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VNDL:  Describe your work/process

AK: I like to shoot people… Sometimes it’s my friends out at night, a celebrity portrait, a tatted up Santa or an old lady walking the street of the UES. I like to capture people.  That is what interests me the most. Ever since the first photo I remember taking.  I grew up in France and it was a photo of this lady walking under a bridge late at night in Paris. Something about that moment felt genuine. I didn’t know who she was, or where she was going but I wanted to know and I’ve never stopped wanting to know.

I think my process varies with what I’m shooting but more often than not I like to create some sort of a relationship with my subject. Particularly if I’m shooting a celebrity portrait, I’m always looking to capture something that is beyond their public persona or photograph them in a way they haven’t necessarily been seen before. I like the photo in between photos. It can be that tiny window where you get an insight into someone’s personality or that moment where you ask yourself, okay what’s happening here? There are many things that come into play when I’m making a portrait – composition, lighting, color etc. but ultimately one of the things I really love is when I share that genuine moment with my subject. It’s something that can’t be recreated.

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What have you been up to recently? (trips, projects, work?)

I photographed the cover of SLAM Magazine with Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City. I’m a huge basketball fan and I grew up reading SLAM so having the opportunity to shoot my first cover for them was really cool. Russell was dope and I couldn’t be happier with the work we did (Thanks Melissa!). I also just shot Flatbush Zombies for a feature in XXL Magazine. That was a fun shoot. They are bananas, it was their first studio shoot and the photos we made are dope. I also published a personal series entitled Youth Fades. It’s about growing older in an urban environment… The Cities we built and live in will outlive us. Their landscape might be changing but they will outlive us. The photos we take will outlive us. The art we make will outlive us. Youth is constantly slipping despite our best efforts to contain it and it’s that feeling that I want to convey through those photos. It’s a little somber but I like it. There’s a certain nostalgia to it. I will keep on evolving the series and the work as I grow older. Hopefully I’ll get to see 80 one day and have all these photos to look at. That would be nice. Let’s meet again in 50 years?

I also keep on photographing my outings in New York in my night section. It’s fun, friends, good-looking friends, glamorous friends, lovers, bloody karaoke parties etc.  And even selfies sometimes! I love selfies.  I’m starting to do a bunch of video work as well as a DP and a director with my good friend Kris Merc. I worked with De La Soul on their latest music video coming out soon. It’s directed by Lenny Bass and Kris Merc – It’s the first song they are releasing in 9 years so I’m fucking excited about that. These guys started making hip-hop when I was 4 years old. It was kind of nuts to get to work with them.

ClydeRestaurant_web ConverseFuck3Favorite Quote:

‘You don’t need proof when you have instinct’ – Joe Cabot, Reservoir Dogs

IMG_0811 IMG_1316Advice to other creatives/aspiring artists:

Get out there, show your work and meet people. If you don’t do it, someone else will and that person might be less talented than you are. You don’t want that to happen. That would be terrible.

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What are you currently listening to/ reading/ watching?

Listening to a bunch of stuff on Spotify. Kavinsky’s album ‘Outrun’ is dope. I love Atoms for Peace (Thom Yorke’s latest project) debut album too. I saw them live and took some photos for Rolling Stone a few weeks back. It was pretty fucking cool. Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T, Fashawn, Joey Badass and Flatbush Zombies on the hip-hop front. The Tron Legacy soundtrack, The Battlestar Galactica Soundtrack, Nirvana, Metallica, Mogwai, Daft Punk, Justice to name you a few regulars.  Watching Game of Thrones Season 3 episode 2. I love that show.  Reading Heavy Liquid by Paul Pope. It’s a futuristic urban comic book set in downtown New York.

IMG_2600_700 IMG_2613_700 IMG_7573Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’ll be 34. Still in New York, still shooting. Bigger and better things.

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Who is or where does your inspiration come from? Any emerging artists to watch out for?

A lot of it comes from movies, music, paintings, the work my peers do. Watch out for the work of Rich Tu, Kris Merc, Andrew Maruska, Meron Menghistab, Mohamed Sadek and Julie Glassberg.

R3hab_BOOK_webAhmed Klink is a photographer from NYC.

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