Talk about growing up in Bed Stuy. What made basketball so special?
Basketball in NYC in general was - and still is - everywhere and in every borough. From Brooklyn to the Bronx, this game and culture breathes in here. From the playground to high schools to college to the pros, the energy that the people in this city gives the game is like no other.
Growing up between Bed Stuy and East NY, I got to witness folks take this game and culture to another level. From the music, to the trash talk, to the style of play: it was energetic the whole way. You even saw that in colleges like Seton Hall and St. Johns, all the way to the NY Knicks in their crazy run in the 1990s.
When did you start as a photographer? What were some highlights early in your career?
I started shooting professionally in 2012 after I came home from the Marines. I had no time to mess around, so I hit the ground running to make this art my livelihood. I'm a very determined individual.
The biggest highlight of my career has been being able to make it as a black man working in this sport. There aren't many black people working as photographers in professional basketball. It’s something I want to change going forward. When I look on the baseline, I rarely see black photographers and that needs to change. I can't be one of the few.
Another highlight has been taking my work in streetball and transforming that into working with clients like Nike, Adidas, And1, and newspapers while still taking pictures at many streetball courts in NYC.
What is so special to you about NYC streetball? What is your favorite league to shoot at?
NYC streetball is very intimate. It’s basketball in its rawest form; loud and in your face. There’s nothing like the whole hood coming out on a cool summer night, drinking, gambling on games, rap blaring through big ass speakers, weed smoke filling the air and the best hoopers in the city throwing down.
The atmosphere and energy matches any NBA game in the country. You might even have an NBA player or two, or several All Americans, come play in these games.
For me, my favorite league to take photos at is at Gersh Park in East NY. It represents that exact energy I’m talking about in this city. It’s almost like going to a Knicks game nowadays. Mad people come from all over Brooklyn by any means necessary to get that experience.
Shooting the Knicks was high up on your bucket list as a photographer. Talk about your experience shooting on the baseline this season.
Photographing the Knicks has been the best experience; the crazy season with the run this squad is on, taking photos of the players individually and collectively, and getting to know these guys. This was high up on my bucket list of things to photograph because being a New York City native, you grow up a fan of the Knicks, the Yankees and/or the NY Mets. I would love to work with this franchise more in the future.
Knicks are on a roll right now, what are you looking forward to most with the playoffs on the horizon?
With the playoffs on the horizon for the Knicks, I want to see Julius Randle and Derrick Rose really get busy. I want to see Quickely and Obi Toppin really show out and I want this squad to make a deep run in the playoffs and catch this whole league by surprise. I like chaos.