We had the good fortune of connecting with Jay Kantor and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jay, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk is everything. We all make choices in this life and there are no guarantees. There’s a finite amount of time we have in this reality and it is our currency to spend it towards what we want. I believe in the idea of the a la carte life where you don’t do what you’re told but make your own choices. Whether it be on one of my photo shoots or my life choices in general I like to have an idea of the destination but recognize the journey cannot be predicted. This sharpens my skills for improvisation and being prepared for disaster or failure at any turn. Things can’t always be ready or perfect either. It’s easy to get paralysis by analysis. This year I moved from Los Angeles, my home for the last 13 years to the West Palm Beach area in Florida to be close to my family during the Covid-19 Pandemic. You have to be willing to uproot yourself based on your needs. Now I have all this time to keep improving my skill set and I just launched my clothing brand over at teepublic.com/user/kungfubreakfast Being a Photographer in the Pandemic era, especially when having to build a new client base as well as finding new collaborators is coming to define my 2020 and even thought it’s frightening it’s also an opportunity for growth. Risk also allowed me to believe in myself to launch my Patreon at patreon.com/kungfubreakfast When I first launched it I wondered if people were willing to pay for content I had given away for free so long. Creatively risk is a huge part of my brand. I work with new models all the time and clients that have zero experience. Forging those creative relationships is where the magic happens. It’s the same thing with new locations. Because I go to a lot of abandoned places you never know if you’ll show and there’s no way to get in or the thing you came to see is demolished. In those cases you have to be willing to improvise. It also teaches you the lesson of research so you can try to prepare yourself as best as possible for maximum results.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art is sort of a dichotomy of desolation and joy. I really like to encompass these feelings of isolation and desolation, being forgotten and alone which is why you so often see me shoot with one Muse or even if I have multiple muses they are working in unison as one like that old joke about The Lone Rangers from the movie Airheads. This is also why I usually shoot out in nature and abandoned places, or if I’m shooting in more populated areas I try to either find the off the beaten path areas or shoot during weird hours like the late at night. In contrast I like to show the beauty of those desolate feelings with Muses that inspire joy. The Muses I work with come from places of strength and I try to represent different walks of life though usually within a counter culture context. These Muses usually do their own makeup and bring their own outfits and those collaborations allow for these Muses to to live out loud and let their personalities really shine. Even when we shoot nudes its always coming from a place of female empowerment rather than the traditional male gaze you see in a lot of photos. Something that also sets my work apart are my vast array of experiences in different scenes and so you’ll see me photograph Musicians, Models, Visual Artists, Dominatrixes, Dancers, and all sorts of people from various backgrounds. I also try to show a three dimensional view of those I photograph. Someone I shoot might be a Dominatrix but maybe she also writes poetry or is a stoner or a Mom. I have one Muse in San Jose that most people know as an amazing model but her 9-5 is a scientist in a lab and she has a dance background. I can’t always show all those things but the layers have to be acknowledged by me as the person on the other side of the camera to really see this person for who they are and not some concept of who I want them to be. I also have to not pigeon-hole myself. I have a defined style but I leave myself room to vary my photos based on the personalities, locations, and a willingness to experiment.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My favorite spots include nature, abandoned places, but also really anywhere with a story. I’ve lived in Florida a few times and spent a fair amount of time in Miami but I’m definitely not an expert. In Miami though I’ve definitely spent the most time in Wynwood. I love the street art everywhere. Miami is also home to two of my favorite abandoned spots. In Wynwood you have the Old RC Cola Plant. This spot isn’t really accessible anymore but this open air warehouse/factory space used to be really easy to slip in and out of. I’ve done a number of both Muse and Street Art shoots there as well as spending two weeks there during Art Basel 2015 while Angelina Christina and London-graffiti artist Fanakapan did a collaboration there for The Bushwick Collective. The other abandoned spot is on Key Biscayne, Miami Marine Stadium. Another graffitied up spot, this place use to be the spot to watch boat races. This spot is also pretty well guarded but I did get to do one of my favorite shoots here. I also love Little Haiti not only for its street art but also the amazing food. Actually the food all over Miami is fantastic. Coconut Grove is also really interesting. I only visited this area for the first time recently but really loved it. I got to visit and photograph inside this 100 year old mansion turned Catholic Girls School called El Jardin. I guess I like the places that not everyone can visit or are off the beaten path. I’d love to do some shoots further in to the Keys or even the Everglades now that I’m here full-time but some of that might have to wait until this pandemic is under control.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Everyone in my life deserves a shoutout. My collaborators first and foremost. I learn so much from all of my Muses. Cindy Clark and The Spritely One are two Muses in particular I’ve learned a lot from. In addition to being a great model, Cindy is also a photographer and works so hard at merchandising. I got to her for advice all the time. The Spritely One has been a model and muse for over 10 years since she was a child and always challenges the ways I work, pushing me to get better. My family and their support is the backbone of my life whether they always understand what I’m doing or not. Naming some artists that inspire me is tough because there are so many. I worked with Steve Diet Goedde for years while I was shooting video and he was taking photos. Steve is a brilliant photographer. Jason Livingston was a mentor of mine in college. I always called him the future me and I continue to follow what he’s doing so I know where I’ll be 10 years down the road. My high school Poetry Teacher Gary Metras is a very important factor to my creative process. During my street art days I spent a number of years documenting Angelina Christina and learned a ton from her while she worked. Angelina is a world renowned Street Artist but not very many people know that she’s also an amazing photographer. I’m constantly consuming media so I draw inspiration from so many walks of life, particularly music. I’m a huge Joy Division fan but other favorite bands include T. Rex, Yeasayer, Ramones, Type O Negative, Apoptygma Berzerk, Echo Image, The Naked and Famous, Sky Ferreira, Killswitch Engage, Pure Bathing Culture, Depeche Mode, Orbital, way too many to name. Go find me on Spotify and you can see what I’m listening to at any time.

Website: patreon.com/kungfubreakfast
Instagram: instagram.com/kungfubreakfast
Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/jaykantor/
Twitter: twitter.com/kungfubreakfast
Other: teepublic.com/user/kungfubreakfast

Image Credits
Muses: Alondra Excene Itzel The Rainbow Goddess Peppered Up Cosplays Cindy Clark Diana Doowop Angie Mitchell The Spritely One Brianna Christine

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutMiami is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.