• Tifarah Naava

Thru the Lens | Corey Reese

Updated: Oct 16


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We all have someone we admire, look up to, work we appreciate or just simple love. I'm no different. Besides interior design, drawing, and painting...I admire photography. I really love the older film cameras and how they create a certain tone, feel, and I was interested in the developing process in the dark rooms. That desire became reality when I attended summer camp one summer. There was a course for photography and I fell in love with it - amongst other things.Unfortunately, I had to pick between my other passions because my parents couldn't afford everything I was interested in. So, I chose my first love - drawing and painting because it was therapeutic for me.

However, that didn't stop me from using disposable cameras and taking pictures anytime I could. When Facebook became apart of my internet life I was able to befriend all kinds of photographers. I also had the pleasure of working with some being that I was a print model. But there were a few, that I could count on one hand I really wanted to work with. Print modeling slowly lead me to film and cameras in an entirely different way. Life has a funny way of doing things like that, lol. And little did I know that almost 4 years ago it was going to do it's thing again.

It was summer in downtown Atlanta, GA, on Peachtree Street, I'm doing behind the scenes photography for a pilot reality TV show. Yes, you heard right... I was doing "photography". It was time to head to another location and I was assigned to one of the DP's (Director of Photography) on set. And being the person I am, I started picking his brain about the camera he was using and any other information related to it. Throughout the day, he was very composed in his demeanor, patient, knowledgeable, open, and secure. There were even moments of witty humorous remarks but not sarcastic the way I can be. If he was tired of my "interrogating" behavior he didn't show it or I was just to oblivious. As I can be sometimes...don't judge me.

Anyway, it was wrapping time at our last location and I over heard someone mention getting their picture taking by him. I thought - is he a photographer too? That would make sense. I asked Corey if he did photography as well, then he handed me his card. It read... Corey Reese Photography ... my heart leap in awe. "Wait, wait, wait"... I said to myself. He can't be the "Corey Reese" on my "Must List for Photographers" ? And in my true oblivious fashion, I asked him if he was that Corey Reese. I told him I have been admiring his style for a few years now on Facebook and he was on my list. Then it dawn on me that I might be coming off as a "groupie" right about now and I needed to chill out.

Let me example. You guys, he's one of my favorites. My personal perspective of his work is that, he has a way of capturing you in a simple, au naturelle, strong and elegant way, even thou you are glam up for the camera. There was a reason he was on my list and there was a certain type of shoot I wanted to do with him. Every artist no matter their field has a signature style. Whether they have discovered it or not, and I love Corey's. After I spent the entire day with him basically, ...his style made sense to me. It's an extension of him authentically. All I can say is wow...isn't life ironic. But what's even better is that a few years later and especially in the last year and half I can call him my mentor and friend. He's intelligent, talented, driven and a handsome person. Sorry, Mrs. Reese but he is and that explains why he modeled before. Okay, Okay, enough of me gushing about Celebrity Photographer and Mentor Corey Reese...just checkout my interview with him below.

Q & A

1. Why did you choose the career path of photographer/Film DP/Producer (director of photography)?

It's funny, It actually chose me in a way. I played college football on a full scholarship and it wasn't until after I didn't make it to the NFL that I gave modeling a try. Playing around in the modeling world landed me in magazines, billboards and more. It wasn't until 2006 that I picked up the camera and by 2008 I was leaving my Corporate Career as a IT Professional to Pursue Photography full time.

2. What or Who inspired you?

I'm inspired by the fact that we have the power to create our own world. Knowing that alone helps me understand if something is not right in my world, I have the power to fix it. So many give that power to an external source... no need blaming others for not having, that only puts you in a position that you can't control outside of yourself.

YOU have the power use it!! 3. How would you describe your style with photography?

I would say my work is very clean, sharp and true to real life. I have the ability to capture someone in their best light not over processed. 4. What would you tell your younger self when it comes to where you are now in life?

I would tell my younger self to believe bigger sooner. Often times we don't know what we have because we're not exposed to the possibilities of what you can actually create.

I would share how to start growing the mind because it's not what you get that makes you valuable it's what you become as a person and skills and lessons you have to learn to get there. Once you own your greatness the wealth will follow.

5. What have been 3 key points in branding yourself and/or building your client base?

3 keys to branding is knowing the problem your brand solves, having a predictable system for attracting the clients with that problem, and of course delivering the solution to that problem in forms of services your brand offers! If you master this, positioning your brand in this way, your service becomes priceless.. This alone is enough to change the game for you. 6. There is a saying " Jack/Jill of all trades, master of none". What are your thoughts on that?

The problem is just that master of none, it's okay to have gifts. In fact the more you try, the more you will discover you're good at, but you have to focus until you get those nails hammered down.... than you can explore other options once the first is running by itself. 7. If you could only choose one, which will it be and why: Photographer, Film Director of Photography or Photography Instructor?

I'm moving into the Photography Mentor as it allows me to help others find their voice and as I create training online it works without me which is golden. Who knew you can build a 100k business in the form of a 8 week training that serves the client at a high level as well... helping them achieve their desired results!! 8. What's one piece of advice you would give to anyone desiring a career in photography?

Spend as much time learning how to market yourself as you do obsessing over new cameras, photoshop tricks and actually learning photography. Learning how to run a business will be the difference of this being a hobby or career.

For more information on Corey Reese visit his site @ coreyreesephotography.com

#naavaartobsession #unveilingnaava #unveilingnaava #photography

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