THE BRILLIANCE! > Kareem!
KAREEM BLACK > Yo!
TB! > What’s up man?
KB > Working on figuring out quantum mechanics and theory… Newton, Einstien, and that wheel chair guy…. They are pretty smart dudes…
TB! > What did you do today so far? Eat anything good?
KB > Well today is/was st patricks day.. I shot Some comedians for Giant magazine ...I ate ramen earlier and then I had some crushed poato soup at this place called Puck Fair down town.. I haven’t had a solid meal in about a day..but I did have about 60 Guinnesses.
TB! > So - tell us a bit about yourself - your work, your interests, background, your SS#...?
KB > cool well ok.. I shoot a bunch of celebrity portraiture, CD covers and Magazine stuff.. I also work on a few personal projects…on the side to keep me sane. Im from Philly and have lived in NYC for ten years…. My SS# is 174-92-9406. My AIM is pharoaheblitz.
TB! > You are known internationally as an amazing photographer. You’ve shot some of the biggest celebrities in the business including Kanye West, Bam Margera, Pharrell, and more. How awesome is that!?
KB > I definitely love my job… I’m so amazed that people put me on planes and want me to photograph my heroes and then they pay me American dollars for that… sooo crazy!!! But to me its not just about celebrity and photographing those in the limelight.. I seriously love taking pictures… is that corny… is that art school?
TB! > Who has been your favorite celebrity to work with in the past, and who would be your dream celebrity to work with in the future?
KB > Leonard Nimoy, Lindsay Lohan.. I really want to shoot them both .. for different reasons… actually shooting the two of them together would be amazing now that I think about it!
TB! > Give us an idea of some of the clients you’ve done your photography for. Do you do repeat work for many of these clients?
KB > I’ve been really lucky to have had the chance to work with a bunch of different clients from a lot of different genres. .I’ve done work with GQ , Flaunt , Fader, People, ESPN, Elle, Trace, Sports Illustrated, Blackbook, Blender, Tokion, XXL, Giant, Maxim, The Royal and a host of others. I’m fan of all these magazines for various reasons. And have had pretty long relationships with all of them.
TB! > From some of our conversations in the past, I know you’ve had the opportunity to travel a lot. What are some of your favorite destinations or places in the world?
KB > I just came back from Sri Lanka a few weeks ago where I photographed the tsunami damage… that trip really affected me.. I saw so much death there were times when I was there and thought this is what the apocalypse must look like.. in the midst of all that madness I met some of the most beautiful and generous and genuine people I’d ever met. In a lot of ways seeing these people who have lost everything and have nothing but still exhibited the finest traits of humanity helped me regain my faith in people..in that way Sri Lanka was one of the most educational and beautiful trips I’ve taken.
TB! > Where haven’t you been to yet that you’d like to vacation to or work at?
KB > I want to go everywhere . I want to see everything
TB! > What kinds of things besides photography do you love to do? What takes up your time when you’re not behind the camera?
KB > Im a big nerd. I love Star Trek and chess. I try to play chess every day and ive seen and or own every episode of star trek and all its spin offs (except voyager of course… because voyager SUCKS!!) other then that I love to drink… is that wrong?
TB! > On your site, www.kareemblack.com , you’ve got a section with polaroids signed by many of the celebrities you’ve worked with. Is this just a habitual thing you do every time you have a shoot? Do you have a larger collection than what we see on your site? I bet I could go to the bank if I put those on eBay.
KB > My collection of polaroids is getting to be pretty giant! I think I want to have a show of them one day… the idea of putting them on Ebay isn’t a bad one however.
TB! > How did you get your start in photography? How did you manage to get your foot in the door with such prestigious people and clients?
KB > I got my start when my mother made me take a photo class when I was 17… I fell in love with it and got a scholarship to SVA for it. I’ve found hear say and smart placement of your product (which in my case is me) is invaluable people talk and the creative world isn’t that big at all. I try to do the best job that I can with each shoot and not be a brat. That in its self is a powerful form of self promotion that will eventually come around and pay off. Also it helps to have a strong support system of people that are in slightly different but related industries, a network of people that can be collaborated with and also cross promoted to the benefit of the group and the individual. Enter the Keystone Design Union. WWW.THEKDU.COM
TB! > What are some of your dreams man? Beyond the wildest things you can think of…What are your biggest, most intense dreams for the future?
KB > I want to travel the globe and see all I can before my time is up… that is the single thought behind every picture I take….seeing and experiencing new things.
TB! > Who do you credit your influence and inspiration to, besides me? Are there any people in your life, in particular, that you would like to especially thank?
KB > I’d like to thank all the people who incouaged, discouraged; loved and hated upon; fronted on and advised me…they have all inspired and focused me. Also most of my friends are photographers. They all push me and make me think in different ways. Its great to have a strong support system of people who do what you do.
TB! > What advice would you give to any young or aspiring photographers who hope to be at your level someday, but probably never will be because they are too busy posting digital camera snaps of their family Christmas vacation to their Livejournal?
KB > I Say Shoot what you love ... I say be weird. I’m a weird guy and the more I find that to be true about my self .. the stronger an artist I become.
TB! > What do you think of THE BRILLIANCE? How honored are you to be among the first few interviews on here?
KB > Whats the brilliance?
TB! > Any final words before I end this interview and change all your answers?
KB > Please don’t change my answers just because I’m making fun of you…. Final words??? Ummm… don’t change my answers.
TB! > Any ‘shout-outs’? Is saying ‘shout-outs’ corny?
KB > I wasn’t aware that people still said “shout outs” but ok…I suppose it is a little corney if you want me to be truly honest…but whatever… ummm I suppose in have to shout out the fam:
TB! > Thanks Kareem.
KB > The pleasure is/was mine