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The Art of Confidence

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The Art of Confidence with Jermaine Horton

Jermaine Horton, Kenna Klosterman

The Art of Confidence

Jermaine Horton, Kenna Klosterman

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Lesson Info

1. The Art of Confidence with Jermaine Horton

Lesson Info

The Art of Confidence with Jermaine Horton

Mhm. Yeah. Hello, everyone. And welcome to Creativelive. Welcome back to critical. I've welcome here for the very first time I am here. I'm kinda Klosterman here, coming to you from my living room to yours, to our guests as well. Today, his name is Jermaine Horton. Before we get into the intro and the show, this is another episode of we are photographers. That is our podcast, where we bring our favorite filmmakers, photographers and industry greats to you. And we talk about their life stories. We talked about the ups and the downs, the wins and losses that we all face as creatives to connect us all and let us know that we are not alone. Eso once again super excited for today's guests. Uh, if you are tuning in live on creative live TV, there is a chat box and you can click on that Come on in and chat with each other. I love shout out So let me know where it is in the world that you are tuning in from and we will get those shout outs going. You can also comment on if you're watching on F...

acebook, Twitter, YouTube as well. So let's get started. I'm super excited For today's guest, Jermaine Horton, he is a wedding and portrait photographer. He is a new Sony artisan. He is also a Westcott lighting top pro. Uh, he is, He says, that he enjoys a borderline unhealthy love for the Chicago Bears. Go bears, uh, reading, uh, dynamic images via off camera flash and natural light. Jermaine is also the president and founder of the Art of Confidence Project, which empowers and restores confidence in our youth. And he was featured. The project was featured across all the major networks, including the greenhouse, CNN bt, CBS, ABC, NBC, people and more. Hey, is also a partner and ambassador with Stella Pro lighting Funny design an SLR lounge. And we're very excited to have him one creative live for the very first time. Welcome. Germaine. Horton, how are you doing today? I'm good. I'm good. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it. How are you? I am doing well. I once again super excited. Your name has been kind of popping up everywhere these days and congratulations again on, um, not only becoming a Sony artisan recently. Also, you've done a lot of work with Westcott, but also a Wescott top pro, along with working with another of other brands. Eso Congratulations on all of that. Thank you. I appreciate I appreciate it. So I wanted to start with talking about the art of confidence project. I am. When I first found out about it, I just I watched one of the videos of Macy Hill in Kentucky and was brought to tears. Eso I just I respect so much what you are doing with this project. And I want Thio Use the, you know, a platform toe. Let everybody know about it. There are certainly more stories to be told. So share with us about why you started the art of continents and what it iss Well, so I started the art of confidence last year, Want to say, like, uh, late November? And I've seen many stories of Children and individuals that were going through certain things in their lives. And I knew that, um, I wish that I could help those individuals and those Children at that time. And usually they're so far away, and it's like, Oh, man, you know, a photo shoot could actually help that person. It would make them feel better. Or Thea Art of imagery, These different things and nothing ever really came about until there was a story of a young lady in Jackson, Michigan, that Waas refused for her class photos because she had extensions in her hair. And I remember it was already kind of like picking up a lot of media traction. And I was getting in boxes. I was getting tags and they were like, Hey, you know, this photographer is close to Jackson, Michigan, which is right outside of Detroit. They were like, Jimmy, would you be interested? And I was like, Oh, man, let me jump all over this like this is like, immediately I feel bad for the little girl that time because as a father, it's like, Wow, really? Like, you know, kids are always excited about school pictures because they get Thio do a little funky stuff with their hair. I think they were their favorite clothes, and these are supposed to be timeless photos for these Children. So when it happened, um, I was just like how? How could this happen to an eight year old girl when typically you're supposed to notify the parents, but that didn't happen. Um, she was just singled out and was told that she could not take these photos. And when I got the story, I reached out to the actual person and the day of the article and I said, Hey, you know, can you give me a contact with the parents? And they got me in contact with the parents. And when I spoke to the father, Doug, Doug was like in tears. She was like, I couldn't believe that someone would actually want to photograph my daughter and that this would take place to where she would get a opportunity of her dreams. And so I told him, I want to set up her own photo shoot for her class photo, you know, and do something really nice for her. So at that point, there wasn't an art of confidence. It was just me helping out someone that I thought could use the help. And when I contacted a few other people, I reached out to join management, who's a good friend of mine, and we got clothing from rich girl candy, another brand that was out there at that time, Um, that we actually put everything in my car. I grabbed my daughter, my eight year old daughter, my job and my four year old Jeremiah. And we went out to Michigan and I brought my daughter because she has such an infectious personality and sometimes with Children. Um, it's hard to break those barriers. So sometimes having another child, they're kind of helps, you know, open that person up. And so we packed everything in the car. We drove about 4.5 hours out there into Detroit to Jackson, Michigan went to pro cam, which is, Ah, place that I have a great partnership with. And they were like, Whatever you need here, just come on in. And it's so funny because at that time I had no idea that a representative from Westcott was going to be there when this happened. So I was like, All right, cool. So we get there. Marien is her name. She comes in and she just looks amazing. She has the most beautiful chocolate skin. Her cheeks are just like, so adorable. You just wanna bite on them, you know? And so I'm like, All right, come on, let's do it. Let's let's get get ready and for me, music always away from my clients to get engaged. So we asked her, Hey, what's your favorite singer? She's like Ariana Grande. I was like, Oh, great, All right, so we played some of her music and she just got into it. And it's probably even though that was the first project that actually happened. It was probably the most monumental thing that ever took place in my life and my photography career. Um, to this day, that is such an iconic image that when people see that folded like, Oh, my God, I remember it because it was on the front page of, um, Chicago. Sometimes it went viral and it wasn't one of those viral things, like on social media. It went viral globally. I had people from the Netherlands, Hong Kong, like you name it that was reaching out. And I was like, Wait, what? What's going on here? And to see her expression and for her to at that moment field so much more confident because in that moment, you know when you're like Oh, you can't take photos because of your hair. Kids are like, Hi, hi. Laughing and doing things of that nature. So she went home crying. And so for her to be able to come and say I have this you now because most people know that class photos are boring anyway, Like as a photographer, we know we're like, Okay, like, we wish that we were doing our own kids class photo. But, you know, everyone said the same thing like, hey, you know, well, she got something better anyway, which was the goal that I wanted for her to have the confidence to say. I'm beautiful no matter what color my hair waas and you know or what not. But the bigger issue with that Kenya is that the rule that was put in place was a rule that was put there from years ago. And that rule was stemmed upon, um, majority Caucasian Children. It didn't taken account for Children of color or other ethnicities where they wear their hair as a part of their culture, and that was one of the issues. And then the second issue was they said it was because there was red extensions in her hair and it had to be natural tones. Now here's the thing. There's so many Caucasian women that have blonde hair, but that's not their natural hair color. But they consider it a natural tone because they're used to seeing women do that with their hair. So when you see an African American child have read extensions in her hair, you say, Oh, that's not natural. Well, neither is blonde. It just became acceptable because at one time it wasn't. It was like, Okay, that's not your real hair color. But over time people accepted it. So it has to be the same thing with the transition when it comes to people of color. So that was the bigger scope of it with the art of confidence. And that was she's the Alfa of the program. She is what had the wheels turning. And then after it was released and it went viral, it was like any other situation that happened with another child or a teen. I was the very first phone call, or I was blown up on social media like, Oh, you gotta go to the art of confidence. You gotta go to the Arctic confidence. This is who you want. This is who you want, and that's when we had the next story, which was Tink, the four year old out of Tatum, Texas, who was told that in order for him to keep going to school because he has very long hair, in order for him to keep going to school that he would have to either cut his hair or he would have to wear a dress and come to school and identify as transgender or in the process of being a transgender, and and then he would be accepted into the school. And of course, the grandmother flipped out, you know? And they done everything in their power to try to ruin this woman. Um, Thio just discredit her. Just so many things that took place with that situation. And so from this they isolated the child. She kept sending them back to school because he was not officially kicked out of school. So she kept something back so they would isolate him for hours, and she never even knew. And so, at four years old, he developed PTSD. Um, and he has separation anxiety and so many other things that took place from that. So I knew at that point I'm like, All right, this is a four year old child. And I'm like, What does hair have to do with a person learning? You know? And so we came down there and we got some very iconic photos. But literally a child that was so attached to his grandmother would never leave aside was like, No, I don't want you to leave and we develop such a major bond. One of the greatest things that happened was that she made Tink and asked me if I will be his God father. And I said yes. So, yeah, so it has some things that come with it the emotional attachments and, uh, the bonds that are built through this process. It is so much more than the photos that people see as the end result. And isn't that so true with photography in general, Um, that it's so much more than than the image And what I first of all, um, kudos and thank you for, uh, and the people that the teams that must have surrounded you in terms of making this all happen because but eight years old, four years old, to be shamed for your your personality, who you are and your culture is, uh, it is, um, baffling. Mind baffling and? And what? What I what? I, uh, so love about the art of confidence Project is I did see you post on the Facebook page, which people should go check out, watch some of the videos that are on their learn more about the project. But is that thinks that that the law for the score the school rules were changed just recently, right? Yes. So forth there. Israel Impact. Yes, yes, it's crazy because it's always the what I like to call the success stories that happen from thes projects. And right now, like I never thought that I would be on a first name basis with billionaires. But the owner of the Detroit Pistons flew me and my daughter out. Onda had to sit courtside. Um, she became a part of the Detroit Pistons organization. Um, she's getting looked at right now for a deal with Disney as well. Um, like it's so many amazing. What happened with that with tank, they actually changed the rules. So now the hair is no longer a requirement. They don't care about that anymore. There's no more restrictions on how long, or if it's braided if it's dreads. So we all came together and made that happen with the art of Confidence Project along with the crown at Onda Crown campaign, which has been something instrumental, uh, much needed that was taking place. And one of the other Children that were out in Texas was DeAndre. Um, and DeAndre had these very long dreads, and they told him that, uh, you cannot graduate high school if you don't cut your hair. Mind you in the rule book, it says that your hair cannot touch your ears and they can't come pass a certain way so he would pin it up. And they still made issue about that. However, one of the one of the members of the football team said, Hey, this is Bs. My hair goes over my ears and because I'm Caucasian, they do not call me out about it. And he came to DeAndre defense, but the school still didn't want to do anything about it. Um, that's in another district in in in Texas. But both of the situations in Texas, um, they decided after convening that they would not change their rules. Eso we're still fighting for that and As a matter of fact, I plan soon to do a connection of DeAndre and team so that they can come together. And we do a even more powerful story to show the parallels of, like their journeys and how this has come in the past because he's 18. Think it's five now, you know. And so it's like their past and their future go hand in hand, and it's time to just amplify that story even more so. That's part of our next project that we're going to do to Wow. And I think, yes, combining their two stories together. Uh, is it just that's where you you know, you start. You combine all all of these stories together, and it starts to show even more. So you know, societal issues, uh, sweeping across the country and just one aspect, you know, being hair, which represents so much more. It does. It does. What has this project done for you personally in in terms of in terms of, um, not just your photography, but your confidence? Um, it's funny because this are the confidence project was something that not only was needed for other Children, but it was for myself, too, on because I know what it's like to be bullied. I know what it's like to be discriminated against. Um, I come from a very tumultuous childhood that it's filled with PTSD, where I developed that even before going into the military, where it was just amplified even more once I was there. So, um, I will say that having this Arctic confidence project really made me stand out from other photographers. Because while I'm a great wedding photographer, Andi, I think my images are amazing and my my brides and my couples, they love them. There's so many other wedding photographers. You know, I feel like I make great portrait, but there's so many other portrait photographers and I feel like what lighting It was something I learned, and I was just like and I kept learning lighting, and I just felt like, Look, if you can like, if you could like, then you can pretty much just about anything for the most part, and so having a personal project like this made me step into the forefront of other photographers, and it's nothing against those of the photographers. It was just that it was something different at the time that people wanted to see and people needed to see, and it was a refreshing thing for people to see. So it really put me on people's radars. And it's one of the reasons why I absolutely preach and tell people do personal projects. I promise you, once you start doing personal projects, it gives your business purpose. It also gives you purpose. But then it helps other people in the long run as well, too. So it's like, you know, it's one of those things where it's almost a necessity, because it's it's almost like Okay, we've seen almost every kind of wedding photo. We've seen almost every wedding polls. Um, and I love the people out there that always creating and always, you know, setting the bar higher. But let's do something that's near and dear to our hearts so that the world can see it. So when I saw images from rallies from the black lives matter, when I see um, individuals from different communities speaking about things that that hurt them and they can't really lash out how they want to, so they use imagery to express their pain and their joy, their sacrifices their triumphs to me that it's so amazing. And that's what those personal projects before. But it has literally open the door for everything that I have sought after. And I mean, I never thought that I would be where I am today in my photography career, because I remember posting and tweeting. I said, Look, I'm gonna be an ambassador for somebody you know. I'm gonna be an ambassador for a camera company. Like I put that in the atmosphere. I tweeted it. I put it on Facebook. I had it in my INSTAGRAM stories. I used to tag lighting companies and brands like, Listen, which one of you are gonna take the opportunity on me because you're gonna regret not having me on your roster sooner or later. So and the one thing I will say, companies like Westcott really took a chance on me. Um, before my name was a household name within, you know, these personal projects with the art of confidence and they were like, We love what you do. And I love that Brandon Brandon heist was like, Yo, whatever. Whatever we could do to help you will do it because we were in a partnership faith. Before we became before I was made an ambassador, they wanted to see how I would teach how I would carry myself in the public view. What was I like? Was I going to be loyal to the brand, or was I going to be just one of those people like, Hey, yeah, well, what's kind equipment? And then, you know, just to say no, it's been such amazing partnership And the one for Macy in Kentucky, Um, Westcott was like, Listen, we know black lives matter and I was so glad it wasn't one of those things where all these companies went on Facebook and Instagram, like black lives matter black lives matter, And at that point, it felt like it was a marketing strategy, and Westcott was like, Here's what we want to do whatever you need for your projects, it's done. I'm going to send a video team out there to Kentucky, and when I send my video team out there, you tell them what How you want this done. And Jacob came out there from Westcott and actually killed that video. It is the most impactful video from my Arctic Confidence Project. that Westcott put together and I literally was in tears watching the dry cut of it. And I was just like, Wow! And it's now where individuals were just like, you know, okay, it's starting to pull on the strings of emotions and hearts And, you know, when this girl who is mixed, who is black and white, um, it's probably one of my favorite and, uh, trying to think How could word that? Because marrying is like the like. That is like the iconic image for me, but and this climate and what we're going through the project would may see in Kentucky with her having a black father and a white mother and having them to understand what racism looks like for her to be accepting that she is white but accepting that she is black. So she goes through internal conflict, and at her school she was called the n Word. So many times she was discriminated against. Nobody gave her a safe zone on because some of the kids were graduating, they told her, There's nothing that the school can do you in, you know, and saying all these derogatory terms toward her and the most raw lis most impactful, uh, emotionally driven image was her image because she was the first person that we always do what is called the release. And if you ever see any of them screaming, that's called the release. Because in the black community, when I was growing up, there was no such thing as mental health. It was put your big boy draws on if you cry and give you something to cry about, you know? And it was such a toxic thing. And so I felt that during this project, I wanted all the Children have a release, and that's when you go back to the moment when you were dealing with what you're dealing with. And I want you to let I was scream of how you felt, and that's when you got Americans. When she looked up into the Westcott lighting screen, you got DeAndre screaming out. You have tanked, giving out his lion roar, all these things that took place. But when it came to Macy and we had a heartfelt conversation, literally, when she gave that screen, it was tears in her eyes. It was the rawest emotion that I've ever seen, and I could tell in that moment, like she was still battling what she was dealing with and what she was going through, because people will say, Oh, she's got all this media attention Oh, people are doing this for her people doing that for her. And people always want to equate physical gifts and materialistic things and forget about the person's emotional impact that they go through in the struggle. And that's why that's why it was so key toe have that moment. If I heard, I realized, Oh my God, I'm not over it like I'm not healed from it And that's okay because you're grieving. Hyla process is different than other people. Take your time to heal. Take your time to grieve. It's OK. Tears are okay. Nothing makes you weak as a man or a woman. To cry and let go. To be vulnerable is to be powerful, and that is what, in essence, what the art of confidence project is. And right there in that moment, when we had our conversation, I think what Scott just did such a brilliant job off bringing that story together from the raw emotions up into the end, where she felt like I can try and do anything, and that's what our project is about. And it's for Children under the age of 18 and under, because it's about building up our youth. And at one point can It was for all Children, like I wanted to do. Black, white, Hispanic, you name it. I wanted to deal with Children that had deformities, uh, disabilities. That was the goal of the Arctic Confidence Project. But every time I looked up, there was a child of color, a black kid or Hispanic kid or just somebody being ridiculed or, um, being discriminated against. You can't go to school because your hair too long, um, you can't be a part off the Black Nutcracker because if you have braids and were kicked out of the Black Nutcracker for their braids like what? And have to go to New York for that project with those beautiful girls and and then it kind of shifted because most of the Children were discriminated against. But we had one that hers was a different story, and it was about bullying. And that was a Mayan moon, where she has a rare form of cancer and she's eight or nine years old, and someone ripped off her wig inside of the school and ran around with it, paraded it and she went home crying, didn't want to go back to school and was very reserved. And when we did her shoot and I told her and I want her to feel comfortable, I'm like Amaya. I know somebody ripped off your wig, but I want to give you your power back. And I want you to take off your own week because your bald head is beautiful. It is gorgeous and I want you to own it. And at that point, she'd never went in public without her hair. So in that moment she ripped off that wig and she gave this little screen and it was phenomenal. And at that moment she stopped wearing wigs. She started going T to the store, out to eat, and she just had that wig off. And she was just rocking that head. And I was like, I love it and and that's what this project is all about. I mean, it's those images. All of the images, especially like you mentioned the release images you that is you. Can you can feel like you said that raw emotion and, uh, and that, you know, that trauma is physically in our bodies. And eso has has seeing the release of those air starting to release some of those traumas. And you mentioned that you had traumas well, in PTSD and and and so where have there been moments for you to release? Um, yeah. Wow. Kenya. You come in. You coming with coming deep, Coming deep. Hey, I ain't mad at that at all. Um, so experiences or yeah, yeah. I haven't really had a chance to release in years from everything that I've been through, uh, through a rough childhood through, um, kind of everything that I've experienced in life from family, friends, relationships, um, losing family. Um, I've had a lot of trauma losing my Those are my my stepfather, my biological father, Um, losing my mother, my mother who was murdered, losing my sister, who was murdered losing my brother, who was murdered. Um, going through DCFs systems and childcare and adoptions. And nothing actually. Panning out. Working out, uh, coming from a neighborhood where when you hit 18. That's like your greatest accomplishment. Um, there have been just so many situations where I just kind of was like up. That's what life is, because that's what I knew. And then it was I honestly did not have a release until about maybe a month ago, which is crazy out of 30 out of my 38 years of this life that I've been here, Um, the first time I actually had a release was a month ago, and it was the worst thing ever. Um, it and for me, I kind of like taking on everyone's paying. So it's like, um when I deal with these Children like I get emotionally involved and it's almost like it happened to me. And so that's why I relate to the stories and I get really caught up in it. It's why my I have some really good friends that understand that most of the time I respond from an emotional place versus a logical place and people were like, Yo, I don't know how you get these ambassadorships. They must don't know, like I was like, Yeah, it's like, yeah, they haven't checked my Facebook like I have no filter when it comes to certain things like I don't play when it comes Thio, you're talking crazy. The women. I'm a huge advocate for women and women's rights, especially my sisters. Like I'm all for it Just so many things And with all the rioting and the looting that took place and the discriminations and people dying on camera and like it was just so much and there was essential and probably nobody even knows this, but one of the person. So I'll kind of announce it here. But there was a video of a young lady who was being detained and she had her arms behind her back. And I'll never forget The police officer struck her, kicked her and trip her like a man and not even a man, you know, because as a human you should have decency to not do certain things. And in my mind, I'm saying to myself like, Are you serious? Like I was so furious. I was like, I have daughters, like what if that was my daughter and the problem with being on social media so much? Which is why now I just post and I'll go to my page and respond to certain people. But then I'm off of it because I get drawn into everything that's going on. And it's an emotional battle that there's a lot of triggers for my PTSD and that now triggers panic attacks. And I had a panic attack and trigger from that video because I went to sleep that night with that on my mind and I drink. I had a most visual dream or nightmare that that was my daughter, my for my eight year old, and I woke up in the middle night. I couldn't breathe like I could not catch my breath. I got in the shower with, um, I ended up getting a shower with my clothes on and like a cold shower. I just had toe like just wash it off. I had to wash it off and I could not breathe. I could not catch my breath, and I thought I was literally going to die in that moment, like I never knew that my dreams would be that vivid. And so E knew at that moment I was like, all right, I have got to take a break and give myself balance with social media. But then also I knew I had to play a bigger part in this world with what I do. And it was at that moment when I decided that I wasn't taking no for an answer from cos I wasn't taking no for an answer for building my dreams, my business or anything else that that I was going to make my art of confidence project greater than anything that I've ever done. And so I understand that we have to have a bigger responsibility in the world and cannot depend on government and society. Toe always do the right things. But in order for the right things that happen, we have to be the examples. Instead, it are still so I just knew in that moment, like my project has to be greater and bigger is the reason why I have not even done another project. Because this next project that I'm gonna work on and not the follow up with DeAndre and think, but this next one is probably gonna be one of the biggest that I've ever done, which I need to bring some outside help in. And this is finding out where are our girls? And when I say, where are girls? Where our Children there's so many Children that are being kidnapped and they're being used for trafficking. They're used and it's so many things that taking place with that, but it's not getting the attention that it should be getting. So I've been trying to find people incl communities that are and the trenches that have platforms that understand the dynamics off, how this goes not just the TV version but the real life version. And I don't want to come in with just the version of my own. So that's why I've been seeking people that understand the optics of how this takes place. And I have already in my head exactly how this is supposed to be. And many people were like, Well, if it's for Children under 18 Well, how can you do this? You know, because they're gone. So I have an idea where I use the parents and we're going to use photos of their missing girls, and I'm hoping that we can have this thing go viral, not viral toe, where it benefits me. But where it amplifies the voices of these parents and these mothers who are missing their Children that one day people will look at and say, Oh, I recognize that girl and we can get them back home. So now it cannot be just little things, and it has to be greater and better. It has to be monumental impact for this world. And I just feel like if I can do something like this to help some other people, then I deal with God called me to do. And and that's the bigger part of this Jermaine. First of all, thank you for your vulnerability. I mean, you, you you said it yourself earlier Vulnerability is power, and no one can. You know, take that your once you are embodying your personal power and your, um, please know that you will have reached somebody out there. Um, just by sharing that, um, that will will a recognize I mean, I've had panic attacks, and you don't know what's happening. Uh, and eso just even recognizing, um that and verbalizing it. Um well, we'll help someone. So thank you. Thank you. And and, man, I mean, I did not know that this is how the art of confidence was was evolving. And what's so beautiful about that? Is that everything passion projects, life. You know, it's all these evolutions. And you you start something and you don't know where it's going to go. Um, and I I really appreciate your sentiment of of, you know, No, you had said at one point. Um, I think when we were chatting previously know, builds your character. Yes. Build your business in your career. Uh, and and that is why. I mean, I've I've seen that you sort of epitomized this art of of confidence because, you know, just going out there, whether you're when you when you have been getting the nose, You know, um, but continuing to get the yes is, um can you also when you were announced, the Sony Artisan? Um, your immediate sort of response was like, This isn't really about me. Now it's time to do the work. Like you had to do a whole lot of work to get to that point. Um What What do you think it is that has, um, like, was there what was the switch in terms of, like, I'm not going to take no. Or if I do get to know, I'm gonna keep going like was there? What? Is there a know that kept you going? I wouldn't say. I've been told no my whole life. So, um, it's been one of those things Like where I come from, Like, um, you can either be a product of environment or you can just change your entire environment, you know? And I'll say, um, man, it wasn't like one thing that that stuck out, But I just remember getting advice from so many different people about what was taking place and things that were happening in the world. Ah, Photography. And I remember, like saying, like, who made these rules? Like, you know, people were telling me. Well, if you're gonna be a wedding photographer, stick a wedding, shoot weddings only, you know, if you're going to be a portrait photographer, stick pusher, don't go into one of the other master one and then, you know, and I'm glad I didn't listen to that advice. I've kind of been the person that kind of goes against the grain. Um, I ask the questions that most people wouldn't ask questions to, You know, when people are like, Oh, well, he used the on the photography. Why would you question that? Like, why not? You know, um, I feel like the dumbest question is the one that you never asked. And for me it was being a student of the industry, and that comes from I used to be in network marketing, and I know so many people have cliches about it and how they feel about certain things when it comes to that. But listen that I made so much money in network marketing, it was insane. Not only that, but it built my character because I understood when you start certain businesses, whether it's a home based business with and we model, whether it's a beauty ik, whether it's a sewing company, whether it's a bracelet or or jury accessory company, whether it's a photography company, here's what I've learned is that nine times out of 10 where I'm from family are the ones who will not support you. But complete strangers will. You will have complete strangers that will believe in you that will push you and give you the confidence that you need. And sometimes your family are the ones that are the Debbie downers in the crab in the barrel that literally will pull you back. So I have always been of the mind set that it may not be today. It may be tomorrow. It may be the week after that, but my time is going to come. So I was just being patient and learning. I went to WPP. I I went to the photo cookout. I went to all these different, um, places where I would learn photography. I would make sure. Okay, how can I build my business? But how can I build on my craft as well? And my favorite photographer, when I first got into the industry, was Jeremy honest, like, I love me some Jared g honest because the man is so genuine in Riel, you know, and he's very honest and he has no problem helping you. So I remember that class was like maybe 800 bucks at the time. That didn't even include flying out to Santa Monica, California. And at that time, I've never been there, and it was one of the most beautiful places that I've been to. What the sun sets were like on fire, and, uh, and learning from him hands on was the difference maker and starting my career. Then it was like, Okay, there's one more issue. I don't see any representation of African Americans or people that look like me and wedding photography, and maybe it's because where I'm from or where I was looking and I just wasn't looking hard enough. But it was Other times I was looking for things not even remotely hard enough and bland. They were in my face, but they just didn't look like me. So I'm like, OK, where are these amazing creatives that look like me? Because representation is everything the same thing, like my daughter, my daughter's favorite comic book character. One time was Captain America, and all of her superheroes never looked like her. And when the movie Black Panther came out, my daughter was like Like she got to see someone that looked like her, and it was a difference maker from my daughter, man. So it was the same thing for me. I was like, All right, who can I look at? And the very first person that I saw who told stories on a level that was insane was Joshua, Dwayne, Joshua Dwayne out of New York. He's one of my favorite photographers. Even now, I still look at his work for inspiration. So and then, you know, again, I'm huge about women and opportunities. And I saw one of the dopest women photographers in the world, which is cash and Lambert. She's my favorite photographer. Hands down, period. The woman is so dope it what she does. And then I start looking at how she used light on how she told stories. So those were the two that I pick and chose from. And then I was like, OK, I got the story part. I got the composition part. All right, let me get into this lighting thing. So then that's when I met guys like Francisco Hernandez, who's Alfa Collective Amazing with off camera lighting and then the real hosting who was like my brother and we met at WPP. I and we have been the best of friends since then, and I learned off camera flash from him. So I took bits and pieces and pieces and pieces and pieces and pieces from everyone, and I just kind of molded everything and just kind of made it my thing. And to me, that had education has been the difference for me when it came to my photography and what kind of I would say moved me along the path that I was going on. And I will say a lot of people don't wanna invest into education when it comes to photography, because some people just feel like, Oh, I feel like I'll be taking on their style if I start learning from this person. That's not the case, you know. And when people say, Oh, I don't have the money to invest in something like that Well, that's the reason why you need to invest in it because you don't have the money for it. And the short term sacrifices I worked in a long term game, and when I understood that the first thing that I needed to change when it came to this business was mindset, everything else was just going through, you know, just going through the motions like you can pick up a camera, do everything else, but do you have the mindset when someone tells you, Oh, I don't wanna pay you $300 only got 150 you know, Do you have the mindset to say Okay, I'm worth $300 but you know that 1 50 do I really need it? Well, how about this? Instead of giving you 10 images, I'll give you five images. Then you start having a mind set off. Ah, business mind So how you can kind of fix things to work for you And for me, that was the difference maker. Well, it's it's it's recognizing your own value. And I mean, it's so true. The mindset part is sort of the thread of the photographers and filmmakers. You know that we that we talked thio here on creativelive The brand ambassadors like you have to believe in yourself in order for somebody else to believe in you on. I would say like that. Mastering the art of confidence, you know, is one thing for you. But then also that art of networking e mean putting yourself in those positions whether that's physically or online, eso that you are making those connections and giving the shoutout I mean, I will say you know you after we, you know, connected on, you know, bringing you on the podcast of Then you called me up and you're like, Hey, I see that you work for Getty images. Never mind. It was 13 15 years ago He was like, But I want a photograph sports in terms of I wanna photograph the NFL. I wanna be down there in the pit on the field. Do you know anyone on? And I was just like you taught me a lesson. I was like, Damn, why not? So s so tell us about you and wanting to photograph NFL because, like you said, you didn't, um you you I love that you're saying like, well, that this is what you're supposed to dio like. There is no supposed thio. So maybe there's somebody out there who's going to connect you, So let's hear it. What's the goal? What the dream. So my goal and my dream has always been to shoot sports. Like when I tell you I absolutely love sports like I it z man. It is not even worried that I could put into, like, I'm a die hard. So when you gave that intro like That's legit, who I am, I'm a diehard Bears fan. Um, it's man. It's football has always been like number one in my life, Dan, it's basketball. Then it's baseball. Um so those sports have always just been like but my bears. I love my Barrett. So, um, it's so hard to get into professional sports. And the amazing thing was, I love shooting weddings because weddings prepare you for everything. Weddings will prepare you to shoot anything because at a moment's glance at a wedding, you can miss something. So when I had the opportunity to shoot sports, the very first opportunity I got was it was the It was a minor league team, uh, in Indianapolis and shooting weddings was like, Oh, all right, let me let me go there and then shooting sports really helped me focus on everything when it came the wedding. So those two together was like, um, it was a perfect match. Um, and because of the relationships that I built with certain people, I was able to get in at the W N B A. So then I started shooting some of the W N B A. And then I met people that were at the W N. B. A. And this is why it's so crucial. I tell people all the time. It's not what you know. It's who you know. And if you can build relationships with people instead of just being in your own bubble. There were other photographers there. I, instead of being like, wonder who he's with. And you know what camera lenses he using. I wouldn't. Hey, guys, what's up? How you doing? I'm Jemaine. Nice to meet you. You know, man, we're about to get some dope shots today. Let's get it. And they were like, Oh, I like his energy And he said, Hey, if you ever decide to come to Indianapolis, you can shoot the W N B A. You could shoot NASCAR and you can shoot this minor league team anytime you want. That's when I started with a minor league. I got to shoot NASCAR. I never shot NASCAR before and I shot NASCAR like and I always thought NASCAR was born. I'm like who watches cars, go around in a circle like forever and be entertained by this until you go to a NASCAR event and you're like, Oh, okay, I kind of get it. Now you have to be There is just like some people with baseball. Everybody can't sit around for baseball and be entertained. You literally have to go ahead and go to a game and be like Okay, now I get it. So those kind of doors opened up, and then I started shooting college football, and that's where my main thing was that was shooting for the NC Double A. So usually for the University of Illinois and Northwestern is where I usually shoot at but just haven't had the opportunity to get in for, like the NFL N b a, um, tennis golf, like, uh, for the P G A tour and stuff like that. Um, but I keep shooting my shot. You know, the amazing thing that I do love about shooting colleges, that they end up going to the NFL, and I've shot most of them and they in my DMS like, Yo, you got the shot from this and this and they used those shots on ESPN. They've used it for their promo, and I'm like that to me is amazing and the seals people get drafted. But, um, I've been reaching out the Getty images, you know, You know, I don't really get a response back, but it's coming like I know it's coming. Like whenever I ask God for something, it happens. It's not one of those things like Alright, God, can you do this? And then it takes months and years is usually when I ask, it happens. So that's why I'm very careful about what I pray for us. So I have been praying for this and I'm ready for it and I know what's coming. And I was supposed to do it this year. But then Cove it happened. And so they kind of really restricted the guidelines when it came to media instead of what they usually have. I think they boiled it down to like 30 members or even less than that. And a lot of them are really just using their team photographer in certain network. So the credentialing process is the hard part. When it comes to, you know, shoot in professional sports. Well, I want to say Anybody out there who's got a connection for Jermaine hit him up. Let's make it happen. I mean, you you, um I watch a Facebook live of yours again Shortly after you. You were named a Sony artisan and you had said God can't steer a parked car. You can't. You can't steer a parked car. You can't be passive. You gotta be relentless. Um, and so it's that combination, you know, of doing the work, you know, and setting the intentions and the prayer. You know, like all together, Um and and it's just it's it's awesome to see and going back around to, like, you know, you doing the same thing for, um for Macy, you know, in terms of the art of the confidence project and shouting out Disney, you know, on and just putting it out there and you just don't know you don't know what's gonna happen. It's got a beautiful voice, man. She was literally doing Disney things like the the behind the scenes on the Art of Confidence page on Facebook. Um, if you guys go to art of confidence project, um, it's videos and behind the scenes of her just singing and like she sounded like a Disney character. And my thing is, you know, and usually what happens is these projects always go viral or there's huge attention. That's too, and it z intentional. I want to amplify their voices, and so a lot of people will say, Well, they just want attention, you know? You know, they're in the news. What they would have never been a news. If you want a jackass and did the stuff that you did and treated them the way that you treated, they wouldn't be in the news and you wouldn't have to worry about the success. They're getting the accolades. They're getting the endorsements and sponsorships that these people are getting. If you were a decent human being, none of these issues would have came to happen. But because you are who you are, we are where we are, and I'm happy for them. So anything that I could do to get them through the doors and and achieve their dreams, that's what are our project is about. So I truly hope Disney does open the door for Macy. She has an amazing voice. Her personality is great, so I'm definitely looking forward to that. That's awesome what I've been wanting to ask you, because I you know I do research, but I didn't research. This one is the hashtag, your favorite photographer. Now this is your you know it's in your bios. ItT's getting hashtag and I know that you know your clients like they love you because of that energy, because you're taking selfies. You're on the dance floor like all of that, in terms of weddings. But tell me about hashtag your favorite photographer. So eso when I was doing marketing, it was your favorite entrepreneur, you know? And then when I came over into shooting weddings, it was your favorite photographer, and it was never intended towards other photographers to say that I'm better than you or you know or anything. It was never that. And it still isn't. Um, it's literally for my clients. It's for my brides. It's for them, like I'm their favorite photographer, like I don't care who they shot with, like I'm there. And it's not because I shoot better. It's not because my images are better. It's because of my relationships. I have a unique relationship with my bride's. When I'm done shooting their wedding, they're calling me to do the maternity photos, newborn photos, family photos, branding headshots. So I have a consistent flow of income that comes from my bride's because of our relationship. Like I play the PS four, we play Madden, uh, two K Apex legends. I play with the groom's, um, we go out to dinners and we hang out when pre cove it, I hang out with my bride and groom's and their families. My kids have hung with some of my bride's Children like my relationship is different. And when I have that, it always stands out to that client, but not just them, but the people in the wedding. I usually leave a wedding with five or six referrals, and the reason why is because they'll say like they have kids. And so during the pre process, I'm speaking to the kids, getting ready. I'm speaking to the kids and I always say, Alright, when our song comes on, we gotta kill it. So literally, I give my camera to my assistant, and when our song comes on, I dance with the bride and their kids and at every wedding they expect me to get on the dance floor with them, their brides and our famous thing that we do at the end of every night is a selfie. So I almost forgot to do 11 night, and the bride was like We cannot forget ourself, you know, like they will remind me, and my brides will say, Oh, that is my favorite photographer because they've had other photographer or they've done other things, but they haven't had someone like me that really tuned into them. Had a great time with them, make them feel like family. And my bride's families have made me feel like family, and that's where your favorite photographer came from. And I wanted that to be in their minds any time that they thought of something. And it comes from Mohammed Ali. Mohammed Ali at that time wasn't the greatest boxer. He wasn't the greatest of all time at that time. But Mohammed Ali said, If I said because someone asked him, Why do you call yourself the greatest? He said, Well, I said if I said it enough, I would be the greatest and that you would believe that I am the greatest. So it's the same thing with the psychological factor. If I keep saying your favorite photographer, it's gonna stick in your head that I'm your favorite photographer and you're gonna always remember like, man, what was his name? Uh, your favorite photographer. They look at the hashtag bam! There I am, and hashtag will pull in people sometimes quicker than finding the actual name of that person, and then they could find me that way, too. But that's where they came from. That is brilliant, but it's the brilliant part of it. Jermaine is that it's not. It's not just a hashtag toe. Have a hashtag like it. It is your heart and soul that is combined with your business that is combined with your entrepreneurship combined with your networking. You know that has made combined with your passion project that's made, you know, the whole thing on bits. Just you know, it's just a beautiful, beautiful story. And, you know, and I just I really appreciate your, you know, sharing all of this with the creative life family of the globally folks all around the world. I want Thio. Make sure because it's now on our already. I wanna make sure that everybody knows how to follow. Not only you, but the art of confidence. Project follow. Connect higher all those things. Yes, yes. So I didn't go to my website germaine Horton dot com. You can click on the art of confidence project there, um or you could go directly to the website, which is the art of confidence dot org's. You can follow me on my social media sites on Instagram is Jermaine Horton photography. It's the art of confidence, this project on their Twitter. It's Jermaine Horton and our confidence on there and Facebook, Arctic Confidence and Jermaine Horton photography. You got that down. I love it, Jermaine. I want to give some shout outs to people who have been timing in throughout the broadcast. We have Desmond there in Chicago saying, I love my brothers work. We've got Tony in Charlotte, North Carolina. We've got Regina in Chicago, Jose infinitely, uh, Dave in Phoenix. We've got Dave, who said he's a He is Dave Susana, who says he's a video editor. Um, we've got folks who are even go in and see some of these comments on Facebook because there's people who are, um, offering Dave offering. If you need a video editor for any of your projects, please reach out that with regard to the art of confidence, uh, we have Darrelle who's saying one of the hardest working photographers out there and photo me like so thank you. Behind the scenes can. Behind the scenes is like I tell people all the time like like, um, Michael Jordan always used to say like we got six championships and we got all these championships But they never saw the hard work that might put it into the gym. And it's like it's ours that I've taken away from my Children so that I could edit and learn different editing techniques and just always working on my craft, man. So I appreciate my Children for always being patient with me so that I could give them the life that I never had. Andi, that's that's that's where it comes from. But I love them and shout out to Rogina. She's from Chicago. I said that I wanted to put on an amazing woman, Um ah, black woman in this industry so that I could amplify her voice. So I added her onto our company and she is my mentee. I'm going to groom her whatever she needs. I'm going to do what I can so that she has success. Tamara. You'll need to call her awesome, fantastic way. No, some people that Tamron, you know, that's fantastic. It's tag. Um, Andi, That's right, Regina. I did see that. I did see you posting about her, and that's amazing. And that that ability to focus on these on again individuals. Whether it's, um, the you know, the Children that you're featuring and raising up in the art of confidence or mentees like That's just, you know, it's a full circle on and, you know, and it's just it's amazing what you dio so use your platform to help other people. Platform ain't ish. That is it. Uh, thank you. So, so much to remain for being with us today. Um, certain such a pleasure to have you on creativelive for the first time. And I'm seeing more comments coming in. Love it. ASHA. Desmond. Uh dang, Gina, let's go.

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, Jermaine explains the origins and powerful mission of The Art of Confidence Project, as well as the impact it’s made on the lives of the youth he’s photographed and their communities. Learn how Jermaine built a business with loyal clients who rally behind his #YourFavoritePhotographer brand and mastered his craft to now partner with major brands. Be inspired by his relentless go-getter attitude, vulnerability, and determination to lift up everyone around him.


Jermaine Horton is a wedding and portrait photographer, a Sony Artisan of Imagery, and a Westcott Top Pro ambassador. He enjoys a borderline unhealthy love of the Chicago Bears and creating dynamic images via Off-Camera Flash and natural light. Jermaine is the President and Founder of The Art Of Confidence Project, which empowers and restores the confidence of our youth and was featured on The Grio, CNN, BET, CBS, ABC, NBC, People & more. He’s an ambassador for Stella Pro Lighting, Fundy Design, and SLR Lounge.

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Robin Spencer

The most inspiring photographer I have ever seen. Compassionate, smart, artistic and a great marketer. Highly recommend.