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Meet Brian Debrah-Afful of BDA Photography in NJ/ NY/ LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Debrah-Afful.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Brian. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My family is of Ghanian background which has shaped a lot of who I am today. My parents came to the states about two years before I was born and from there, they built a solid foundation for me to have more Opportunites than they were given. They instilled in me the importance of hard work and perseverance to not let any challenges stand in their way.

I learned from their own example that they set for me, moving to a new state isn’t easy sometimes, but a whole new country is a different ball game but through it all, they didn’t let their strife hinder them and they are the most important role models to date. My art reflects that mentality to not let anything get in my way, whether it’s using my camera to push my way to the front of concert stages or finding obscure abandoned buildings to shoot I won’t let anything get in the way of creating my art. I started shooting photos in a high school graphics class, after the first sound of the shutter click, I was hooked. I loved composing photos, editing photos, and curating them to follow certain patterns and be ascetically pleasing to viewers.

In college, my freshman year I got my first camera and from there, it was no looking back I carried my camera everywhere. I started out shooting with my friends and we would travel to all different places to get shots together, these first couple photo trips truly were some of the best and most memories I have of shooting photos. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to find my photography taking me backstage to shoot with R2bees, Mr. Eazi, King Promise. Alongside being an intern at SSMP where I have had the opportunity to work with Sheff G, Sleepy hallow, Eli Fross just to name a few. As well I am a creative director for a label called LRTA (Life Reflected Through Art) where we bring different artists together to make music that is unique due to the effectiveness of the collaboration.

Through the years my photography style has come to be one I would like to call my own, I love to accent bright colors and make them pop throughout my photos, and there are times where all I see is black and white in photos for me the color of and image says a lot about it and that is a theme I use to create and produce my images. My first trip to Ghana last year made me realize that use of color and how I used all the different colors to my advantage. After viewing all the images and pictures, I figured I had enough photos to publish my first photobook Akwaaba: This is Ghana.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I am one to not complain but to say that being a photographer has been a smooth road would be a lie. From multiple cameras breaking on me when I needed them most, to just the nerves of having to work with someone and think that you are giving them your best possible work. I use to struggle with that a lot at first where it would be on my mind the whole time on the way to the shoot, “Oh will the like my pictures”… ” Did I get the right angles.”… I had to get to a place in my thinking that if someone wants to work with me they like the work I have already put in. I realized it was more of a confidence thing than what other people thought. I had to let go of trying to be so perfect all the time and just learn from mistakes, that’s where I was able to start measuring my actual growth in the art rather than just doing what I thought people would like.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about BDA Photography – what should we know?
BDA photography is known for photos and slowly and surely breaking into the videographer’s side of things. My portraits are what stand out and my attention to detail when taking them. I need the whole frame to be clear of distractions and I need energy from the person I am working with. People have told me that working with me has boosted their confidence, I am very patient and understanding with people but I like people to try stuff outside of their comfort zone and that’s when real creativity comes alive. Such as shooting in public with people watching, or shooting in not so nice areas like abandoned prisons. These shoots tend to come out the best and tend to give models a new take on what it is they can accomplish.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
That attitude that I have where I don’t let anything knock me down or get in my way. If I have an idea in my head, it’s gonna be executed whether its the same day or three years later nothing will stop me. Hard times roll off my shoulders; I don’t hang my head too long on failures I learn from them and move on. My willingness to work with everyone as well, I don’t do photography for fame I do it because I love taking photos and anyone that wants to be in front of my camera deserves that chance as well as long as they are willing. My attention to color and the lack of color at times is what I believe makes one say, “Oh yeah, that was definitely taken by BDA”.

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Image Credit:

All Images taken by bda photography

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