Q: Please tell us how CreativeSoul Photography was born and what challenges you encountered along the way to success.
A: CreativeSoul Photography was actually born in my mom’s garage. When Regis decided to go to school for photography I decided to learn along with him and we’ve been doing it ever since. One of our biggest challenges in the beginning was finding our own unique style and narrowing down what bought us joy.
Q: What inspired you to work with children? Tell us about how you have empowered a new generation of young people with your thematic styling.
A: We do both private and commercial shoots, so we couldn’t help noticing two starkly different ways our people present themselves through their hair. In private, we were seeing natural hair in all its glory, but in the media black folks – and black children in particular – were still being pictured with hair that was straightened, flattened, or somehow bound. The message was clear: To be perceived as socially acceptable, let alone beautiful, something intrinsic about us had to be changed, altered, diluted. Our children were being told that their natural selves were not aesthetically pleasing. That beauty was about measuring up, not about having your full measure taken. We decided to focus on natural hair to show kid that our hair is beautiful, versatile and powerful.
Q: Do you do the styling and makeup yourselves or do you work with a team?
A: We have an incredible team of stylists that we work with for hair and makeup.
Q: Speak to us about how you help people envision their authentic selves.
A: When parents book sessions with us for their child, the first question we ask the kids is “If you could have the photo shoot of your dreams what would it be?” We ask this because we want to know their hopes, dreams and desires. We use this day as a day for them to truly become what they’ve envisioned for themselves, no matter how big or small that dream may be.
Q: We love your quote ” The me I choose to be” can you tell us how this evolved from your work?
A: Today, kids are constantly bombarded with images of black trauma and negative sterotypes. Our brand continuously tries to promote positive black imagery whether from our first book Glory or now through our children’s book, “The Me I Choose to Be”. In this book we were reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Mae Jemision, “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations”. We wanted black kids to see and feel that they have unlimited possibilities in a world that’s constantly trying to tell them otherwise.
Q: Another strong phrase we have seen from CreativeSoul is “The uplifting ode to the power of potential.” Tell us how you have seen this manifested.
A: As we mentioned, our brand is all about showing kids their potential, power and worth. We hope that they leave feeling more empowered to live out their true potential.
Q: Can you tell us about your world tour?
A: We had already traveled through several states in the US so we eventually decided in the fall of 2016 that it was time to explore other areas of the world. We absolutely love finding new locations and were able to meet some incredible new people along our journey. Kahran also left her full time job in marketing around this time so we had more freedom to explore without time constraints.
Q: Was the Afro Art Project inspired during your World tour?
A: In 2017 we started creating our AfroArt series with an aim to showcase the beauty and versatility of afro hair. This images represent our evolving style at that time as well as beauty, strength, boldness and a rebellion. They represent our journey of breaking through the barriers of societal norms in our own unique way.
Q: Tell us a little about Self-love and how an experience in your studio has changed the perceptions of some of your models.
A: We definitively feel that we’ve created a movement in terms of creating an empowerment space for black kids around the world and a platform where we can display black excellence on a daily basis. We are enabling a generation of future leaders, scientists, entertainers and more who will hopefully have a stronger sense of pride and self-love than many of us had growing up.
Q: What are your thoughts in regard to how your photography has shown the world the inherent beauty of black and brown children?
A: When we first started out, we were simply seeking inclusion – inclusion of more black and brown stories in the industry and media. We were meeting so many amazing kids around the world whose stories were not being told. From young neuroscience experts to youth activists and entrepreneurs, their voices were not being heard. As photographers, we used our creativity to tell their unique stories in interesting ways. It wasn’t enough for us to capture our subjects, but to elevate their stories and to make the viewer want to learn more about them.
Q: What were some of your favorite projects?
A: Some of our favorite projects to date have been our World Tour, AfroArt Series, and our Princess Project.
Q: Can you share any advice for people who might want to forge a path similar to your own?
A: We would encourage them to not be afraid of creating their own lane and finding their own unique path – regardless of whether it is popular.
Q: What comes next?
A: Next year will be a big year for us. Our next coffee table book, Crowned will be released in June. It’s a fairy tales book filled with our take on existing fairy tales as well as a few new ones of our own. We also have a children’s Black History book releasing in the fall of next year.