We had the good fortune of connecting with Taylor “Awqua” Mckie and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Taylor “Awqua”, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
It all began with me seeing the talent I held within myself. At times as an Artist, I felt as if my work wasn’t worth sharing or a skill to share with others. But as I stayed consistent with it and saw how each and every photo improved, I came to the understanding that if I continued, kept a tunnel vision and an open mind I would be successful regardless of whatever negative thoughts may come to mind. Sometimes it’s hard, but the self gratification that comes with noticing my own improvement, is enough to keep me going.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My photos are something that I believe reflects both what I see and feel. The first camera received, I rushed to use family and friends as models to emulate photos from editorials I admired. But as I creatively progressed, I came to the realization that I wanted those who saw my photos to feel the nostalgia and electricity I felt once I hit the shutter button. As of now, my work has darker tones and sophistication, as opposed to the bright and colorful style I would primarily aim for a couple of years back. The darker tones and need for sophistication has reflected my progress as an artist. I feel as if these two new elements have allowed me to explore more into the foundation of the “perfect photo”, such as composition.
What sets me apart from others, I would say, is capturing my models from an intimate view. It can be daunting for some to step in front of the camera, myself included. So, I always make an effort to build a line of communication and trust with my model in order for them to emulate a moment of comfort and truth to who they are.

Currently, I am most proud of my photo of Michele Lamy in i-D Magazine. I’ve always loved magazines and finding new ones to immerse myself into. In 2017, I bought my first issue of i-D and from there, I knew that it was something I wanted to be apart of. To couple this with the fact that I was able to capture a photo of a fashion icon, has had me floating since I saw my name on their website. Five years later, it is now on my resume.

The number one lesson I have come to learn is to never give up. I know, it becomes redundant when you hear it from everyone, but when you start to be your own motivator, it starts to take a new meaning. I’ve met goals that I used to think were unattainable. Impossible sometimes. But when I started to take steps closer and closer to my ultimate goals, I keep reminding myself to not give up, because if I did, I would be further and not closer to who I know I can become. There’s a saying I say to myself as well, “Ground yourself in purpose”. To want something is one thing, but to put it in action is another. When I embody my ambition and allow it to give me that drive, I know that giving up isn’t any time soon.

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?
If we were looking to have a great time, I would say Bodega on the Beach. Great music coupled with a pretty decent happy hour never upsets anyone, especially with the great prices on drinks. If we wanted to have a wine down with some great food and vibes, its straight to the Red Rooster. I love The Red Rooster, not only for its amazing choice of food and drinks, but also their representation of the black history of Miami. In terms of museums and things to do, the Rubell is a must. The collection at the Rubell is something special for Miami, with the works of Amoako Boafo, Kehinde Wiley and Yayoi Kusama, you’re definitely leaving with a creative spark.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to take this moment to shoutout two people who have been instrumental in my journey. Beginning with my boyfriend Dimithry Victor, he’s always been a beam of light for me when I need a little pick me up and simply someone who I can truly depend on. As an artist himself, he gives valuable feedback and critiques whenever I may need an extra eye on a project.

Secondly, is my cousin Herbert Felix Jr. . Growing up, he was the first person I saw who took a camera and made art and not just memories. From there, he has been a mentor who has introduced me to a knowledge about photography that I couldn’t receive elsewhere. With his guidance, I have become a photographer that I used to dream of being.

And last and certainly not least, my parents.  I am beyond blessed to have them in my life, with them always there to give me advice, an occasional critique or simply their love.  After giving me my first camera, they unintentionally gave me the vessel to my dreams.

Website: Awquakiss.com

Instagram: awquakiss

Image Credits
Model credits: 1) Angel Ilona (@fathalleberry) 2) Michele Lamy 3) Dimithry Victor (@dimithryvictor) 4) Rose Alexis (@spazgyal) 5) Zienelle (@dirtypunkrat) 6) Abigail Morales (abigailm0rales)

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.