In March 2013, I had just returned from Los Angeles, CA and I was invigorated and refocused on my goals and life purpose. I had taken a few photographs in LA and was in a shooting mode. I was scanning Facebook one day, as always, just to see what was new with my friends and I came across this:
It stopped me in my tracks. A simple iPhone selfie. I don’t know why. Conrad Jones had captured my attention. I loved his expression and the sideways Celtics cap. I commented on the photo:
"Inspired. I'd love to do a photo shoot with you one day wearing and looking like that."
A few days later, it came to pass. Before we shot anything, I expanded on the idea behind the soon-to-be created images. I wanted an image of Conrad in the Celtics hat and with that expression, but I also wanted to have juxtaposition to that image.
I knew Conrad through a few mutual friends as well as through church. Though we did not go the same church, Conrad was very involved in leading a youth choir in our city Stamford, CT and his choir had performed at my church, Union Baptist, a few times. We would exchange hellos whenever he visited my church. Before the set, I thought about the different versions of him that I knew; there’s the very cool, laid back guy, who can wear the Celtics hat the to side and make it look chill, and then there was the man of God, leading a choir in glorious tones that made you raise your arms to the sky.
Yep, I had it.
I used to give every one of my posts a special title. I’ve sense felt that’s a bit pretentious, though Conrad is worthy of exaltation. But when thinking of Conrad’s set, I decided that it would be entitled, “Conrad Jones: Swagger and Saved.” I told Conrad the idea and he was all in. I met him at his apartment in Stamford, CT and we had a blast both indoors and out. He had the laid back outfit ready to go as well as a few looks that he normally wore to church:
Trivia: I admit, especially since becoming a photographer; I live for Facebook “likes.” I mean who doesn’t? It feeds the soul, I mean it feeds the ego…
I’m further grateful to Conrad because the black and white image of his side profile, the one to the right, holds my personal record for most Facebook likes with 243. My second highest total is a self-portrait for my 30th birthday which only gained 140 likes. Go Conrad.