“You Make Your Own Reality”
One of the most dope shows I attended last year would have to be the unforgettable “Back With A Vengeance” Tour with Vic Mensa and Joey Purp. If you know me, you know that a majority of my favorite artist are from Chicago; so seeing these two turn the Bluebird Theater up was a must.
As the show came to an end and the crowd dispersed into the streets, I ran into a young man who appeared to have a knack for photography. At the time, I was interested in learning everything I could from self-made photographers, so I approached him with a few questions.
After glancing at some of his impressive work on Instagram, I stayed in touched and followed his work for the future. I knew he had a passion similar to mine. When I first restructured GUD, I had to make sure people knew about the homie Frank Morales.
Frank continues to perfect his videography and photography, but he shines the brightest when working with concert photography. A$AP Ferg, Denzel Curry, Famous Dex, Robb Banks, and Danny Brown are just some of the artist he has shot for recently.
This is only the beginning to a prosperous future for Frank. As he continues to work harder and push with more persistence, doors will continue to open. If you want to know what its like to ignore the opinions of others and follow what makes you happy in life, here is a prime example. I recently caught up with the young shooter for a in-depth Q&A interview.
Check it out but most importantly, GET INSPIRED.
Title: Photographer / Videographer / College Student
Hometown: Denver, CO
When did you first pick up a camera?
As a little kid, my dad always had a camera wherever we went. As a kid you look up to your father in a similar manner to how you look to super heroes. I think the fact that he was always recording things and taking photos placed this subliminal idea of people who took photos and videos were cool. In middle school, my parents bought me this point and shoot Kodak digital camera that I took everywhere. I never thought of photography as a passion of mine. It was more of something I just did because it was natural and my dad did it. I didn’t start shooting with a DSLR until my junior year of high school when I had photography as an elective.
I see you started off just photographing friends, spaces and places. Overtime you focused more on concert photography and videography. What made your focus go within that direction?
There is a special feeling that you get being at a concert. It’s like the feeling you would get as an 8-year-old who woke up to presents under the Christmas tree; pure excitement. Photos are cool but when you get to watch a video of a performance, then you get the whole experience. I love that about videos.
Hip-Hop has played a huge role in your photography career so far. What is it about hip-hop music and shows that gains your interest the most?
Hip-hop is just cool and I think that hip-hop will always be cool. Hip-hop artist of today are rockstars and in 50 years, I get to say that I worked with all these rockstars. 10-year-old Frank would go nuts if I told him this is was his future.
While we’re talking about music, I must ask what’s Frank music rotation looking like as of late?
Man, my music spectrum is all over the place! I enjoy listening to Vince Staples, Kali Uchis, Paramore, Frank Ocean, Cage the Elephant and even Flume. I just enjoy all their music. I know everyone is going to hassle me for putting Paramore on this list but Paramore is iconic. I don’t care what anyone must say.
So, let’s back track a bit, at what point did you decide to take photography and videography seriously? Why?
I don’t know if I had a moment of “I am going to take this serious” but I have had plenty of moments where I thought to myself “This is bigger than just me”. I have family living through a real struggle. I have little cousins and nephews I fear for and if I can help influence them to do something bigger than anyone expects them to, then I am going to try my hardest to put that in their minds. Taking photography/videography serious has helped me gain some sort of validation when I talk to my younger family members and the kids in my community. They see that I’m taking photos of people they see on T.V. and hear on the radio. When I tell them that they can do the same one day, it means something to them. Well at least I hope it means something to them.
Improving your skills with this area of focus is a costly profession. Did you find it difficult to get started financially or did you just make do with what you had?
During high school I was blessed enough to have the equipment I needed provided for me. A quick shout out to Ms. Coombes, Ms. Calvert and Ms. Dame for always ensuring I had the equipment and skills necessary to do what I wanted and for being 3 of the most amazing people I know. When I graduated, I had to purchase all my own stuff and none of it was cheap. But all my equipment has paid itself off numerous times.
What has been the most memorable concert or artist you have photographed and why?
Waka Flocka Flame had to be one of the most memorable concerts I’ve ever been to and it’s all because never before this concert have I been physically exhausted after a concert. See here’s the thing, I hate being stuck in the area provided for photographers to photograph so I always try to squeeze myself through the crowd to the front so I can get up-close photos of the performers and it was just a bad idea to try and do such when Waka Flocka Flame is performing “Hard in the Paint”. But, besides that there have been many memorable moments whether it was hanging out with Danny Brown watching “30 for 30”, having a conversation with Denzel Curry while he eats a Cheeseburger with a fork and knife or taking Robb Banks whole tour bus to get some food at Chubby’s (Mexican Restaurant). It has all been memorable and I cannot be more blessed.
Who are some artist you want to work with one day?
I would love to work with Chance the Rapper someday and not even doing photo or video work for the guy. I just think he has great intentions towards making this world a better place and I would love to be a part of that. Another artist I would love to work with would be Post Malone. The guy is just straight up cool. He does whatever he wants and allows his influences to come from anything he enjoys rather than having a bias against what he should or shouldn’t. I admire that mentality.
Having gained the skills that you have now, what do you feel like you need to improve in?
You’re never done learning when it comes to photography because it is more than just learning how to use a camera. Over time, you start noticing small things you want to see in your images. I am constantly being inspired by other photographers and even by people who aren’t photographers. I have seen people who have never heard of a DSLR take better photos than I will ever take in my entire life. I have seen my younger brother capture moments that I would have never thought to try and capture. That’s what is beautiful about photography, there is no end or beginning to learning photography.
Where do you see, this taking you in the future?
I don’t even know! I just want to set a good example for my younger family members and the kids in my community. I used to have this set out goal of starting a clothing line and media company but at this point, I am not trying to force anything. I just plan on working hard and letting things come naturally. In 10 years, I might be acting for all I know.
Where can you be reached?
Frankmoralesphotography.com the website has all my contact info.
What would you tell the people just like us who are skeptical or scared to follow their dreams?
You make your own reality. A month before graduation, I was not be able to get my diploma because I wasn’t doing the things I needed to graduate. I did end up graduating on time, but I remember I had family members upset that they didn’t get invited to my graduation ceremony. None of them knew that it was because I wasn’t going to graduate. Still no one even knows how close I was to not graduating. It’s something that I didn’t want people to know. Not even a year later I am living my dreams. I’m now into my second semester in college. I just got back from doing some work in Chicago. I’ve photographed and met a majority of my favorite artist. Life can change so quickly and that can be in a positive or a negative concept, it’s just a matter of going after something.
Last modified: 01/10/2017