J.HAR Industry Icon Review: Taj Washington

Give Me One Shot

by Jackson Harlem

Name: Taj Washington
Age: 31
Hometown: New York, NY
Years of Industry Experience: 5

What is Taj Washington Photography and how did you enter in the art of photography?

Well, in High School, I kind of “fell” into it. And when I discovered it, there was no turning back. I love the fact that it is something where you have the ability to capture a moment in time and make it last forever. That is what I strive to do with my work.

Who are some of the industry professionals/ companies you’ve worked with in the past?

Dress for Success, Diageo Plc and the Lorenzo Jackson Foundation.

Is there one photograph that is forever imprinted into your mind?

Yes, it would be the shot of my friend, Wayne, wearing nothing but swim trunks in a glass phone booth in New York. The stares he got from the socialites were insane. LOL.

What other photographers or artists are you a huge fan of (past or present)?

David LaChappelle, Steven Miesel, Annie Leibowitz and Michael David Adams.

What makes your photography different from the work of others?

Well, I tend to do most of my shooting outdoors, as I feel it brings a different element to my work. And, of course, I use Photoshop, but I don’t overdo it. I think my signature is the way the colors pop in my pictures amongst the various landscapes. In the end, I think that is what I’ll be most known for.

What other career/ business ventures are you involved in?

As of right now, solely my photography, as I am continually growing it as a business and getting my name out to the masses. While it’s great to have your hands in various projects, I feel that you should give each project the equal attention that it deserves.

You have a wide fan base of young men and women, what professional advice can you offer them who are out here “grinding” to make a name for themselves?

Well, no matter how creative you are, you MUST learn the business aspect of it. A lot of people abuse creative people and steal their talents for their own gain because the artists don’t cross the t’s and dot the i’s. Don’t get me wrong, I love photography, but I am about my paper, as well. Photographers, stylists and makeup artist need to realize that what they do is a gift and that they should be paid accordingly. Don’t be ashamed to derive income from what you do.

Who are your top favorite musical artists? I notice some of your favorite musicians include a host of great alternative, rock, and R&B artists.

Foxy Brown. She was my very first hip hop crush. My only hip-hop crush, really. I still believe that she is relevant to this day, and I would love to photograph her one day. Just do something totally different than what people are used to seeing from her. I like Kanye because I think if we were to shoot, he wouldn’t need a stylist because he is so fly on his own. Also, Aerosmith is the bomb, and Gym Class Heroes makes me feel good when I listen to them first thing in the morning.

How do you think your musical choices affect your style of photography?

I think a lot of people will be surprised to know that I enjoy rock and heavy metal music. I like R&B as well, and of course, some hip-hop. Listening to George Michael or BeyoncĂ© during a studio shoot gets the models loose and comfortable, and some hip hop in the streets during an “on-location” shoot brings out the best in the models, as well as me. George Michael’s “Too Funky” brings out the editorial side of me, while some old school Lil’ Kim brings out the urban side of my shoots.

Name 3 things in your daily life you cannot live without.

In no particular order: the creative imagination of my assistant, Richard Duncan, my Blackberry Curve and last but not least, my Nikon camera.

What can we expect from Taj Washington in the near future?

You can expect to see my name in many more places. My I want to be known here and abroad, and especially in Canada. My heart is there...I feel like my life has just begun and that there is so much else out there I have yet to photograph and experience. Check me out in a couple of years and you’ll see.

For more on Taj Washington and his incredible photography:

Visit www.tajwashington.com

And... check out his assistant's blog at www.swaggtastic.wordpress.com


Pretty said...

I went to his site and the pics are amazing!!! Loved thiss!!

I'mNewHere said...


marcustheicon said...

Yo, Taj & Miesel are both the truth. Real Tal. Good interview, J. I'mready for my close up!!