The Angelenos: Ray


RAY is a man I met through working at a local cafe. He was a regular, and one day he invited me to his place to see what he does for his YouTube channel "Get Crafty Crafty". When I came in, he showed me his setup and was about to film the video featuring an unboxing of his YouTube Silver Play Button award for reaching 100k subscribers. I had the opportunity to ask him a bunch of questions about how he got to where he is today and what it took for him to get there. A really hard worker, this guy is always on his phone or computer, looking for new projects to make for his channel, writing emails, and updating his Instagram for his audience.

One night, we went to grab dinner at a new joint that opened up in town and what was supposed to be just a hangout turned out to be a crazy conversation about getting shit done, not over-thinking anything, and not letting roadblocks slow you down. The phrase of the night was "just do it", as famously coined by Nike and emphasized by Shia LaBeouf. Sometimes we are successful, and many times we aren't, but in the end, you're still doing your craft and creating new things every day, which will eventually lead you to success. I've seen it over and over again amongst peers in other artistic disciplines, where they failed so many times, but through that growth they became successful and define who they are now.  It was really insightful and got me motivated to start shooting my current project, The Angelenos.


The Angelenos

One summer night, I went to the cafe I work at to get a cappuccino at around 9PM after a good dinner. I didn't think that the caffeine would affect me since I drink coffee on a regular basis, but for some reason, it was surging through my veins and would not let my brain go to sleep that evening.

Alone and wide awake, thoughts were running through my head at a million miles a minute. I eventually began to think about how I haven't been shooting lately and that I've been so comfortable working as a barista that I forgot that I am first, and foremost, a photographer. Hell, I went to fucking art school to get a piece of paper validating my abilities to make great images (and paid a shitload of money too). How could I let all of that, the three years of blood, sweat, tears, and growth, go to waste?

Then it hit me. My new year's resolution for 2015 was to reconnect or get to know better those around me and those whom I have/begun to lose touch with. Why not turn this into a portrait project too? I can get 1-on-1 time with each person, even if it's for 20 minutes, and just hang out, talk, and get some cool portraits? Who doesn't want a decent photograph of themselves? Sure, the year is almost at an end, but that doesn't mean it's too late.

So for the next year, I will be making portraits on a weekly basis, publishing a minimum of two per week. If, at the end of 52 weeks, I still have more people I want to photograph, then I will continue this series until I am completely satisfied.

Please follow me in my journey through my blog and my Instagram page @ezekiel_lux #THEANGELENOS