Today we’d like to introduce you to Willie Kinnebrew III.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Willie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was first introduced to photography through my parents at a very young age. They had a collection of film cameras. They always snapped pictures of my three sisters and I. My mom had a box of Polaroids of her and my dad when they were younger. I found it very interesting to see how a photo that was over 20 years old of them still be tangible and maintain its vintage quality. It planted a seed of curiosity in my mind.
The beginning of my sophomore year in High school, the big question my family asked me was ”what do you want to be when you grow up?”. I wanted to be a basketball player, but it was super short. Then, there was photography. Something I was a little familiar with. Photography was always in the back of my mind whenever I thought about future careers. One day after school, I came home to everything missing in my home. Someone robbed us and stole the TV’s, my PlayStation 3 (which was my whole life) plus other valuable items. So, my mom and I moved from Hollywood to Fort Lauderdale. Around this time, I still had photography in the back of my mind. Since I lost my console, I thought maybe I should pursue photography. I was 14 years of age in the process of all of this. Instead of getting a new PlayStation 3, I saved up my allowance and purchased a cheap canon camera. That’s when I decided to begin my journey with photography. I took pictures of insects, flowers, buildings, strangers. Anything that caught my eye. I created a mini portfolio and took my work to Instagram/Twitter where my marketing skills began to develop. In the middle of my sophomore year in High school, the new place we just moved into, had mold growing in the air conditioner vents (prior). The mold was contaminating half the house. It got so bad, we had to move (Again) out to avoid any health issues. This time we had nowhere to go. I had to transfer schools (2nd time) and live a different lifestyle. I was homeless going to a new school with a new camera. That was my life. I had to make the best out of that. At this new school, I made new friends and I used them as test models to enhance my skills every day. It was good enough to forget what I was going through. I promoted my work consistently in hopes to get booked with the pictures I was taken at school, but no luck. I didn’t let that stop me though. I maintained my grades (I was a B average student). I worked 50 times harder on my craft. I was dedicated to a greater good and preserved through that rough period in my life until it was over. After the madness, we moved into a new apartment in Coral Springs with no problems. A fresh start.
A year later (we already moved into a new apartment), I transferred schools my junior year (for the 3rd time) in Coral Springs. Life was better. I was still consistent with photography and promoting my work. The new school I attended, people were familiar with who I was through Instagram. I was “The new photography kid.” It felt weird/good to be recognized by people who were fans of my work. My work was so good, it caught the eyes of the yearbook teacher. She loved my vivid portrayal of portraits. She ended up making me the head photographer for the yearbook (2016-2017). I was able to meet a lot of people and work on my social skills. I stayed at the same school my junior and senior year. I graduated with many accomplishments. I had scholarships for AP Photography, had my work published at Museums and won many awards.
Fast-forward to now (2019), I’m a full-time freelance photographer with my first photo-book in the works, my first showcase in July where I’ll be showcasing new work and selling prints. I work with brands, local models, and anyone looking to do a fun/creative photo-shoot! It’s a blessing to be in this position.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It hasn’t been a smooth road. I sacrificed everything for this. I lost a lot of friends, fell out with some family, missed birthdays. I spent a lot of time alone educating myself every day. Anything that wasn’t benefiting me was seen as a waste of time. I struggled with anxiety and depression along the way. Not being confident in myself or my work. Anxious that I wasn’t good enough. For me, it’s because I know where I want to be, and I know I’m not anywhere near there yet. I’d constantly compare my work to what other people were creating. Finally, I started to not compare my work because I realized how dope I already was. I’m in my own lane just trying to inspire. I had to grow and realize the limitless potential I possess. But it’s not exactly easy to always be content with your work in my opinion. You are your worst critic. It’s a work in progress as a creative.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I’m a freelance photographer based in South Florida. I photograph music events, brands, studio work, and whatever event requires a photographer. I specialize in portrait & editorial photography. I’m known mostly for my bold, vibrant beauty in portrait photography. As a creative, I’m most proud whenever I show my clients the final edits and they go crazy. Nothing beats the feeling of seeing a satisfied client. What sets me apart from others is my energy at my photo-shoots. I promise you every moment is memorable. I’m the photographer that’ll get out there and show the model how to hit that crazy pose we need. There are no rules when it comes to getting the perfect shot. Shooting with me, you’ll be able to look back at the pictures and visually see the shenanigans during the shoot and be like “Wow, I remember we both fell while trying to do that silly kicking pose!” Moments like that are unforgettable.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite memory from childhood would have to be the summer of 2009. My dad bought me a new video game for Christmas (Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2). It was winter break, and my friends received the same game from their parents. Staying up all night playing the game, talking trash on the mic with a blanket over my head because I wasn’t supposed to be awake at 3 AM. Simple times.
- Website: www.imagesbywillk.com
- Email: email@example.com
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- Twitter: @Imagesbywill