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Digging Through The Greats: @byfoley

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: Ben Foley.

My parents pulled me out of school halfway through sixth grade. The day they pulled me out, my dad got me a Macbook loaded with everything from Photoshop to GarageBand. I pretty much spent all of my time immersing myself in the various creative digital platforms on the Mac. I discovered a real passion for visual arts and music. I started shooting video when I was 12 with my dad’s friend who did the local CBS Sports. After that I got a camera and an internship doing video editing and music production for a media company called Porterhouse, doing stuff for everybody from ESPN to NBC to Hasbro Games. The day I turned 16 they gave me a full time job.

At this point, someone from Emerson College saw one of the videos I made and offered me enrollment in one of their programs. My teacher asked everybody to do a four-minute video for a project and I asked her if I could do something music related. I ended up Photoshopping a student press pass and getting it printed and laminated at the print store for $3. I used it to get past all the security at the Boston Urban Music Festival, which had about 15 people on the lineup, and the headliner was Mac Miller. I ended up linking with Mac’s crew and got asked to come on stage and shoot for them. After hanging with Mac post-show, I went back to my dorm room and put my project together, submitted it the next day, and dropped out the day after that to pursue my passion.

The coming months were crazy. I was getting calls to shoot everybody, from J. Cole to Chris Webby. That was also around the time I met Mike [Stud]. From there it was kind of a snowball effect. I hit the road for the first time, doing a couple dates with Kid Ink on his tour. Since then I’ve toured with a bunch of artists like Waka Flocka, Cisco Adler and Mod Sun, Huey Mack, and Mike.

I met Mike Stud the day before he released his first mixtape, Toast to Tommy, in Boston. He was playing this thing called College Fest, which was like a college fair and music festival. I ended up shooting him and getting the chance to talk to him afterwards. We linked on Facebook and kept in contact. Six months later, he hit me to come to New York to film a music video for him. Since then we’ve gone on three national tours, I’ve designed all of his merchandise and album covers, amongst all of the behind-the-scenes creative stuff. Now, I’m 19, we recently filmed a reality TV series, and we currently live together and are working on a clothing line, Freshletes, in LA.

Networking is everything. Make sure the right people see you enter the room and the right people see you leave.

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