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Meet Daion Chesney

Today we’d like to introduce you to Daion Chesney.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
As clichè as it sounds, I’ve always had a camera in my hand since I can remember. I was a young child when my pops placed a camera upon me. I’ll never forget it. It was a small Canon point and shoot that I lost on the plane after a trip coming back from seeing my grandparents. Since then and on, and from camera to camera, I have always been shooting. In high school, I was “that” photographer, that shot everything: sports games, homecoming/prom photos, senior portraits—literally anything and everything. I was a huge asset to my newspaper and yearbook during high school. Once I got college and started studying filmmaking and photography, my craft began to elevate.

However, it wasn’t until I took a summer arts course called: The New Photographic Portrait, that I began to really challenge myself and started to develop a sense of style. The 2-week intensive course was guided by David Hilliard, a photographer known for triptych images, and Holly Andres, known for her narrative photographic memoirs. Having these two prolific photographers allowed me to push myself and to seek and find answers within my work that I never sought out. Since then, I started shooting with a purpose and a message within my personal work.

Speeding up to 4 years, I’ve graduated from LMU (c/o 18′) and I am currently a freelance photographer. However, like many artist I’m still figuring it out. The only difference from then to now is that I am much more confident in the work that I create and share with others. As I continue to grow and learn as an artist, I will constantly be finding out mo there will be a continuous  more discoveries about my work, however a

As of now, a goal of mine is to seek representation that will help my platform that I want to continue to build.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I feel like there’s no such thing as a smooth road, especially right after university. Post-graduation depression is a real thing. I’ve been out for a year, and like I’ve said before, “I’m still figuring it out.” I never intended nor do I expect a silver platter to be handed to me. Everything I do or have done thus far, I really had to work hard for it. I would say my biggest challenge, and honestly its one that I’m still going through is just navigating myself through this world, especially as an artist. Just having that understanding of what that means and that motivation that can hurdle me over barriers. I wake up everyday with the mindset of “how am I going to feed myself today?”, and that’s stressful. There is so much talent out there and so much competition that it’s easy to feel outdone or outnumbered. I think because of social media and the digital aged world we live in today, it’s very easy to compare yourself to others.

I’m human so of course, I have my days where I am feeling up and days that I am feeling down. However, the days that I am down, it’s important for me to shut everything off, from social media to even text messages sometimes—and to just start over and take note of what is front of me now. Thats when I bury myself in books and important conversations with people. Shit just even a conversation with myself helps. It’s really easy to get influenced and to develop a negative energy, when you feel your aren’t advancing in your career.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
So I am a photographer that focuses, as I’m sure most photographers do, on capturing stories that’s through a series of portraits or through a narrative sequence. I tend to have an affinity for manipulating light and bringing out colors to enhance a striking visual intensity. I typically shoot with less/limited resources. I shoot with one light, an off-camera flash, and one lens which is my  20mm. Shooting that wide with portraits is tricky, but I love shooting wide as it creates a moodier and more defined look to portray a feeling of distortion, especially when shooting close-ups.

Something I am most proud of that really highlights my artistry would be that I have a very versatile style that illustrates what I am able to do. If you look at my work, my lighting choices, along with the people I shoot are all so different that I really don’t stay in one conformed area. I’d like to think I can do it all.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I define success as being happy with what you do and to have the power, knowledge, and wisdom to pass that to others. There are so many photographers that have influenced and impacted my life, that have allowed me to start a conversation on various topics and to dwell on the overall meaning of things. Photographers that can relay that in their imagery are successful. Creating thought-provoking, comforting, or even sentimental messages. To me having an artist place you in that mindset makes me happy because they are translating an important message for their audience to figure out and not just creating “just because” if that makes sense.

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