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Daily Inspiration: Meet Jonathan Arthurs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jonathan Arthurs.

Hi Jonathan, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
At an early age, I always viewed photography as a family thing. It was Something intimate and personal. My father was the family photographer. He always had a camera on family trips, family gatherings, he had it with him any and everywhere. I just thought it was second nature to document people and events that you cared about. I would go with him to the photo lab to get photos developed and printed. When we got that white envelop back from the lab filled with all of those wonderful memories, I was so excited to see these colorful vivid images. I believe that is when I got bit by the photography bug.

As I grew up, I was involved in a lot of things sports and music played a huge part of my adolescences. In middle school, my best friend (Omar Okoli) would collect and trade basketball cards. I believe I was drawn to the cards because of the amazing images that these photographers were capturing. When I was 13, I began doing house parties. Coming from a Caribbean Household (Belizean – Jamaican), music was a huge part of my life. On Sundays, we would listen to Bob Marley, Beenie Man and Andy Palacio. I attended King Drew Medical Magnet High School. While I was there, I would dj house parties and school events as well as becoming a part of the school newspaper. My Editor Ms. Flitcher was a huge part of my life. She teaches us about creative writing, journalistic integrity and the power of images. Ms. Flicher was the first person to put the camera in my hand as a tool. I felt empowered and given purpose.

As a student at San Francisco State University, I was deeply involved with the campus life. I was a part of the Black Student Union, I played on campus sports and joined Phi Beta Sigma Inc fraternity. I meet and worked with many talented people. Threw out this time I always kept a camera with me. When I got married to my beautiful wife Porsche Arthurs and started a family, the moments that I was experiencing became a lot more meaningful. I really started to take photography serious. I wanted to photograph everything. I started to research the greats like Gordon Parks, Leonard Freed, Bruce Talamon, Walter Looss, Jamel Shabazz, Danny Clinch, Jonathan Mannion, Estevan Oriol, Eli Reed and Chi Modu, just to name a few. I joined up with fellow talented photographers from groups like Blacks with Film and really dived deep into my craft. I give God all the glory for this gift and I just try to get better everyday.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The road has been great one. The access photography has afforded me has been amazing. I have traveled all across the US and to different countries. There has been some bumps in the road but I don’t believe in losses only lesions. I love having a voice in how my culture and people are seen and viewed.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I specialize in Portraits of people of color. Over the years, I believe that people of black and brown communities have been depicted in a negative light. I want to change this. My goal is to capture beautiful real images of people. I am most proud of the relationships I have built and the freedom I have within photography. I believe that my approach to photography sets me apart from other artist. I believe that every moment is priceless and the vibe that I create is organic and real.

What matters most to you?
The most important thing that matters to me is that my clients enjoy themselves. I want them to be as excited about the images as well as the vibe. Quality is also a huge factor for me, I don’t believe in reshoots or extra photoshop manipulation. I used film which a total different process than digital photographers. I also want to give a part of me to the photo, I want my style to shine through.

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