Welcome to the resplendent world of photographer Brandon Hicks where pulchritude and forthrightness hold hands providing undeniable proof of their union. There is no negating that his canvases are utterly striking in their own right, beauties that would dazzle in front of any novice photographer, however Brandon is no novice and the emotions he evokes through the eye of his camera is at the very least remarkable. One can’t help to think his talent has created some brilliant new idiom for the ‘come hither’ look as he takes the familiar to breathtaking heights. So lose your way into Brandon Hicks’ alluring world and you might find that losing your way is just as good as being found.
Tell us where you are from, the early years of your childhood and what influenced your direction towards Photography?
I am currently based in Los Angeles. I was born here but I grew up in Lancaster, CA. I’ve always wanted to be an artist growing up and used to write my own stories, draw my own super heroes and create comic books. I would create these comic books with a few blank sheets of paper then stapled them together so art of all sorts. I fell in love with photography in my late teens. What I love the most about photography is that photos really last forever. You can go back in time with photos and relive the moments when you were a child, a teenager, etc.
Your first memory of your first photograph?
My first portraits were in 2008 of my friend, Dino. He’s a rapper and he needed photos for his album art plus promotion. I wasn’t even a photographer at the time and I didn’t even have a camera! I used Dino’s point and shoot camera, he had a vision for what he wanted and so we did it. The pictures came out really great and there was a lot of positive feedback from people about the photos. I felt good about the feedback so I took more photos of people and naturally gained a passion for my new found hobby. I literally haven’t stopped since then and was able to turn my passion into a career.
Were your family and friends always supportive of your work?
Yes! I believe thats what really pushed me. My friends & family loved my work and like I said I wasn’t even a photographer, I just did a favor for a friend. I didn’t think I was the right guy for the job, but when I got the positive feedback afterwards I thought, “Alright, I should give this a shot.”
How long are your working intervals before you need a break?
When it comes to shooting I can shoot all day as long as there is water and food around. When it comes to post production I like to edit for about two hours, break for thirty minutes then repeat. I shoot on average three times a week. I don’t think I’ve actually taken a real break from photography since I’ve started.
How do you determine what will be your next piece or any practices, rituals or a process that inspires the direction of future work?
I watch a lot of photographer documentaries from people like Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and Richard Avedon. These guys are the greatest photographers ever to me. When you see a photo of theirs you know they took it. I strive to be that great someday and that is what inspires my work.
What would you say to those who don’t have the positive reinforcement of family or friends when pursuing a passion?
If you are in love with what you do at this present moment then I would say to keep going. What really matters is how you feel about it. If you believe in your heart that you can make this work no matter what circumstances come your way then there’s nothing that can stop you. Nobody in this world can tell you what you can’t do. Respect people’s opinion but your happiness matters at the end of the day.
If you could could spend the weekend with any artist (past or present) who would it be and why?
It would have to be Helmut Newton, no doubt. I would’ve loved to assist on set for a weekend. I love the mystery of his photographs, how he lights his subjects, and his overall eye for photography. You can’t help but to look at his photos and think, “What was going on here?”
If you could only choose one subject to shoot for the rest of your life, who would it be?
I used to never post any photos of myself. I’m 6’5 with long dreadlocks and black. So when I book shoots with people and approach them in person their body language always reads, “Why is this tall dude walking up to me?” Their body language is almost scared. It’s funny to me because I couldn’t understand why everyone did that but then someone finally told me, “You never post any photos of you! I didn’t know what you looked like!” Now there’s a photo of me so I don’t get that reaction anymore.
Set the mood of your work space; do you listen to music, enjoy silence, turn off your phone etc…
Music is a must during shoots and post production. I like a lot of instrumentals from people like Afta-1, J Dilla, Madlib and Soulection radio while working.
Current music playlist?
Theres nothing at the moment that I have in heavy rotation but I’m always listening to Soulection radio on Soundcloud. There’s 200 plus episodes and each episode is 2 hours or more of great music of all vibes.
What is the best piece of advice or life lesson you have learned?
Best lesson I have learned is that if you keep pushing through you’ll get to where you want to go. Stay inspired, keep working and just love what you do. If you love what you do the money will follow and you’ll naturally make a living just being great at what you do. There will be setbacks, it won’t be a smooth road but every challenge is just another obstacle. Every obstacle you get over gets you closer to your dreams. Believe in yourself, keep the end goal in mind and keep going!
*Erin Darcel Coleman
I’m currently working on my first photo book and a gallery show possibly in April.
Anything else you like to add?
If you are reading this and you have seen my work then I want to thank you. I really appreciate the love and support you show me. This really fuels me to keep going towards my dreams especially when I’m feeling down. This journey is not an easy one and there’s times when I doubt myself and my craft. Positive reinforcement from friends and family really help. I don’t take any of this for granted so thank you!
To view more of Brandon Hicks stunning work visit blog.brandonhicksphotography.com