Tahir McKenzie is 25 year old Bed-Stuy based photographer with an educational background in Fashion Design. Between working in his field and going to events, Tahir takes time to conduct photoshoots with amazing models in dreamy spaces. Tahir is a true artist with a distinct eye, and we here at Brooklyn Buzz decided to pick his brain to find out what inspires him, his plans for the future, and much more!
Check out the interview below!
Pia: Who or what sparked your interest in photography?
Tahir: I remember seeing an image done by Tim Walker in W Magazine that triggered my love for photography. I love the fantasy that he creates, in which he makes me forget the consumerist idealism in fashion.
P: How long have you been shooting?
Tahir: I’ve been shooting on and off for about 3 years.
Pia: What is your favorite technique when it comes to photographing people?
Tahir: I love to shoot what I feel reflects them at that particular place and time. Creativity comes to me at very fleeting moments, like I’ll see a particular location then a friend of mine would come to mind and I beg them to let me shoot them haha.
Pia: How would you describe your “eye” or style of photography?
Tahir: Hmm, well I have this obsession nature as well as lines in architecture, so I always try to create this story that juxtaposes the two. It’s weird, I have this longing to create and build set designs much like Tim Walker does but then I just end up shooting in a creek or a park. I just try my best not to make New York City look like New York City. I can’t wait until I can afford to travel and shoot fashion stories.
Pia: What kind of camera do you use? Would you recommend it to other aspiring photographers or photographers in general?
Tahir: I use a Nikon D50, which is great for me, being that I still consider myself a novice. I would recommend it actually because I love simplicity, I feel it’s a very basic camera.
Pia: Are you self-taught or did you learn in school?
Tahir: Self Taught! I would love more than anything to take a film photography class in school! I love the texture of film photographs, the graininess; the film process itself instills a level of discipline and patience that I admire.
Pia: How has photography changed your life?
Tahir: It’s helped me see the beauty in things I would over look at any moment. Whenever I walk the streets without my camera I get upset because I see a “moment” after “moment” and it’s frustrating feeling because it’s so fleeting.
Pia: What are your long term goals with photography?
Tahir: I’ve always had these three goals since I was a teenager: 1. I would love to shoot fashion stories for Self Service Magazine. 2. I always wanted to photograph Beyonce, I have this image I’ve had in my head for years and it makes me stuck in my path sometimes. She’s reaching this majorly iconic level and I feel like it would make so much sense, but in due time and God willing for sure! 3. Lastly I would love to work for National Geographic actually! I used to collect the old mini Magazines from like the 70’s and 80’s when I was a kid and I would just read all the stories and get lost. I couldn’t believe the beauty that existed outside of New York or America itself, there’s so much culture and vibrancies; it’s so surreal.
Pia: Which photographers do you look up to and why?
Tahir: Currently I love how Andre Wagner and Brittani Sensabaugh are shaping the black identity through their photography. I love that they’re capturing our humanity so brilliantly; I’ve always loved how vulnerable and humble we appear. Whenever I have down time I always look at their images. As far as fashion photographers I admire Hans Feurer, Tim Walker, Helmut Newton and Irving Penn. I admire fashion photographers of the past for their innovative spirits as well as the fact that a lot of their imagery and imprint on fashion exists today.
Pia: What is your advice for aspiring photographers?
Tahir: Whatever you have in your heart or mind, pursue. I’d say to never second-guess your creativity, if you have this dire need to photograph any subject, do so.