noun || yəNG ˈhefā
Amandla Baraka is a photographer and founder of FG-SC.
YJ: What’s your current hustle?
AB: My hustle is photography.
YJ: Has what you’re doing now been a life-long interest?
AB: No. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do exactly when I was a kid, but I knew it had to be creative. Or at least fun for me. All through high school I thought I wanted to be a fashion journalist. I was an editor for the fashion column of my high school news paper. I wrote a very passionate college essay about my dream to be a great journalist. I majored in journalism for half of my time at Howard…then I realized journalism was too structured for me. As a visual writer I thought film would be dope, but the major was closed so I settled for PR and Graphic Design.
YJ: When did you realize you could succeed in your (current) respective field?
AB: Honestly I’ve never had a moment where I thought, ‘yeah, I could succeed at photography’. I’ve just been moving and working with my head down and hoping for the best outcome.
YJ: What do you think is unique about your creative process?
AB: Not sure, because I don’t know how my process is the same. I will say that I am incredibly scatterbrained, so if I don’t organize my thoughts into highly detailed spreadsheets nothing is getting done. In my mind, anything is attainable with the right formula. All creative endeavors are just X factors. Solving for X.
YJ: How do you "practice" your craft?
AB: I read a lot. I keep ordering photography books. Life hack: I’ve been googling college photography course syllabuses and ordering those books (the ones I can afford). Also, I had the opportunity to teach young kids in a summer program at Rutgers basic photography and that was a great refresher. I had to figure out how to explain the exposure triangle to high schoolers and turns out they were just as into it as I was. Ha! That was special.
YJ: What would you say to someone who may think that their talent is not an ideal career path?
AB: I would literally tell them to stop it. Everything is attainable with the right mindset. Just stay focused, keep pushing forward, and expect to mess up a lot.
YJ: What’s been your favorite collaborative project thus far? And why?
AB: My favorite project was one I did with my buddy Chasidy (@_bigchassss) and my favorite couple Laquann and Matt. We dressed them up and the resulting images were breathtaking. Why are we not all swooning more over the delicacy and beauty in men? Collaboration can be really groovy with the right folks.
YJ: What are you still looking to achieve?
AB: I want to make movies, fam.
For more of Amandla, follow her here.
Photography by Amandla Baraka.
Edited by: Tyler Johnson