are choosing photographers want people that kind of have a similar background. I actually got my first United Shades gig when I was during during the residency. Um, I got an email from a woman named Tracy Cross Beaches and working Turner anymore. So, Turner, remember, y'all like when you're trying to find people that are higher, you their subsidiaries and stuff. So, like, I think Turner eyes this is like CNN's A subsidiary. Anyway, she worked in the photo department. I just got an email from her that was like, Hey, Andre, nice to meet you. I was in the adobe office, like having a meeting in Union Square and like, on email, that was like CNN photo shoot. That was like, What? What's going on here? Um, you know, back when I really don't know what's going on. And so I read this evening and she was like, I work on the show, You know? We're trying to find you photographers. Would you be interested? Like, give me a call. And I was like, Okay, so I called her, like, 30 minutes later, and we talked and she was like, Yeah, you know, we've been trying to find a photographer and hasn't really worked. Would you be interested, Andi, I've never shot set photography before. I've never even used the mirror list. It's funny, because now I have actually just got this, uh, are six, which is great, but the mirror list for the folks that are wondering if you shoot that photography, you have to have a camera that, um, doesn't make sound. So I I shoot on my mark for all the time, But the mark four is not helpful here because it's a DSLR. That sound will pick up in all the interviews and you'll be watching a show in here constantly and someone who you get thrown out. So my very first episode I fly into Alabama. I had to cut this like trip I had short, Um, it was like it was a couple days after we talked on the phone. She was like, All right, cool. Here's a contract. You're flying Alabama. I was like, OK, who Alabama landed, got the hotel saw come out and his producer and was like, Hey, that's meet you And I think they just thought I was like a fan. Um, they were like, Whatever. And then in the morning, I was like, Hey, what's up? And they were like, You got up to talk to us again. And I was like, No, I'm the same photographer. They're like, Oh, okay. And the first episode was rough Man. The first scene we shot, it was a three camera shot, and I didn't know. I thought I only could see two cameras and I walked into the long shot, and the editor of the director pulled me inside. Is that if you ever do that again, I'm gonna send you home. And I was terrified. And so, generally what happens with photography is like every show you watched. They're set photography. So it's like it's the images that you see for, like, watch, like, shameless, like it will just be like a cutout photo. Sometimes it's a photo that's like in a studio, but often it's like right on set. So there's a photographer who usually it's almost shooting over the shoulder of the directors of photography of the camera people because that's the only places you know that you could be where you're not in the shot because another camera person, the shops and everyone's happy. And so the first episode is a little scary. I only did two episodes that season. Um, that was 2017 2018, 93 episodes. So the first season I did that in Atlanta about HBCU. Then the following year, I did, um, re episodes. I did, um, Philadelphia in Fish Town, where we learned about how much it sucks to be poor in America. It was about this area that people had gotten a lot of lead poisoning, you know, casual. And, uh, we went thio Minneapolis For the first time you learned about among people. It was so cool like, um, just talking about that. And then we ended on Mormonism and I met like the dude for Imagine dragging. Imagine dragons. Who was nice. He was really nice and very tall and learned about what? How difficult it is for Mormon youth that are l g B T. Q. The last season I did four episodes, and now this year I'm doing six out of eight. So there's a couple things first, Um, Cabal is super gracious. Um, you know, there are some celebrities that are nice because they understand that, like everyone is trying to do their job, like remember Jesus and Miro and New Yorker. Very, very kind on Karam was very kind. Animal virus is very kind. There are people that are respectful because it's your job and there are people that don't want to be there. And so being able to read that is important. Um, and being able to communicate is important. The thing about that job, especially, is like normally, like I said, I run the show. So the photos that I want to take photos I want to take, but here? Nope. It's Oh, do we have three minutes? Okay, under even. Go shoot. You can you can grab, come out and shoot him. Oh, no. Hey, we take you three minutes. You have no time. Um, this is sometimes you miss stuff. Sometimes you get stuff, but my job is essentially to take photos of him and each scene, take photos of the scene, take PTSD, them setting up as well as images of all the subject. And then, um, as its progressed, it's gotten really cool. Last year, with my favorite episode, we got to go to Oklahoma. Learned all about what it was like to be a black farmer on git was just like a beautiful, beautiful episode where I just learned about how difficult it was for farmers in general to get the funding they need to do all the things they had to do to just, like live their lives. And like me, trying not to slip in like manure and mud while photographing was the whole other thing. But I think the real trick is like finding someone like I really, truly like come out. I consider us friends now, like It's just, you know, my mom made him dinner like that's, you know, that's that's that's good as we're going to get and like for me, having someone who is validated as a voice of reason. Ondas an influential voice saying No, no, no, I want you here like this That's really this last season, every episode that I've been share photos come out with Retweet and like Andres the best find out he's amazing human, like all this stuff like that that really matters because, like I said, we're talking about visibility like that else. To get other jobs would also just validates my ability to do my job. Well, um, that show is really beautiful and that it's like the much more adult version of that project stories from here I did where it's like we're going to go learn and come out essentially professional listener. So we sunset and we just listen to people talk about their experiences over last year like there's a couple like wild moments. Remember last year we were doing an episode of Iranian Americans? I was stuck in the corner off this, like, um, brownstone, and over in Long Island City in Queens. And thank God I need to be the ambassador to Iran. What's talking about being kept hostage? I'm literally standing in this quarter like I have no business being in this conversation, right? And I'm just like a fly on the wall listening to this man Discussed, like, what it was like to be trapped in this place and lose all this weight. And like, I think that I mean, photographers taking so many places truly like the MBA draft and like, um, going to Oklahoma in the middle of nowhere, learning about farmers that, like, every time I get to hear a cool story like that And since I'm not that I'm not the center stage here, I gotta just hang out and listen. Um, it's like it's so cool. Like, I essentially get paid by saying I have to go listen to amazing things. It's like it's such a like it'll blow. It just blows your mind. Well, don't don't discount the fact that you aren't just listening, but but the benefit. Yeah, Now the benefit of the I mean, that's what's so amazing about whether it's portrait photography, Whether it's an editorial commercial personal projects like you are connecting with people in a way and learning from them in the process of creating imagery and in the process of documenting moments in time. And, you know, and I think those of us who are drawn to photography filmmaking, you know, all of it, it's, you know, these are the things that get us so excited and and fulfill its personally in addition to, you know, it being work as well. Um e mean it doesn't it doesn't always feel like work. And I really mean this. I'm very thankful. Like sometimes you work on stuff. You know, people really don't care whether you live or die, to be honest, Um, there is a staples, Eric, I think about a lot this song Tweak end. That's very, very political right now. Um oh, no, it's not sweetness, and I like it is, but he was like, you'd kill me to make you richer. So what are you saying? You're my brother for like, that's very, very riel like there are a ton of people that just they follow you around you for the opportunity to take what you have, and on some level, that's completely fine. Capitalism is what it is, and I'm not saying that's our best situation, but you know, we're gonna work through it. But I do appreciate, not set like that. Like the directors of Great Helen Show. She used to direct Anthony Bourdain show and she listens and asked, In my opinion, like this woman who has no, I don't like I don't matter She's like TV famous. You know, she's directing such a beautiful things, and I like being in situations like that where everyone is given value and does their job. It's just it's a nice reminder of what what the world could be like if we have a little bit less ego beautifully, said Andre, I have one final question for you. Love talking. You know, you're talking about sense of place, sense of self. What does your name mean and why Why, why were you giving it your vacant parents going back? Thio your your adobe residency project. So my mom has never given me a clear answer ever, right? She just was like, Yeah, you know, like I you know, it was a little bit easier. I just wanted to be unique. I don't I still like truly do not know. I still get anxiety at times. I think everyone has heard me say my name now, and I just It's been so it's honestly been good for the Internet like, but people like How did you get your instagram? Also, please, can someone help me get Twitter? Andre, like I love that guy. He's a really nice man, but he's like a 50 year old man. And we saw the Cowboys, and he's like, 20 followers like broke. Give me my Twitter handle, please. Um but, you know, when I was a kid, I was like, Dreaded substitute should be like, Oh, Andre or whatever other dumb way you could possibly say my name. Um But I appreciate it now because it helps me stand out, and I'm easier to find. Um, but my mom never really gave me a clear, a clear answer. There's no other Andres. I know that my older cousin's name is Antonio, and it almost feels like they were on the stretch when they were trying to give like, these, like like Latin names to us. I don't know why and you know, like all my life, my Spanish teachers in high school going on this. But, um, I think Andre is a cool name, like, I've I've come to really, really appreciate it. It's short it, you know, it works, but there's there's not really any sort of clarity. It's what it means is just a variation of Andrew, which just means, man. So, um, a slogans like my general identity states that it is reasonably accurate, but yeah, I know. It's a bummer. People always after that, like, Wow, you asked me, Can I tell you? What can you tell me? And I was like, I have nothing to tell you. Um, I have one more point. Um, I just wanna make sure anyone that's listening here is is whatever you have access to right now is the story that you need to tell. Um, practice with that and you will get better. After I did stories from here and struggled in some points, I got like, I'm wearing the sweater because I work with north face now a lot on blast you to let me go to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to story tell about what it's like to live there and why we should protect it. and, you know, a couple of years ago, when I was a resident, the culminating project I did was the stories from here with the Golden State Warriors, where I got to feature fans on. I went to the game and I would like the videos. I made one of our the way I made with the WR, the Jumbotron. And I was so overwhelmed, I, like, didn't know how I felt about it. I just couldn't think it was like it was. So it was just so much happening. And the second time, something like that happened. We finish that show and are finished shooting that stuff for your faith. We went to D. C. And we got to show up the lawmakers and see them just say, Oh, okay. Oh, you got us a book or we could see some photos of this region. Oh, there's, um, which in people here to talk about it if they swipe through Andres photos. Oh, we have these giant prints before our face. Like I didn't let myself worry about how I felt, because this time I said, Well, this is about these people, and that's what my job is here on DSO practice with the people around you to learn the stories that you like to tell the boast and then get ready toe shoot in other ways. But if you're interested in it like there's nothing stopping you except for the fact that photography is expensive and so you know, if you need to borrow something, I'm sure we'll figure it out. But just as much as you can. Whatever is available to you, that's my biggest advice. Chase that I love it. Thank you for the final words, Andre. It's been such a pleasure Thio have you on today? Thank you so much for your time. And I want to make sure everybody knows where to follow you. Find you? We've said it a few times throughout, but give us all the places. Okay, So first of all, the best way I ever saw was that Twitter is my Vince tha and I agree with that. I do not have a fake instagram barf instagram. But Twitter is where I speak a little bit more clearly about how I feel. So there you can find me at at Andre the road, So a u N d R E L A R R O w I'll ask for Creative Live to hit me with the retweets and focus and see that on instagram and be hands. It's at a u N D r E for instagram and obviously polished work. But on my instagram TV as well as on the hands I've been streaming with Beyonce to explain how I do things on light room. I want to do that so that anyone that's confused about how to do things they could learn them earlier there for the 15 year old me, Um, and those air kind of the three place You'll find me instagram and be him at Andre. Oh, on YouTube too. But it's the same videos you can find them and then, um, on Twitter and on the road. And at some point we will get that at Andre on Twitter. But, you know, I won't hold my breath. Well, if everybody listening to this tweets at Andre and give it to a Loro Andre Loro. There you go. Maybe we'll have Maybe we could do something there. Uh, but really thank you for giving me time for being patient with me. And I had to like, kind of moving around a little bit. Um, but it's really, really cool. Like you. You all do a lot of work and uses it. We do a lot of work. I physically met you, and then I've seen you all over the Internet doing all these things so well, it's our it's our pleasure. And, uh, maybe we can get you to do some classes on current of live. Just gonna put that plug in there, My friend put that plug in, uh, long term relations, but I'm just out here doing my thing s o, thank you, everybody for tuning in today. This has been another episode of our podcast. Were photographers were closing in on 100 episodes. So be sure to go out and check out wherever you listen. Thio, your get your podcast search for where photographers search for creative live. You'll find it Subscribe. You can also go listen to all those past episodes on creativelive dot com slash podcast. All right, everybody, that's a wrap for today. But we will see you next time right here on crate of live TV

Class Description


Our weekly audio podcast We Are Photographers brings you true stories from behind the lens and behind the lives of your favorite photographers, filmmakers, and creative industry game-changers. From their struggles to their wins, host Kenna Klosterman discovers the real human stories about why they do what they do.

Listen to this and other audio episodes on our audio Podcast page.


In this episode, Aundre recommends how to stay creative and connected during these times. Hear how best to prepare for celebrity shoots when you only have a few minutes and how Aundre approaches photographing on the film set of United Shades. He shares how he quickly connects with the people he's photographing to make them comfortable. We talk about the importance of reducing stigmas of mental health and his work with the organization To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA). Travel across the country with Aundre for his Stories From Here project during his Adobe Creative Residency. Learn Aundre's tips on photographing and post-processing darker skin tones for accurate representation.


Aundre Larrow is a Jamaican-born photographer based in Brooklyn, NY. From his work as an Adobe Creative Resident exploring stories across the country to working on the set of W. Kamau Bell’s United Shades, Aundre seeks to see the truth in each human being. In seeking the fundamental good in every person, Aundre is passionate about helping younger creatives achieve their full potential in art and business. Just as he received a Minolta from his high school drama teacher at 15, he wants to pay it forward with all the knowledge he has.