We had the good fortune of connecting with Jose Lawrence and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jose, how do you think about risk?
When I think about risk, I think about a venture into the unknown, a walk into the dark where I do not know what may await me. Its terrifying but also exhilarating. Risk is an odd way of proving that we as individuals are indeed alive. You may succeed, you may fail. But the fact you took the leap of faith, that you took the risk, is a mark of true courage. Sometimes they can be as simple as taking a walk down the street for some. We in fact live in a world where for many people simply walking out of their homes is a major risk. But we take that risk every single day because we are gambling that day we may do something that changes our lives for the better. Risk is an essential part of the human condition, risk is the reason we came down from the trees and ran across the grasslands. Had we not taken that risk, we as a species would not have been able to accomplish all that we have today. Indeed sometimes the greatest risks are the most simple choices, that have major ripple effects across time. In my life, risk is just a simple matter of fact, my entire existence as a black man is always at risk. I was not raised in a way that allowed for me to be coddled or naive and expect to be fine. Every choice for me is a risk that I may succeed in a major move or fail. I take those risks because I desire more for myself and those that come after me. I make risky decisions in my personal and business life with the hope that I will learn something that will be beneficial for me either in the here and now or later down the road. If I did not take risks, Id be forced to conform to the labels the world would desire to place on me. In truth, that is not something I can afford to do. As a black man living in the United States, there are a million negative labels the world would deem to shackle to me. I take risks everyday to caste those labels away not because I care what the world says, but because I care about how I see myself and how my descendants will look to my legacy and if they can be inspired by it. I took the risk to make my photography hobby into a business, its an ongoing risk and so far its the greatest one I’ve taken and one I am the proudest of so far. I risk rejection when I submit a photo to a magazine, I risk rejection when I approach a model about a creative project, I risk financial ruin by choosing such a costly venture. However, the rewards by far are worth it to me, not just in terms of monetary gain, but in terms of experience, relationship building and creative collaboration.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
In my opinion what sets me apart from other photographers is the overall experience I like to provide my clients and models. I always have had a very active imagination so I am able to create scenes and concepts that really give my subjects the ability to have fun and also bask in their own creativity as well. I also attempt to get into the minds of those who I shoot as much as possible and form a bond with them. I love getting people to open up about themselves and allowing them to feel free to express themselves however they feel most comfortable in a shoot, if they have a naturally goofy personality be that, if they are naturally mysterious, I will capture that. The themes are something I attempt to always capture based of the individuals own personality. I am simply utilizing my camera to capture the essence of the soul. To get to where am I today professionally took a lot of determination. I still know I am not where I truly desire to be, however as I continue to strive to do so one of the biggest challenges to overcome is self-doubt and stay consistently motivated. As a photographer I often times do compare myself to more established colleagues both local and abroad. It is important for me to understand that I am not them and they are not me. Every photographer caters to certain people and have their own style. No one does me like me. Its my personal uniqueness that makes me stand out. Some of the key lessons that I learned so far is not be afraid to challenge yourself. There are many aspects to photography that I am still learning and although they can be intimidating, the ability to take them on is instrumental in becoming better at what I do. I still very much consider myself a student and by no means am I a master. Another lesson I have learned is to be bold and confident in my art. There cannot be room for self doubt. In truth there will not always be support for new ventures and you have to be your own fan and biggest supporter. I do not look for praise, and in truth I tend to shy away from too much adulation. What I want the world to know about my brand and story is that it is in a constant state of improving and growth. Every day is a new lesson for me, however by working with clients and my peers I am established a network to take things to greater heights. I have a strong passion for what I do, its always on my mind and in everything that I do. I do not believe in giving up. Its never an option for me. So to those who who follow my work and enjoy it, they will have the confidence of knowing to always expect more on the way as long as I draw breath.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My closest friends are creatives just like me so, I would definitely show them a good time by starting of in Las Olas. Numerous restaurants and interesting galleries it would really get things started for my friends trip. One of my favorite restaurants on the strip is Rocco’s Tacos, they have great drinks as well as awesome food. Guacamole is the highlight for me. Considering my best friend is a foodie she will enjoy her first day of the trip immediately. There are also great art galleries on the strip as well. I would also take a quick drive over to FAT Village, Fort Lauderdales’ art district. For night life I would take her to Hollywood Boulevard Historic Business District. During the night its a pretty fun place to be. Many restaurants and bars a good place to go on a nice walk. On the weekends you can take a glass blowing class, practice pottery making. There are many fun artistic activities to do there. If she is in a mood to really spend money and be fashionable we can take a drive all the way do to Miami’s Design District. There are many high end stores such as Fendi, Gucci, Balenciaga just to name a few. Its also aesthetically pleasing to the eye and quite beautifully designed. Your don’t necessarily have to spend cash here but you can spend a lot of time.
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 would love to dedicate my shoutout to my good friend Sophie Toussaint. She has been a constant source of inspiration and motivation for me. There are times where I doubt myself and some of my choices in terms of life and business, however she is always there for me to offer words of wisdom and to help me understand that I am more than worthy of my achievements and goals. Her friendship is one that I hope to carry with me for a lifetime and everyday I am thankful for her being in my life and helping through times of anxiety, stress and self-doubt. She also was one of the first people to work with me and help me to build the first steps in my creative and business journey in photography. I strive greatly to reciprocate the kind of friendship she has given me and the sheer radiance of support that only a true queen can put into a man. I will forever be in her debt and will always continue to be appreciative of her friendship, her vibe and light. Julie Chamberlain, I really appreciate her for getting into my first gallery in 2018, she knows me well as a hoarder of my art and was instrumental in getting me to share my creativity with the world. Marsha Chamberlain, her drive and determination to build her brand and business inspires me to keep going. Her Flight33 rumpunch is key on almost every shoot I do. I would also like to shoutout all those who took a gamble on me to bring their creative visions to life. Without them I would not continue to grow in this craft of mine nor strive to build a business dedicated to creating a WOW experience for my clients and giving them the kind of photos and experience they will cherish for a lifetime.
JLaw Inspired Images LLC
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