Miami’s Creative Culture Through the Lens of Devin Christopher: Digging Through the Greats
My mother went to school for photography, and I saw that she was really into it while she was in school. That made me want to try it as a medium, and I would borrow her film cameras and just shoot. I’d shoot model cars and toys and stuff, which turned into shooting actual cars, then people, and it all escalated. It’s the one medium I haven’t let go of.
I like the landscape of Miami. I’m a big fan of how light works—highlights, shadows, and stuff. I always liked how much direct sunlight Miami gets when it’s early in the morning. I always like shooting around that time and soaking in that atmosphere.
Go into photography for the reasons that you want to go into it for. Then once you’ve found what you have an interest in, it’s okay to stay focused and sharpen that thing, rather than spread your focus on everything else. The Internet force-feeds you thousands of images a day, so it’s important to not get carried away with everything you see and get inspired by all those things, but instead to focus on what you have yourself and make something of that.
Steven A. Clark
This is a photo of Steven A. Clark, who’s a singer. We wanted to shoot in Miami, he was doing some promo stuff for his record, and I really wanted to be somewhere that focused on just him. A lot of times in Miami, it’s kind of hard to do that because we’re not really elevated. There aren’t hills or mountains. But I found this crazy stairway and I made it so you can only really see him. Direction is a huge part of photos for me—I like when lines take you to a certain point in a picture. In this one, he’s in the middle and the shadows play around him.
Rich Wilkerson, Jr.
I think it’s really interesting to capture someone in the middle of the moment. In this case, he was in the middle of talking to his crowd. That was the one second he caught me, and everything lines up. A lot of people work hard to get to the point where they can speak to hundreds of people, and this is him in the middle of that.
The second photo is after his sermon. This is him in a nutshell. He’s really easy to approach. Again, light to me is really important. How light is on a subject can give you an idea of what that person is like. This was a really crazy moment with what was going on with me in my career. We got to actually talk about stuff. His job is to express the ability that people have themselves.
I do a lot of men’s fashion stuff. One of the ongoing projects I’ve had is with Stray Rats, and with them I like to focus on the male subject, doing things that are kind of funny or witty but not necessarily a format for male fashion photography. Typically it’s all about what they’re wearing and how they’re wearing it, focusing on being able to see the whole design, and things like that. I like to manipulate photos in a way that you can still see what they’re wearing, but it’s taking your attention from being entirely on what they’re wearing. The images take shapes of themselves, instead of just focusing only on the clothes.
This is a recent project I did, and again, I was trying to play with light and color. We wanted to capture this rapper—who’s doing a lot of things for his city and who is being recognized a lot of places—in his element, without looking like we were trying to capture him. We’re observing him and his entourage in their environment. This is his house and his whole hangout area—he even has fan art up on the walls. I like to play with subjects in a way that shapes them a certain way, but it’s still organic to the story. For the group photo, in order to have no distractions, we needed to get on the roof of the house, and they were down for it. It was hilarious getting everyone down. They even called the cops on us!
This is a friend of mine, Julian, who’s also the owner of Stray Rats. I wanted to get a photo of him deep in thought, and you can see his curious face. This side of the bridge is not the commercial side—most people come to South Beach where the other side of the bridge is in the background, but he’s from this side and we wanted to capture that.