Subjects Of Interest
If you had told the kid-version of Adrian Octavius Walker that he'd be pursuing his dream of photography as a career, he'd ask you just how in the world he was suppose to make money at that. A far cry from his official college degree but centered firmly in his creative roots, Adrian is the embodiment of passion in pursuit of possibilities.
// PHOTOS + WORDS Adrian Octavius Walker // INTERVIEW Felicia Williams
Starting from his roots in Saint Louis, AOW brings grit, color and openess to the subjects he captures. In the immediate aftermath of the Ferguson shootings, he put his lens into action, capturing the shock, the frustration and the anger of the citizens hurt by social and societal injustice. Through his lens, Adrian chooses not to shy away from pain, but looks it full in the face, bringing what beauty he can find to his audience and beyond.
//Black Hound - I'm a huge fan of your work. Your new book, My Lens Our Ferguson, is powerful. What motivates you when you shoot?
//Adrian Octavius Walker - Overall, [when] shooting my subjects, my intentions are always the same. Catch them in their natural ways. I don’t want to make anyone do things they aren’t use to, specially when I personally know them and how they are. I feel like the way I shoot my subjects I get the best out of them by being honest and open. This is what I love and being able to shoot people and they walk away smiling is very heart felt.
//BH - Tell me a bit more about yourself. What would be the word that describes you best? How do you see yourself in the world and with other people?
//AOW - I know you said word but I have three Motivated, hard working, and very social. I’ll just take social out and use it. Being social helped me to get where I am today. Just by being open and good listener helped me out a lot.
//BH - I like the openness theme. Was there someone who had a major impact in your life to give you that world view? Who has really shaped you and how did they do it?
//AOW - I would say my mother, Clotie Baker, who is no longer with us anymore.
I was a true mama’s boy up until she passed away. I was actually 10 yrs old but I learned so much from her about being independent and staying positive even in the worst situations.
My mother didn’t wait for anyone to help her out with anything and when it came to handouts she would kindly brush them off and make things happen on her own. I learned majority of this from being by her side so much.
// BH - How'd you get into photography? // AOW - As a kid I was always curious about things around me. I people watched a lot and noticed the smallest things when it comes to [details]. I began to wish I had a camera to freeze these things for others to see.
//AOW - Shortly after high school, I got my bachelors in sociology and a certificate in photography. But I was afraid of that whole starving artist lifestyle. So I did what was best for me with college loans and everything. I got a job at Pepsi-Co.
It was cool making money and all, but at the same time I didn’t see that money. Money was nothing versus going on and doing photography full time.
I received a phone call from an artist that I worked with in the past. It was for a 45 day long tour and we got to travel to 35 different cities. It was insane.
They wanted me to be the photographer and the assistant tour manager. I never wrote so fast in my life. Two weeks notice written to Pepsi-Co.
Now I seem to focus on portraits and lifestyle photography. I would say people and traveling inspire my style.
//BH - Awesome. Why don't you take me on a tour of your photographs. I definitely have some favorites from your body of work.
//BH - Somehow, this picture, for as quiet as it is, it seems to just stand out in your gallery.
//AOW - This was actually my first time meeting Krista. We had been following each other via instagram for a while.
With her taking amazing pics and posting amazing food selections, I just knew we’d get along well. Krista is so kind, warming, goofy and talented.
Photographing Krista was fun but challenging at the same time. I could tell she was use to being behind the camera and that's even when she photographs herself. She has this amazing self portrait series going on about her skin/body. These photos are so well taken! They show so much beauty and emotion, you’d have to check them out yourself to get the feeling. But with that said I knew she enjoyed shooting rather than being shot, I could be wrong
//BH - This guy's look is incredible! I'm in composition love! Who is this?
//AOW - Nik Hampshire. Another newbie.
I actually Follow this guy on tumblr along with the rest of the tumblr world. Another internet friend @jasandstuff introduced us via text while I was in Philly. The guy just seemed cool and I like other photogs have to shoot this guy when we get the opportunity. (need top understand this sentence better).
My intentions weren’t just to say “Ayy, I shot Nik Hampshire." I genuinely wanted to help in any way I could with using my platform to get some more looks for him. Shooting Nik was dope. His look is amazing and he knows what he’s doing so it was perfect.
//BH - When I see this image, I immediately hear the song The Man by Aloe Blacc. I think it's because the cover is similar and of course, it looks like he's flying :)
//AOW - [This is] Bobby Lawson. Me and Fresh (nickname) go way back in high school.
Bobby was a year ahead of me but we seemed to have connected on the clothing and music tip. He was definitely one of my favorite seniors to hangout/talk to about things.
Every since I’ve know Bobby I couldn't help but notice he was always ahead of the trend game. We wore uniform and this guy would find some way to make up for it. His style was a tough one to keep up with and it seemed as if it was effortless.
With shooting Bobby it was one of those moments where I knew I’ve always wanted to photograph him so everything was pretty natural on my end with me already knowing him. I did have to loosen him up and that was easy because I was already prepared for it. I played Lil Wayne Dedication mixtape and it was as wrap.
//BH - This picture is haunting. Seeing the mic in his hand, with the gun at his feet. It's obviously commentary on this kid's priorities.
//AOW - Jordin This little guy is something special. Thee best 5 year old out here RAPPING!!!
His amazing father RT-faq is a local [Saint Louis] hip hop artist. These photos were for a album cover for a friend @IndianaRome (another local hip-hop star) I thought about this concept after listening to one of the tracks off his album and had to present to him. He was a bit concerned about the idea and i was too, but I knew the message behind it would make up for the photo and it did
Shooting Jordin was perfectly fine, in and out due to the massive amount of mosquitoes and I didn’t want my boy getting sick. He's a natural like the others honestly, with him being this young star.