"I've been shooting for about 4 years now. I first got started because I found my grandfather's film camera (R.I.P. to him) and just took it with me to school, the skatepark, etc, and just took pictures of stuff I found interesting. I don't even remember the [kind of] camera to be honest."
Kevin Wilson is a photographer. He's driven – a goal of his for 2015 is to continue to work with brands both local and national; 2014 saw a collaboration with Sweden's Stutterheim and he regularly shoots for Durkl – but his vibe is quiet: "I'm just a film photographer to be honest. I'm not that much of a talkative person when it comes to introducing myself, I'm more of a listener." A few months away from 23, he divides his time between work, hanging out and shooting film with his friends, and building his brand one project at a time. The takeaway here is that he's forging a creative career and developing his craft, and he's doing it in that first slice of his early 20s that's otherwise just so easy to waste.
"I just wanna bring different brands from different countries & mix it with DC culture."
V I T A L S T A T S
grew up: Alexandria, VA currently lives: in Southeast DC
shoots with: an Olympus Stylus 35-80 zoom and a Mamiya M645 with an 80mm lens
for breakfast: Frosted Flakes; peaches & cream oatmeal
You work for and create visuals for a few local brands and entities, including Meeps and DURKL. How did those partnerships start?
I started working [at] Meeps because I needed to find a new job. I worked at Busboys & Poets before that and I really didn't enjoy it, nothing personal to [owner] Andy [Shallal] and everyone but it just wasn't my vibe, ya know, & I've always had an interest in retail. I'd been looking for a retail job for a while then and Meeps just so happened to hit me back and hire me. I'm very grateful that they did, and they've shown me a lot about working at a small business. How communication is key. You can't work in a small business and not communicate with each other. If you don't, then nothing will get done and you won't progress. I [also] provide visuals for Meeps's social media.
I got in contact with Durkl almost two years ago. They posted on twitter [that] they were looking for a film photographer in DC, so I sent them my portfolio (some random skate pictures of my friends and just us hanging out) and they liked it. Met 'em the next day at the Toki Underground pop-up at 14th & U and it just started from there. Durkl honestly have done so much for me in a short period of time, and basically mentored & helped point me to the right path. Honestly don't know what I'd be doing right now without them.
You and your friends are Outlettherapy. What's the mission statement for that project?
It started off as my brother's (not blood-related, just good friends) site where he showed his work, then down the line I got involved with it. It's Tyrous aka Ce.Oh aka mr. butterscotch, & and our homie Frank, aka Apt50. Our goal and mission is to create a platform where we let all different types of artists from around the world be able to use our site as an "outlet" to showcase their work.
And what are you working towards with your personal projects?
My goal is just do what I do now on a larger scale. Have my friends model for larger brands, be able to meet and work with people that I grew up admiring. I wanna work with a Japanese brand in 2015. I really enjoy working with brands & in 2014 I worked with [Swedish brand] Stutterheim, it was pretty cool. I just wanna bring different brands from different countries & mix it with DC culture.
TELL ME ABOUT YR PIZZA BOYZ ZINE, AND PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE TELL ME THERE'S AN ISSUE FLOATING AROUND THAT I CAN BUY?
Ha! Well, Pizza Boyz is really just me documenting everything going on with me &; the homies. Originally got the name from my friend Joseph, he started saying pizza boyz and we ran with it. That dude really loves pizza, haha.
K E V I N ' S D A Y
8:30 AM wake up THEN walk the dog THEN watch some skate videos
THEN head to work OR to his girlfriend Fatima's house THEN
hang and shoot pictures with his friends OR go to get some film developed.
What do you get into at night?
Usually at night I'm either going to a show showcasing a local artist, or at home watching Adult Swim and just sending random videos to a group chat. When I'm not working you can find me at Star Pizza Carryout grabbing a Sausage, Egg, & Cheese sandwich with jelly and a Rock Creek Fruit Punch. I don't stay out that late, lol. I'm like an old man...I just enjoy my peace and quiet.
Who's doing work right now in DC that you're excited about?
I'm really excited on Maketto! That project is going to be so crazy when it's finished. I'm excited for everyone I know, to be honest. I have a lot of homies like Mark Custer, Sir E.U., & Nappy Nappa that are just putting out some great work and I'm excited to see what they do next. I'm just excited to see people progress in their art.