I’ve been taking a lot of chances lately since I moved to LA but my shoot with Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolBoy Q was probably the chanciest chance of them all. Here are a few reasons: I wasn’t even supposed to be there, I only had 5 minutes and for the first time ever I decided to use a medium format film camera. The hell was I thinking.
So, I was hired by Monster Headphones to capture some images at the Day 1 taping of the BET Cypher (an event where different rap crews spit their best bars over a non-descript hip hop beat and its played during the BET Awards show). The Day 1 roster was filled with a lot of fresh, new talent but it wasn’t until I saw the Day 2 roster that I knew I had to be there. The Day 2 crew was the TDE camp comprised of Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolBoy Q, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock. Kendrick, of course, is the most popular but over the last year I’ve had all of their albums, mixtapes, EP’s and features on repeat. This was pretty much my dream shoot so I had to make it happen… and I had to make it happen on a medium format camera.
Why film? Well, there is nothing more timeless than Black & White film. It has a realness that you just can’t get from even the best Digital SLR and I knew that was the look I wanted for this shoot.
To make a long story short, I used a little charm, a FAMU connect and whole lot of persistence to get my 5 minutes with Kendrick on Day 2. I was there, he was there, the film was loaded but I was nervous as hell! I rarely get nervous on shoots anymore, even if I’m a huge fan of the subject, but I was shaking in my boots because I had never used the Mamiya 645 system in my life. In this quick moment of fear I decided to just boss up and trust that that it would work out. Luckily it did (with a few triple exposure mistakes) and I even got a chance to sit front row at his concert later that night.
Two things I learned: 1.) Waiting 2 days for some film to be developed is an agony I don’t think I’ll ever get used to. 2.) ScHoolBoy Q is my spirit animal.
Check out the pics plus mistakes here: http://eltonanderson.com/black-hippy