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Meet Tommy Maddox-Upshaw

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tommy Maddox-Upshaw.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I fell in love with motion picture Cinematography at 18 years old when I first visited a music video set in NYC where I had an opportunity to work as a Production Assistant for Hype Williams on a video entitled “Broken Hearted” for Brandy and Wanya Morris from Boyz To Men. I saw how the Cinematographer moved on set and how he created the magic in the lens and I was hook. How do I get to do that and make the magic, all this while working 24 hours straight and fetching coffee and waters and being yelled at like I have no sense or purpose in life. None the less when I went back to school I started taking still photography and video production. And my feature film watching and studying I felt like I was way behind. Senior High School year, during College Summers, while being a construction worker on the Big Dig , I went to find production work between NYC and Boston and eventually became a Union Grip/Electric at 20 years old and interned at Boston Camera and worked at local lighting company High Output in the Boston Area. Which lead to me applying to the AFI (American Film Institute Class of 2004) after which I became a Gaffer then Camera Operator and then DP in a matter of five years out.

Please tell us about your art.
I am a Motion Picture storyteller, referred to as a Cinematographer. I collaborate with many different people to help create visual stories. I love interpreting stories and experiences from my own life to visually convey a different perspective of life. My storytelling is just one of many perspectives from the Black American Experience, that creates images. I hope people feel as though my optical and light choices are something a bit different and really honest to the narrative be it short or long form motion pictures. I truly never try to shoot every story the same, I use different lenses most of the time and try to have different visual arcs that parallel each unique story that I have signed on to do.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing artists today?
In the day of social media, the hardest part is to respect your own path and to use social media to inspire oneself and to encourage one another and share info and the Love of the process of it all. While not trying not to attain what you see the path is of another artist no matter the discipline or art form. Let’s embrace our community at large and Love so many different forms of expression that are so readily available.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
My work can be seen on Netflix, FX, BET, Universal and Sony Pictures amongst others across the world. Or even on my website you can see snipits of my work at

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Instagram: themaddoxdp
  • Twitter: maddox_dp

Image Credit:
Nicola Goode Still Photographer (Me holding Light Stick, Crew Photo) , Alex Lim (Me on Big Round Camera) , Prentice Smith (Camera attached to Vest)

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.


  1. Barbara Nail

    March 5, 2019 at 16:28

    Thank you for sharing your story Tommy Upshaw. Your work is so impressive. You really capture all of the elements of cinematography with such stellar creativity. Awesome work…..

  2. Gloria Glover-Haynes

    March 6, 2019 at 13:27

    Tommy Maddox-Upshaw,
    You are one of the reasons we, Your Family, are So Proud Of Our Outstandingly Talented Family… KEEP ON PUSHING AND REACHING FOR THE STARS ✨! LOVE 💕 YOU 💖

  3. Kokayi Ampah

    July 29, 2019 at 02:42

    So proud of you Tommy✌🏿

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