Today we’d like to introduce you to Dubois Rene’.
Hi Dubois, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I am native of New Orleans, Louisiana, who currently resides in Downtown Los Angeles. I am a freelance photographer that specializes in the realms of portraits, editorial, and fashion. My creative journey started as early as middle school with taking an interest in literature & arts. As I transitioned to high school, I started to invest more into fashion and keeping up with current trends through TV, magazines and various media outlets.
After Hurricane Katrina, I moved from New Orleans to Atlanta, GA. There, I became a part-time model and started to network with photographers and fellow models in the city. This was instrumental in creating bonds and solidifying future work. Although modeling was fun, I started getting heavily involved with the production side of creating a photoshoot. I was tapped to art direct as well as styled shoots with my peers. I actually was called upon to do more production gigs than modeling.
I realized that that the joy of modeling was really a stepping stone to something greater. I continued styling and directing in Atlanta and garnered a fashion editor position with SUAVV Magazine. It allowed me to get back to my literature roots while still being involved with the fashion industry. After eight years in Atlanta, I took another leap by moving from the south and cementing myself in LA. I was able to maintain styling gigs and assist celebrity stylists while being a new face in the “city of angels”.
As styling grew a bit daunting, I begin having a few ideas for photoshoots and visions I wanted to personally complete. My main obstacle was that it was hard to build a rapport with a list a photographers on the consistent basis, as I once had in the south. After three years in the city, I decided to buy a camera and make the types of images I wanted to see in the universe. I wanted to create art that had a strong overtone of color, mystery, and beauty. From writing, modeling, styling and art directing—- all of my creative paths through the years prepared me for what I was actually passionate about, which is photography.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I don’t believe anything that is worth having/obtaining comes easily. My road has had its highs and lows, but I am definitely grateful for everything I’ve experienced with the 12+ years of being a freelance artist. I think the biggest struggle I’ve had was definitely internal more than external. Over the years, trying to figure out what I was actually passionate about in life. Then finding and trying to figure out out how to authentically showcase and share it with the world and receive feedback (good, bad, and in between).
Growing up in the south and being practical with how you spend your time, we were taught to work and be productive. Being creative wasn’t necessarily celebrated as much as the tools for survival and working. So it took me a while to accept that I had creative gifts that needed to be expressed. There is also the struggle of producing work you’re proud of despite money or accolades involved. That is the daily struggle of the freelance world. Currently, Im on the mission to produce work that I believe in 100%.
If I need to take a break, I do so. If I need to get knowledge on something, I ask the questions. I move at my own pace because art cannot be rushed. It needs time to develop and breathe. Slow & steady can definitely win the race and I believe my path is meant to be experienced in a way only unique to me.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I have been a freelance photographer for roughly five years. I’m learning every time I pick up my camera, but I’ve also had some amazing opportunities within that mini-span. My first ever photoshoot as a photographer was published in FGUK Magazine, and I was able to maintain editorials with various magazines consistently over the last five years of my photography career.
My style is definitely portrait and editorial-based. My work specializes in the black experience first and foremost. Being African American & Italian, I want to make sure opportunities within art are being represented in our community. That is my main goal— to showcase our beauty and tell our creative stories through photography.
I think what sets me apart is as much as I admire and support my peers, I try to always bring a fresh take to an idea instead of emulating what has already been done. I also like to be a bit of a recluse in my persona as a photographer. I love the mystique of people not knowing how I look and letting the work speak for itself. Too many times in the media I’ve seen the photographers looks be praised and overshadowed by the work they produce.
I want to change that narrative and get back to the talent we produce, not the social gaze we currently live in…
Risk taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
My biggest risk is going against the grain of being typed-cast as a photographer. My first two years I was learning, and my work was mostly fine arts and nudity. It was beautiful images. And it was portraits I wanted the world to experience. But with that start of positive feedback, I was only hit up by models to recreate and regurgitate what I had already done. It grew tiresome and I was exhausted with not being able to create and expand beyond that.
So I made the conscious effort to make the change myself. I started saying “no” to a plethora of fine arts projects and started creating more fashion editorials. Although it took some time, most of my clientele grew with me, and it all became balanced these past few years. I was able to grow and photograph exactly what my background had destined for me to become.
You are the artist of your own destiny, create what you feel. No one can take that away from you. That is my biggest take-away when it comes to risk.
All photos photographed, styled, and art directed by Dubois Rene’