How did you get started? Tell us your story!
My name is Nehemiah Wilson, and I am a 19-year-old photographer and digital artist. From the day I received my first iPod Touch as a gift for my eleventh birthday, I've had a desire to create stunning visual art. Whether that was creating silly skits videos with my siblings or taking pictures of whatever I found appealing on family vacation, I was always involved in something creatively stimulating.
On my thirteenth birthday, my parents bought me my first smartphone and I couldn't have been more ecstatic about it. Most people would be excited about the calling or texting capabilities, but I was most excited about the exceptional camera quality. From that point on, I continued refining my creative eye for photography through the camera lenses of various smartphones I acquired. It wasn't until the summer of 2017 that I began truly challenging myself with photography. Wanting to share my work with the world, I made a VSCO account during a family reunion trip to Atlanta. I posted pictures of whatever I could find in my environment. Buildings. Streets. Signs. Bathroom faucets. Table centerpieces. Light fixtures. I loved the inspiration I was able to gain by scrolling through the VSCO app. Seeing the creativity in others drove me to experiment with very abstract and unconventional photos (like taking a picture of a bathroom faucet!). For the next couple years, I challenged myself through mobile photography to create art that I loved.
As a student at Georgia Tech, I had the unique opportunity to intern with Google in New York City in the summer of 2019. After pushing the limits of mobile photography for several years, I decided it was finally time to buy a DSLR camera to continue my creative growth. The vastness of opportunity in NYC coupled with my strong passion for photography allowed me to reach creative heights I never imagined possible. I was out almost every weekend honing my street photography skills around the city or refining my portrait photography skills at various meetups organized by local creatives. During this time, I also invested in Lightroom and Photoshop to learn how to edit photos, and I posted them to an Instagram account I created for my photography work. This account quickly gained traction as I was meeting and connecting with people around the city. From my time in New York City and through various opportunities here in Atlanta, I built my portfolio and created my brand shotByNehemiah.
What is your experience in the music industry? Do you have any formal training or schooling? If not, are you self-taught and how did you learn your craft? What is your learning style? What are your favorite educational resources (ex. college, Youtube, etc.)?
I don’t have any formal artistic training! I find it ironic that I am involved in something artistic as I would not have considered myself creative until picking up a camera almost a year ago. The primary means through which I learn is YouTube and trial and error. Whenever I have a new creative idea that I don’t know how to bring to life, I’ll scour the internet until I find the correct tools to accomplish my goal. Because Photoshop has been out for what feels like forever, there’s a plethora of resources on the Internet to learn everything I need to know about the program. Overtime, this process has helped me become proficient in photography and digital art.
What are some credits and achievements that you have? Who have you worked with? Who have you collaborated with?
I haven’t officially done work for any musical artists yet, but I have taken my camera to plenty of concerts where I have shot some of my favorite artists. Through a good friend of mine, I’ve been connected to creatives and executives in the Christian Hip Hop industry and have had opportunities to shoot notable artists like Lecrae, 1K Phew, nobigdyl, and WHATUPRG.
As for achievements, in the month of April, I participated in a photo editing contest hosted by a group of Instagram’s top photographers. Because of the COVID-19 situation, they released some of their favorite photos to the public to be edited. Out of 1000+ entries, my photo edit won 1st place for its creativity and detail. What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered or faced in this industry?
There have been plenty of evolving problems over the course of my artistry, but the biggest challenge I am currently facing is staying true to myself as an artist. In the age of social media, I have a strong desire to be noticed by the Instagram community that I have found myself compromising authentic art for what will help grow my page and bring in more business. I first picked up a camera to create from a place of passion and authenticity. As my page gains more attention, my goal is to communicate a thought or feeling through my work. This can’t be accomplished if I am creating for the purpose of getting attention. My current challenge has been to create the art that I feel compelled to create regardless of who rocks with it or not.
What are some of your goals this year?
One of the main goals I’d love to accomplish is to release an online portrait editing course. I have already launched one-third of the curriculum in a private lesson format, but over the summer, I would like to record a whole course on how to professionally edit portrait photos in Photoshop! Another goal I have is to develop an artistic style that is unique to me. This is sort of an unrealistic goal as it can’t really be rushed or forced. I am more so hoping that I will develop my own style that I am proud of by the end of the year. Who are the top 3 artists, producers, engineers, videographers, or others you would want to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?
I love this question! I get asked this semi-often, and I’ve given a different answer every time. It’s been interesting to see how my inspirations change over time! The first artist I’d love the opportunity to work with is Marty of the Social Club Misfits (@deathbymartymar). This dude is one of the illest minds when it comes to creative direction and marketing, not to mention he makes dope music. He’s an incredibly gifted and creative person, and I could learn a lot about how to grow artistically and professionally through working with him. The second artist I’d love to work with is photographer and digital artist Temi Coker (@temi.coker). Out of all of the artists I’ve followed over the years, this man’s work has always stuck out in my head. His creativity is out of this world, and his style is completely unique from anything I currently see on Instagram. As an aspiring artist, I desire to have my own unique style. Temi Coker has that, and I would love the opportunity to learn from him as he is one of my original inspirations. Lastly, I’d be incredibly honored to do some work with Spiff Ellis (@kingspiff_) the artist. By scrolling through his Instagram profile, you can quickly get a sense of his authenticity. Spiff makes an effort to communicate his soul through his art, and it definitely shows in his work. As I mentioned earlier, my overall goal is to convey a thought or emotion through my work, and Spiff Ellis does this phenomenally. Working with him would give me a glimpse into how to do this myself. Who are your favorite directors? Who do you want to do a music video with?
Man, the most impressive director out right now is Mikael Coleman (@rawmixter)! He’s a one-man army that directs, shoots, and edits his own music videos. If I had the opportunity to work with any director on a music video, it would definitely be him. I encourage any artist needing some video work done to check him out! What kind of equipment do you have and why?
This is such a unique question! The only camera gear I shoot with is the camera I bought almost a year ago: the Nikon D5600 and a 50mm f/1.8 lens. I have used this gear for every portrait shoot I have done for the past year, and it is my favorite for many reasons. Without getting into the technical details, this camera and lens does everything I need, from portraits to video work. It’s incredibly versatile! Other than that, I have some stabilizers (steadicam and tripods), some light reflectors, and a pocket LED light that has proved useful for many situations!
What is your creative process like?
That depends! If we are talking about a client shoot, my whole goal is to make my client feel as comfortable as possible during the shoot. I believe that if the client is comfortable, they allow their true personality to shine through, which makes the photos look more authentic. I usually do this by talking to the client before the shoot to get to know them or by giving direction for poses and such during the shoot. For personal projects, I usually have some idea inspired by a life situation, a movie, song, or any other form of media. Recently, I have been creating most of my photos in Photoshop, so I will grab some stock images from Google to incorporate in the final photo. From there I will spend hours putting together an image to bring the vision to life. Sometimes this process includes watching YouTube to learn a new skill, trying a bunch of different stock images to find a best fit, or deleting the image entirely because it didn’t turn out the way I imagined. Through each photo I create, I learn new skills or refine old skills that make me a better artist.
What’s your favorite go-to order?
My girlfriend and I have a tradition of going to Cookout a little too often. I’ll usually order a cajun chicken sandwich, cajun fries for the side, and an M&M milkshake for my drink!