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Meet TeeJ Gardner of LivingProoF in North Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to TeeJ Gardner.

TeeJ, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Where do I start? Well, my Name’s TeeJ, Ive been shooting for seven years, four years full time. I started in Birmingham, Alabama and decided to move to Los Angeles just a year and half ago. There’s one moment that comes to mind when I think of what “shaped” my future as a photographer. I’ll never forget, it was Black Friday. I had to have been 16 or 17 years old. Me and my mom stood outside in the cold waiting for Target to open. The line was LONG, well into the parking lot. We waited out there for hours for a sale on a camera I wanted. It was one of the Kodak Coolpix cameras that came in multiple colors.

So the doors finally open; after what seemed like forever and we headed to the electronics section (I don’t know if you’ve experienced Black Friday in the south but you almost have to sprint to your item lol) and grab the box with the camera on the front. Little did I know that camera would never leave my side well into college. I captured some of my favorite memories on that thing. It helped shape me into the creative I am today along with some photographer friends who captured me as their subject.

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 road has been far from smooth. I’ve taken a ton of losses from finances to relationships, but it’s well worth it. My biggest struggle was time management. Once you start shooting every day and editing every day, you can seem to go “ghost” in the real world. Also, we as creators tend to forget about self-care and having some type of personal life. I’d say also I struggled with getting my desired look for a while. When you don’t have the best lighting, or camera you have to adjust. With all the same equipment with time, I’ve developed my own “look” while still at industry standard. The took a ton of research hours on hours of practice.

Please tell us more about your work. What do you do? What do you specialize in? What sets you apart from competition?
My brand name is LivingProoF. I was actually the name of my last mixtape and it turned into a lifestyle. It later took on the name of my brand. I specialize in fashion/editorial photography but I started in a film with music videos and event work. I’m most proud of my work ethic, back home I went on a 365-day shooting challenge where I shot every day and returned he images most times the next day, it was a massive promo run that the city embraced all via Facebook. Out here (Los Angeles) a lot of people don’t use Facebook like that, but Birmingham FB is very much alive and everyone on the seems to be familiar with each other if you’re active. I only got a little over 250 with the run but the I got and the clients I gained transcended my brand more than I could imagine.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
My proudest moment was when I was recognized by Birmingham Times during that same promo run, they chose one of my images as the cover of the newspaper. It felt good not only to be recognized but to walk in Publix and see dozens of copies on the counter and its one of my images I def was a moment to remember. Je’don Talley helped make that happen along with Que Humphrey the model at the shoot.

Pricing:

  • Photography starting rate $200
  • Film starting rate $250

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Second image: Nausheen Ahmed
4th image Que Humphrey

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