Today we’d like to introduce you to Cetera J Jacobs.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am a 27-year-old photographer currently living in Los Angeles, CA. I was born and raised in Loudon, TN. A small country town about 30 minutes outside of Knoxville, TN. I grew up very involved in sports and church. My father kept me in basketball and softball while my grandma made sure I was at every choir practice. Most of my time outside of school was spent in a small community, or as we call it Bucktown. Although it wasn’t my experience, Bucktown was seen as a place known for “drugs and violence”. For me, it was a place of family, community, rich history and inspiration for everything I am today. As I got older, I saw many people with potential become complacent, hooked on drugs or get caught up in the system designed to keep us down and hold us back. After losing my father at the age of 9, I was determined that I would work hard to be the example and make a better life for my family and I.
I worked hard throughout high school and got myself to college. I studied at Middle Tennessee State University before attending Columbia College Chicago, where I graduated with a Degree in Cinema Arts + Science. Although I studied Producing for Tv/Film, I have always had a passion for the music industry as well. I was apart of The Recording Academy’s “Grammy U” program, an Ambassador for Codeblack Films and also did an externship with UTA. I have been blessed to work on many sets, red carpets and award shows. My most recent accomplishment was bring on Tour before the pandemic. As a photographer, I have shot festivals, concerts, lifestyle and more. I hope to one day latch to an artist as their music/lifestyle photographer. Throughout my journey, I have remained humble, driven, passionate and willing. I truly believe that you have to be vulnerable and open to different opportunities. As long as you have faith and are willing to put in the work, everything else will fall into place.
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?
My journey has been far from smooth. There have been many obstacles and roadblocks along the way. From questions, my purpose and path to just life happening and things not moving as swiftly as I would like. One of the greatest examples would be my move to Chicago. Prior I was very short on what I owed my apartment to move in and I also did not have a job. Despite knowing this, I was still determined to follow my intuition. A week before, I received a check in the mail for the exact amount that I was short. After moving, I was still jobless for four months. There were many many days I didn’t have money to eat or money to take the train to class. Those four months taught me so much about how to keep the faith and despite the circumstances, you must continue to show up and press forward. During one of the lowest points in my journey, I found the greatest gain. That first semester was very pivotal for me. I was very involved on Campus and was able to create many opportunities and connections. Since then, I don’t overthink or second guess my path. I have seen where faith, consistency and hardworking can get you.
Please tell us about Aligned Visuals.
I am a photographer based out of Los Angeles, CA. I specialize in music & lifestyle photography but will be expanding to editorial as well. My company “Aligned Visuals” will be launching later this year. I am most proud of the growth I have experienced this last year, I shot multiple concerts and was able to land my first festival gigs. I believe what sets me apart is my passion and drive for giving back to the community. Through Aligned Visuals, I plan to facilitate several events around giving back.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I have so many memories. I definitely miss staying up trying to learn the words and dances to all things Destiny’s Child. The Beyoncé obsession started at an early age. And years later, here we are! Nothing has changed haha.
Who deserves credit? Have you had mentors, supporters, etc that have played a huge role in your success? If so, who and what role did they play.
I am a firm believer in the saying “It takes a village”. There have been many people that have guided me along the way from my school teachers believing and telling me I can be bigger than my current situation to many family and friends supporting along the way. I want to take this time to thank all of my close friends and sisters for all the conversations, motivation, honesty and safe space to be vulnerable. Naming people can get tricky, but they know who they are. Also, to the many mentors, colleagues and those well into their career who have gave me opportunities and wisdom on how to truly navigate, work hard and manifest whatever it is that I want out of life. To my aunts/uncles and cousins for always showing up and supporting from basketball games as a child to college graduation. The love and support I continue to receive does not go unnoticed. I’d like to thank my mother Jeanette and step father Charles, for raising me and allowing me to be 100% myself and accepting me and all decisions I make, for trusting that I will always to do the right thing and giving me the space to do so. To my father David, although he passed when I was 9-years-old he was the first person to instill possibility in me, anything I wanted I could have and that was a huge driving force to the person I am today. Last but not least, I have to credit to my Grandparents Earl & Ruth. They have been a rock for me in many ways and they are my best friends. No matter what I’ve needed they have always made sure it was done. I am really just grateful overall for all experiences I have had through out this journey. God has led me and is continuing to lead me down a beautiful path and I feel like I am just getting started.
- Photoshoots: 150 / hr
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: Instagram.com/ybt.cetera
All Photos by Cetera J Jacobs