We had the good fortune of connecting with ak cespedes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi ak, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I tend to be an impulsive person driven by emotion rather than logic. One might say that a risk should be studied, researched, find the ROI in all of it. If I did that, I’d never leap. I would think of too many variables and ways that it can go wrong. I will sabotage it. So I just jump into it. I just think, “what’s the worse that can happen?” and then go for it. It doesn’t always go the way you plan/expect/hope, but that in itself is part of the risk. And the growth, the shedding of fears, the self-trust and confidence gained is worth it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a photographer. My style is a merge of street, documentary and travel photography. I have had the privilege to travel to many parts of the world for business and leisure, and always with a camera in hand. What sets me apart from others is just my vision, that filter with which I view the world. I came to the US from Peru at the age of 10. Somehow, I still view the world with those eyes, just scoping the scene and the people everywhere I go. There are still a few challenges that I would like to overcome to take my career to the next level. That is part of the growth as an artist and individual. I think that Covid-19 and being on lockdown for so many months tested my creativity like never before. It definitely made me question my own work and for that I’m grateful. It also sparked the idea of a podcast. Stay tuned for news and updates on my social media!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I find that Miami is always evolving into something, so I enjoy taking friends who are in town around the city to see what’s new. I love food and so do my friends, and finding a good spot is part of the fun. On day 1 – We’d go window shopping in the Design District and then lunch at the best sushi spot: Itamae. I would take them for a ride around Wynwood to check out the wall art. It’s cool to see an artist working on a piece out there and admire their skill. Head south on NE 2nd Ave and grab a bite at Kush. End the night at The Corner Bar for the perfect cocktail. Day 2 – Let’s head to the beach! And by that I mean North Beach. Although we may take a drive through South Beach, that’s not where I want to put my towel down. Always stop at Manolo’s for a couple of empanadas and a refreshing natural juice. My favorite is the melon one. That is pretty much the day! Days 3-4 – Let’s head down The Keys. No need to go all the way to Key West, there are plenty of things to do and food to eat in Islamorada, where you can catch a sunrise and a sunset by crossing the road. Day 5 – Little Havana. I’d take my friend to El Exquisito for a cafe con leche, Cuban toast and some gossip. Then we will walk up and down Calle Ocho going in and out of shops, including the Goodwill store down there. I like the Mexican restaurant options here, from El Santo to Taquerias el Mexicano, you can’t go wrong. Day 6 – Hialeah! I grew up in the City of Progress so it holds a special place in my heart. We would start with a trés chic breakfast at La Fresa Francesa, check out the thrift stores at Flamingo Plaza and for lunch, Rinconcito Peruano de Lucy. Yes! Day 7 – A mellow drive up and down Biscayne Boulevard. So many shops and restaurants constantly opening and closing, it’s fun to discover them with a friend. A must stop would be Fly Boutique for some thrifting (a must for me wherever I travel). There are many options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but there is one place where I stop to have the best Key Lime Pie outside of The Keys and that is at Blue Collar. No contest! So that’s a week with AK in Miami!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I can’t point out just one person who has helped me the most. Truth is I have a good size support team comprised of friends, colleagues and most importantly, my family. They all encourage me, push me, test me, and lift me up time and time again. I would not be here today without them.