Last couple of weeks have been extrememly hectic, but I am very delighted with the latest developments for Inspire MySmile and all will be revealed soon.
As you all know I am very fond of all things creative, especially art and photography.
Inspire Mysmile caught up with the brilliant digital artist Simeon Thaw, who has a great eye for detail and is waiting for the world to catch on to his creativity.
Who is Simeon Thaw and what is your creative skill?
I am a digital artist who grew up in inner city Birmingham. I have been a photographer for 10 years. I specialise in photographing people, wedding photography and fashion. I try not to label and limit myself or let people define me as just being a wedding photographer. I also enjoy capturing urban or rural landscapes and live events.
I consider myself to be a world class photographer I am just waiting for the world to catch on!!
How did you get into photography and was it something you loved growing up?
Growing up, some of my early happy childhood memoires are off sitting down with my mother and brothers in the living room and getting the old photos out and passing them around, which was always a joyous occasion ! So I believe it was there where my connection with photography began. .
I got into photography by following my passion for art. I used to draw and paint a lot, as this was something that I was really good at and enjoyed doing so. I studied art & design at Matthew Bolton College.
There was a teacher at called Carl Hoply (I believe that is his surname), he basically gave us students a art’s project and I chose photography. I would go into Birmingham City centre and approach strangers and photographed them, at work, in the street and on the move etc. When I printed the images off in black and white and brought them back into college for Carl, he absolutely loved them, he enlarged the photos, printed them off and displayed them along the corridor of the art department in the college. It gave me great a sense of pride to see my images displayed this way, having that bit of encourage was pivotal for my development as a photographer, so I will remain eternally thankful to Carl for that moment.
From there I went on to university, I studied art again not photography, but they did have a photography studio on the premises and students could borrow the universities camera during holidays! I use to use their studio and bring people on to the university grounds for photo shoots, my most memorable photoshoots from that time was of Pato Banton and the Grave Yard shift workers!
When was the first time that you felt you have connected with other artists?
Whilst at university we would go to art galleries, I never really rated the exhibitions because I could not connect with the work or the artists. However one day we visited a photography exhibition by Birmingham photographer Vanley Burke. which were images from the 80’s of the inner city Birmingham, I instantly connected with his work, that exhibition made me realize that I one day I would like my images exhibited in an art gallery.
Using one word, how would you describe your photography and why?
“Story” because my images tell stories, I am a story teller! They say a photo say’s a 1000 words!!
What’s the best compliment someone has ever given your images, and how did it make you feel?
I have had lots of compliments regarding my photography work over the years; the best compliment is tears, eye water!!!
I worked in a photography studio and it was not uncommon for people to cry during the viewing of their images, just knowing that an image that I had captured touched others to the point of tears, I always found that spiritually rewarding. Also after photographing weddings and the family members are appreciative of the work and effort I have put in and they go out their way to thank me and show respect, I get a great feeling like this is what I was born to do! One of my favourites quotes is “You find yourself in the service of others” that quote resonates within me. I remember when I photographed a friends wedding, he’s a big muscular serious guy, I gave him his images and I had the pleasure of watching the images with him and his wife, half way through he started crying, he got emotional, he truly loved his family and the images reminded him of those feelings! To witness that with my own eyes, I understood the importance of my work and the feeling I got from that you can not buy!! It’s something higher.
Which do you prefer, club nights photography or weddings and why?
I love both, but I prefer wedding photography, its harder work and more challenging however it is spiritually rewarding to capture the images of the best day of a couples life together! My wedding photography images mean more; they have more value and substance.
Club night photography is cool, everyone’s drinking and having fun etc – it’s a great environment to meet people and socialize, and peacock (show off yourself), in that kind of environment you will always get great photos because people bring there guard down, which enables natural shots. People like those club images but understandingly people tend not to value them in the same regard.
The older I am getting the more I understand that club world is superficial and the real quality of life, (for me) is time spent with your family and those that you love and wedding photography is all about capturing love and family!! It’s a whole different energy, and that kind of energy spiritually elevates me higher, I feel good to know I have captured those memories for a family forever.
What has been your most favourite place or most highlighted moment?
My favourite place has to be when me, my brother and a friend took a travel holiday to America; we rented a car and drove through the east coast of America, right up to Canada. We stopped in different cities over night, we stayed in the dodgiest hotels and hostels ever!! I took some cool photos and grew as a person from the trip; (I will be ready to make those images public very soon.)
That whole experience inspired me to want to do more world travel photography, this year I am going to Cuba, I can not wait to let loose with my Camera!!!
In regards to highlights, I have been blessed to have had plenty of moments of glory, and god willing there will be plenty more. The moments that stand out in my mind in particular are when I photograghesJay Z, Usain Bolt as well photographing and meeting the late great Amy Winehouse. The the images I had taken of them were published in the newspaper and I always get a buzz when I see my name printed as the photographer.
Damon Dash has recently been in the media for some comments he made on a Radio interview, the public were slating his message because of what he said and the way he delivered his message. The public were saying he was arrogant.
A few years ago I had pleasure of photographing him, I felt his vibe through my camera lens and he was cool to me, he came across as a giving person, he had the New York swag going on but he never had a big time Charlie attitude. He posed for me & gave me the time of day (so be it few seconds lol) but he made a good impression on me! I even managed to get back stage with him when he did the ROC music seminar in London,.
I got in the lift with him and rapper Noreagea, I had no business being in the lift, but my camera gave me the access, so I just jumped in the lift anyway, so there’s me in the lift with the ROC, going up lol !! I was a fan of the ROC movement so as an up and coming photographer that was definitely a highlight!
Moments like that is why I love what I do, the blessings just keep coming and I am very grateful, I do not take nothing for granted. Photography is not a job to me it’s my passion and I am blessed to be able to be doing something that I LOVE.
Who, what would you say inspires you?
My mother inspires me, she is a strong, amazing woman that has been through a lot and managed to raise 3 boys alone. I get my mental strength from my mother. My grand father was also a positive male role model in my life.
Away from home, I’d say people like Will Smith and 50 Cent inspire me, I admire and respect there mind set and work rate. I was listening to a audio book by 50 which gave me the courage to leave my job and set up my own business, S4 photography.
Photographer Ansel Adams, he was a pioneer and an amazing photographer, who possessed a different level of commitment and determination to capture the great out doors of America, he enhanced images the hard and true way before Photoshop even existed. Gordon Parks he is another amazing photographer that inspires me, I love how he used his camera to over come adversity and make a way for himself with a camera, especially during the difficult times of the civil rights movements.
Birmingham photographer Vanley Burke also a great inspiration. Vanley’s book “A Retrospective” is the first photography book I ever brought, his exhibition made me realise that my photography subject matter at the time also had a place.
Where can people contact you?
Facebook : S4 photography by Simeon Thaw
Instagram : @Simeonthaw
Twitter : mrs4photography
My websites are currently under construction, it is amazing how much work goes into a website when you do it right – but they are coming!!!! I have a few things planned for the future, that I am working on and putting together, building your vision takes time. Watch this space.
To everyone that has ever supported and encouraged, much love and respect to you,