Today we’d like to introduce you to JJ Onyx.
JJ, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I actually started in the business when I was very young. My parents put me in a dance class in Detroit Michigan which led to participating in fashion shows and eventually print work. When I moved to California, I decided to pursue modeling along with my dance career. I was very interested in photography at an early age and having so much exposure to studios and photographers, it was something I always wanted to do. Fortunately, my dance career took off and I put modeling, acting and photography on a back burner. As I transitioned out of dance and traveling all the time, I decided to settle down in Los Angeles, I purchased my first camera and have never looked back. I didn’t want to get pigeonholed into a specific style or type of photography so I would shoot everything from fashion, fitness, headshots, product and even dabbled in fine art. I now have my own little studio and try to create images that I enjoy and am proud of.
Has it been a smooth road?
I think the toughest challenge I had was within myself as an artist. I would listen to other people’s criticisms or personal views of my work and try to change to fit their taste or comfort level. Once I became more confident in my own work and began to embrace my point of view, things became a lot easier for me as an artist. Besides that, Photography is a tough business. When I started we were still using film and the business has changed so much in this digital world. I think it is more and more difficult for photographers to make a living at this craft. I am blessed that I had a successful career as a dancer and now am able to pursue this new passion. Yes, I would love to be shooting for some of the top fashion magazines, Incredible covers and art projects that took me around the world focusing on human struggles …. but until then, planning shoots, collaborating with other like-minded individuals feeds my soul. I do get published in magazines and am very grateful for the opportunity to do so. It’s a long road, but I do this because I love it. I just try to keep growing as a photographer, keep learning all the technical stuff and keep moving forward!!
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I am not sure I have a proudest moment. This business is so difficult and each project has its own challenges and rewards. Working with Aids organizations to pet adoption ones are very rewarding. Having my work in fashion magazines is very exciting and creating videos that capture and trigger an emotional response is all very rewarding. I guess I am proudest that I am still here, a survivor or lifer. I know so many young people move to Los Angeles and did not really have a clear plan or understanding of the business and move back to their hometown within a year or so. I am proud that I am following my heart and pursuing my dreams. I am truly blessed to be at this point in my life.
Tell us more about the struggles you’ve faced along the way.
I came from a very poor neighborhood in Detroit Michigan. Moving to California was very difficult since the cost of living is so high. At one point my Grandfather died and I had to go back to Detroit. While I was gone my house was broken into, they backed a U-Haul truck up to my front door and moved everything out. I fell into a deep depression and ended up living in a garage with no electricity and rats coming in at night time. Once I pulled myself up and began to heal, I worked very hard doing various jobs till I paid off my home and put myself in a position to pursue things that I love and to give back to the community. I have been so blessed to have a support system that helped me through the tough times and truly grateful that the path I chose has landed me where I am today.
What’s your outlook for the industry in our city?
I absolutely love Los Angeles. Don’t forget I’m from Detroit. I have always felt that this is paradise. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. There are so many people in the “INDUSTRY” and I think it really helps one network and participates in the business in many different ways. I have personally done modeling, dance, fashion design, interior design, wardrobe for the opera and wore many other hats before settling into photography and video production. I do feel that we are living in exciting times with the internet and social media. Although I love the energy of a big city, I think people starting out can find their voice from any place in the world. I have seen photographers who live in remote places of the United States become famous from their presence on social media. I think the most important thing to remember is to find out what makes you tick and feeds your soul. If you are a person that hates big cities or you will struggle and have to work 4 jobs to survive and sleep on the floor, perhaps you will be so worn out that you will not be able to be creative. Whereas if the energy of the big city feeds you and inspires you then for sure move here. It is such a personal journey. I do feel that people get caught up with the idea that you have to live in the big city to succeed and that is just not true anymore. Being a great artist, knowing who you are and having a point of view is much more important in my opinion. If you do want to move here, then I would say to have a plan. Save up money and really commit to participating in various projects and building relationships. As David Ogden, Stiers told me when I studied at the Old Globe in San Diego. If you are going to move to Los Angeles to be an Actor, then BE AN ACTOR!!.. Meaning.. don’t get so caught up in partying, waiting on tables, etc. etc. that you don’t do your craft. I think it applies to any field you choose.
- Half day rate or full day rate for any fashion or commercial work
- Headshot photography starts at $250.00 and just depends if anything extra is needed
- Video work is on a day rate
- Website: www.TheOnyxStudio.com
- Phone: 310 663 7428
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: jjonyx22