Happy #CreativityThursday: Celebrating Photographer Jeff Brooks

Happy #CreativityThursday!

Yesterday I spent time working with Jeff Brooks, an amazing photographer and founder of Photog4Naturals, at his studio in Takoma Park, a groovy part of Washington, DC. Jeff invited me to participate in his natural hair storytelling book and video project. Little did I know when I accepted his invitation that I would have one of the best creative collaborative experiences of my life. Click here to sneak a peek at our work.

Photo Credit: Jeff Brooks of Photog4Naturals
Photo Credit: Jeff Brooks of Photog4Naturals

During our time together, I learned so much about Jeff and his passion for photography,  video, natural hair, and storytelling. He is truly living his purpose as a photographer and entrepreneur. His spirit is grounded in his calling as a connecter and community builder. His creative approach is AWESOME. His photos and videos tell stories that touch your heart and make you look with awe at his divine gifts. He teaches as he shoots (I learned about a photo and video app that is fast becoming my new BFF). Generosity, kindness, and a great sense of humor make him a joy to work with. Visit http://photog4naturals.com to learn more about him.

Photo Credit: Ananda Leeke took the photo of Jeff Brooks. Jeff took the photo of Ananda.
Photo Credit: Ananda Leeke took the photo of Jeff Brooks. Jeff took the photo of Ananda.

PS: Jeff let me take photos of him working during our breaks. Check out one of the photos above. He took the photo of me with my Samsung smartphone camera.

Happy Creativity Thursday: Celebrating Photographer Kofi Handon

Photo Credit: TRUE:xpressionz
Photo Credit: TRUE:xpressionz

Happy Creativity Thursday!

I started February with an artist date to the National Museum of African Art’s Earth Matters celebration and exhibition. It was just what I needed to open my creative heart: spoken word, live DJs spinning groovy music, body art performers, African dancing and drumming, live bands performing incredible music, and an opportunity to be photographed by Kofi Handon, Founder and President of Loves Life Photography.

Photo Credit: Kofi Handon, Founder and President of Loves Life Photography
Photo Credit: Kofi Handon, Founder and President of Loves Life Photography

After I had my photograph taken, I spoke briefly with Kofi about his work. As I listened, I was struck by his humility, kindness, and soulful creative energy. The next day, I visited his web site to learn more about him and discovered the beauty of his photography. I also learned he is a fellow Howardite. So I decided to reach out to him for an interview. Read on to learn why I am celebrating him today and be sure to visit Loves Life Photography online, Facebook, and Twitter.

Photo Credit: Kofi Handon, Founder and President of Loves Life Photography
Photo Credit: Kofi Handon, Founder and President of Loves Life Photography

Q: Thanks Kofi for agreeing to do an interview with me today. I am a huge fan of your photography. Let’s start with a six-word memoir that describes your passions.

KH: Life. Love. Legacy. Beauty. Art. Everlasting.

Photo Credit: Kofi Handon, Founder and President of Loves Life Photography
Photo Credit: Kofi Handon, Founder and President of Loves Life Photography

Q: What is your definition of creativity?

KH: Creativity is allowing yourself to develop or mold your inner artistry naturally.

Photo Credit: Kofi Handon, Founder and President of Loves Life Photography
Photo Credit: Kofi Handon, Founder and President of Loves Life Photography

Q: What do you want people to gain from your photography?

KH: I want people to look at my photographs and remember that given the weight of day-to-day struggles, they should seize moments where the load of life is lightened by smiles, laughter, hidden message, and love.

Photo Credit: Kofi Handon, Founder and President of Loves Life Photography
Photo Credit: Kofi Handon, Founder and President of Loves Life Photography

Q: What lessons have you learned from being creative and a photographer?

KH: I have learned five key lessons.

  • There is beauty in everything.
  • There is no limit to what you can create and do if your heart is in it.
  • There is always something new to learn. The craft of photography doesn’t stop. It will continue to evolve.
  • It’s important to network and partner with others.
  • Stay true to who you are.
Photo Credit: TRUE:xpressionz
Photo Credit: TRUE:xpressionz

Q: What were your top four creative moments in 2013?

KH: I traveled to France, Spain, and Morocco, and chronicled my journey through photographs featuring the various cultures, food, people, and places I visited in January and February 2013. I also shared the photographs with my Facebook community. Shooting the sunset in Essaouira, Morocco was one of my favorite moments.

Traveling to New York City with the Andinkra Group to shoot political activist and artist, Femi Kuti was a great moment!

Another moment was covering Sweet Honey in the Rock at The Howard Theatre while First Lady Michelle Obama was there. I spoke to Mrs. Obama’s assistant and told her I would put together some framed and signed action shots for her since she follows the group and that was one member’s last show in D.C. before retiring.

In November 2013, I did a photo shoot for Maimouna Youssef, a Grammy-nominated  singer, emcee, songwriter and poet. I spent eight hours using and learning all of my equipment.

Monday Musings, Digital Diet Update & Easter Sunday Photos

Photo Credit: Easter Sunday in Dupont Circle #1 by Ananda Leeke

Happy Monday!

What’s happening in your part of the world?

It’s chilly and rainy in DC today.  The photos (above and below) I took on Easter Sunday while taking a walk in my Dupont Circle neighborhood warmed me up. They also reminded me how much fun I’ve been having as I embrace my visual voice with photography on a weekly basis.  Click here to see more photos expressing my visual voice.

Photo Credit: Easter Sunday in Dupont Circle #4 by Ananda Leeke

My digital diet is coming along.  Last week I did a better job of turning off my laptop and HTC EVO smartphone in the evening.  I know my morning running and yoga practice are helping me stay centered.

This week I decided to use Monday and Wednesday as my primary social media days on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, and WordPress.  Wish me luck!

Next week I plan to write a blog about my artist-in-residence work (photos included at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  My blog post will include a poem I wrote and recited at the  Veteran-Civilian Dialogue Project held at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in March.

Enjoy your day and week!

Photo Credit: Easter Sunday in Dupont Circle #3 by Ananda Leeke
Photo Credit: Easter Sunday in Dupont Circle #2 by Ananda Leeke