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Meet Ian Solomon of IJS Media

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ian Solomon.

Ian, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I received my first camera as a birthday present in high-school, while it piqued my interest I had no plans on pursuing a serious career in visual arts. I went to Arizona State University for Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. I spent time reporting in Washington D.C. and loved it, but I realized my passion wasn’t necessarily journalism and politics as much as it was storytelling and making an impact. It wasn’t until I moved back to Detroit post-grad that I delved into the artistic side of that passion. Detroit is a hotspot for Black artists right now, there’s an overflow of talent that you can’t help but be inspired by. I was determined to feed my creative self post-undergrad and Detroit was the best place to do it. I quickly fell into an incredibly talented crowd that encouraged me to see myself as an artist and dive into my craft. Honestly, it feels as if I didn’t choose this career, but fell into it. I hadn’t shared any of my work until spring of 2019, by that summer I won a grant from the Detroit RedBull House of Art for a portrait project I created: “Detroit Diamonds” which explored misconceptions surrounding the city of Detroit.

Winning that grant showed me that I was on the right path; I was telling impactful stories the way I wanted to and creating art all at the same time. Those first few months creating felt more right than anything I’ve ever done, but sometimes you need that validating push to keep going and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I don’t know how to half do things, I’m either all in or nothing. By the fall, I had quit my public relations job, moved to Los Angeles and have been freelancing here since. Moving to LA was risky, but it has shown to be one of the best decisions I’ve made. I figure if I’m not going to bet on myself, who will?

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?
The road has been fast, but it has definitely not been smooth. As any freelance artist will tell you: it’s not easy. I’d say the hardest part is keeping your confidence. There are days where the path isn’t as clear as it was before and you start to question yourself, but you just have to shake it off and trust the process. It’s hard to accept that you’re on a road that you can’t see ahead of, but freelancing and art is a rollercoaster of highs and lows- just know the lows don’t last and there are plenty more highs to come.

IJS Media – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My company, IJS Media, offers photo and video services including headshots, conceptual photography, music videos, promotional video, etc. Conveying a creative, authentic story is my passion and I’m proud to bring that into the work I do for others, I believe it’s that commitment to authenticity and originality that sets me apart from the crowd. While it is a business, I don’t like to work for a check, meaning whatever I put my name on is going to be something both myself and the client love and believe in. Helping others realize their vision is amazing, but pushing that vision past the original imagination is what is really rewarding.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I was invited to travel to Johannesburg, South Africa to document Ibrahim Kamara and Thebe Magugu’s collaboration for an editorial. Ibrahim is an incredible stylist and Thebe’s beautiful designs won him the 2019 LVMH Prize, to be able to share space with two talents of that caliber was something I couldn’t have imagined I’d be a part of. I started this journey in spring of 2019 and dove headfirst without looking back, so to have that experience as a result of that dive is something I’ll always be grateful for. I was really proud to have found myself on a new continent, building relationships with artists I admire and expanding my craft; but mostly I was proud for taking a chance on myself and following my passions. This is really just the beginning, I’m excited to continue allowing doing what I love to lead the way.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Models: Idara Ubong, Dominique McQuiter, Tré Melvin, Delo Brown, Carter Sims, Yamaya Mason, Mikey Makiotto

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