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Shooting Rappers on The Combat Jack Show and Lurking Through Bedstuy: Bryon Summers, Digging Through the Greats

Each week, Green Label invites a visionary photographer, filmmaker, designer or artist to dig through their folios and tell the story of their favorite works. This is: Bryon Summers.

I’ve been into photography since I was 14. My father’s an artist, and there was a class offered in my high school, so around that time is when I started exploring my interest in the subject.

A friend of mine introduced me to one of the co-hosts of the The Combat Jack Show, Premium Pete. Just from hanging out with him, one thing led to another, and I started documenting all the shows.

The whole experience with the podcast has been dope. Going to a studio session with someone like Ice T is crazy. He’s about my dad’s age, so hearing him talk is like listening to my uncle speak. He has a bunch of cool stories about things that my dad was doing as well, so I can relate to that. It’s always awesome to overhear those conversations.

Combat and Pete are around the same age, so seeing their enthusiasm for people like Ice T coming in, it’s the same as when I see J. Cole or Big K.R.I.T. come in. It’s a good feeling seeing someone who you listen to and can relate to.

It’s important to not be a fly on the wall. It’s always cool getting approval from someone you look up to. When Big K.R.I.T. came in and saw my setup, I showed him an example of a finished product: a picture of Ice T I’d shot using the same lighting, backdrop and equipment. His reaction was just like, “You got this from that!?” That showed that he really liked what I was putting out, which was really inspiring.

I also have this series called Portrait Walk, which started as an exercise to test shoot and location scout. It was really just me getting out there and exploring different areas, and after a while, it started to develop into a full project. It’s easy to take a photo of a person in any old background, but it’s more compelling when the environment is reflective of the subject’s personality. That’s what the series is all about.

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