Arts Freshest Faces: Stow Kelly

Written by: Samantha Stemmer

Location: Wilmington, NC

Via Instagram @stowkelly

In March of 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic and life as we knew it would never be the same. The world received orders to stay at home, isolate ourselves, wear masks, and anything an individual could do to slow the spread was prioritized. Most Americans moved work to inside their homes (virtually), frontline and essential workers risked their lives daily, and thousands struggled with job loss. Yet from this tragedy, something beautiful emerged like a phoenix from the ashes: connection. 

Being unable to experience touch and physical connection, people began to connect with one another in other ways. Social media provided the most common way to relate and communicate with others. The widespread dependency on social media offered a huge opportunity for growth. Throughout quarantine many artists have not only been discovered but gone viral, such as singer and songwriter Mxmtoon with the hit song “Prom Dress.” Tatiana Bruening, who by organizing photo-ops with well-known TikTok stars, earned over 1.5 million followers and the story doesn’t stop there. 

Via Instagram @stowkelly

 In Wilmington, North Carolina, local photographer Stow Kelly, the first featured guest of “Arts Freshest Faces,” decided that the pandemic was going to work for him, not against. Stow Kelly has around five thousand followers on Instagram (@stowkelly) and describes himself as a “career centered person.” The young artist decided that, as a result of being in a pandemic, he was going to push past his normal comfort zone to discover what he was truly capable of. 

Born in Nassau, Bahamas the 21-year-old photographer moved to Charlotte, North Carolina when he was around 8 years old. Six years later, Stow Kelly found himself behind his grandmother’s old camera taking photos of all his friends. After high school, Kelly chose to attend University of North Carolina Wilmington because of their Film Studies program.  He is currently taking a gap year and looking to potentially transfer to The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising or The Fashion Institute of Technology. Kelly wants to expand his artistic abilities and his current method for connecting with possible clients is direct messaging through Instagram setting up photo shoots with them. “I’m not really a people person, which comes as a shock for most people, but through photography I’ve really come out of my shell. I just started [direct messaging] people saying, ‘Yo I’m a photographer, and I would love to take pictures of you, would you allow me to do that?’” said Kelly, and direct messaging potential clients has proven to be successful for him. 

Via Instagram @stowkelly

Kelly landed a shoot with TikTok and Instagram influencer, Riley Hubatka, who has over 8 million followers between the two platforms. A shoot with Polina Sladkova, a Russian YouTuber with half a million subscribers, produced some of Kelly’s most liked content. While these photo-ops generated lots of traffic to the photographer’s page, he explained that his favorite shoots “are the ones where the models are also invested and our creative energies meld together, creating a weird harmony that makes the pictures turn out ten times better.”

Via Instagram @stowkelly

During the pandemic Kelly started doing studio work and he finds that complying to COVID-19 guidelines is easy because of the intimate setting. He is working on building his portfolio and forming his team which currently consists of his stylist, Julia Wettreich, who has gained a following of her own with half a million followers on TikTok, and his lighting specialist, Imad Jackson, who is also an aspiring rapper and Kelly’s best friend. 

Moving forward Kelly aims to transition into the film industry. Although Kelly has a love for photography, he does not see it as his lifelong passion. He plans to move to West Hollywood within the next five years and work toward being a director of photography for films. Ultimately Kelly said he would love to be a producer, mentioning that he aspires to a career similar to Bob Iger. 

Via Instagram @stowkelly

As for now, Kelly is staying busy taking photographs, building connections, and developing his brand. For those just starting out Kelly explained that “my best advice is consistency and communication. Connections are everything however, the more people you get to know the harder it is to stay connected, but as long as you keep track of them, your network will grow.” Stow Kelly is truly a force to be reckoned with and we look forward to seeing everything this promising individual will accomplish.

NBA All-star Game and All Stars Riddled with Discrepancy

Written By: William Morales

Location: All Star Weekend;  Atlanta, GA

 

Every year since 1951, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has selected the top 24 individuals in the league to participate in the All-Star Game. For the first time in history, some of the all-stars do not want to play. Some of the biggest names in basketball, including Lebron James, Kawhi Leonard, De’Aaron Fox, have publicly stated their discrepancies with the upcoming event in Atlanta.

 

The biggest name in the league and one of the All-Star Game captains, Lebron James, had a word or two for the NBA:

“I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year,” James said after recording a triple-double in the Lakers’ 114-93 win over the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on Thursday. “I don’t even understand why we’re having an All-Star Game.” (The Guardian) 

(Via Getty Images)

 

Lebron later expressed his concerns are due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the league’s problem with having an All-Star Game throughout the first two months of the season. The front-runner for MVP also called the event “a slap in the face” and mentions he will miss his 5-day break that was going to be in place without the game. 

 

Chris Paul, an All-Star Game reserve, also had his own two cents to put in. Paul agrees with Lebron, however he has also taken into consideration the opinions throughout the league: 

“I’m sure I’m not the only guy in the league that lives without their family. So, guys look at that break as an opportunity to see their families. It’s a lot of different things going on right now. But you just hope that guys understand that decisions that are being made – especially as far as, the union has always got the full body of players in mind. But emotions happen. Guys have feelings. And you’ve got to be able to express them. And I respect that.” (ClutchPoints)

Chris Paul is the President of the National Basketball Players Association, so he works diligently to oversee approximately 450 players. He has worked with the NBA to explain these views, but at the end of the day, the All-Star Game has been viewed as the best option at this time. Chris Paul discussed the ins-and-outs of these ideas to Lebron, Steph Curry, and other all-stars. 

These concerns are of high priority for the NBA; when the literal face of the NBA, Lebron James, states his problems with a decision, it will cause upheaval through the basketball community. One day after Lebron showed a lack of compliance, De’Aaron Fox, star point guard for the Sacramento Kings, did the same:

“If I’m going to be brutally honest, I think it’s stupid… Obviously, money makes the world go round, so it is what it is.” (NBCSports)

(Via Getty Images)

Fox also complained about the idea of having an All-Star Game if the league clearly wants the players to continuously stay healthy. He says, “We have to wear a mask and do all this for a regular game”, and questions why even host the event. He makes valid points, although they may have been somewhat abrasive. 

 

The largest mumbling around the league was mentioned by De’Aaron Fox and is also pretty obvious to the NBA fanbase: The All-Star Game revolves around entertainment and enjoyment, as it truly doesn’t mean much, but it does bring in boatloads of money. In the most recent All-Star Game, 8 million viewers tuned in and with advertisements, the NBA and TNT each received a share of $24 million earned. The apprehension with the All-Star game includes both the health and the money being made. The players will be participating, but the real question is: How many of the players will have their head in the game?

BEHIND THE LENS: THE HEROES BEHIND THE VISION

IG: @iamskit

  The social media platform has witnessed an explosion of quality visual content in the past few decades. The images and videos circulating the media have shown great change from what was to what currently is. Behind these high definition images and moving visuals that we see in commercials, movies, fashion shows, music videos, reality and musicals, are individuals who dedicate their time, talent and skill set to ensure that not only are there images and videos to share and enjoy in the digital media world; but their work is top notch.

Saying that photographers and videographers are important to the creative process is an understatement! Because we are visual creatures, society depends on photographers and videographers to fascinate us with the end result of the creative process. 

IG: @dreamsovereverything_

The Vision Room is a creative platform where we come together to give life to the social media space using ourtalents and skill sets. We contribute our individual skills and expertise to the creation of various social media content so the photographers and videographers at The Vision Room are an integral part of a brand such as ours. At The Vision Room many aspects of creativity such as blogging, editing, podcasting, social media influencing and entrepreneurship are born; but photography and videography are the heartbeat and pulse of social media creation here.

Although, photographers and videographers are not the faces you see in front of the camera; but their work behind the camera is crucial.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PHOTOGRAPHERS AND VIDEOGRAPHERS TO THE CREATIVE PROCESS

THEY PLAY A CRITICAL ROLE IN THE CREATION OF CONTENTS THAT HELP TO PROJECT, PROMOTE AND REVAMP THE DIGITAL PRESENCE OF OUR AND THEIR CLIENTS. 

IG: @mal.clarkk

One of the goals of The Vision Room is to help our clients not only find footing in their individual industries, but to help them establish a successful niche in their respective industries with an outstanding public image. The Vision Room creates amazing and competitive content that will project and draw the target audience, giving them an edge over the competition. 

These contents include images and videos that help capture and retain the audience’s attention to the message(s) shared in the contents which can only be made possible by a job well done by our talented photographers and videographers or a collaboration done with freelancers or other media companies. 

IG: @air.mcm

THEY BRING LIFE TO OUR CREATIVE CONTENTS.

Truth be told, without images and videos, creative contents would be boring and bland words (written or audio) incapable of capturing and sustaining the attention of the audience for a long time. Without images and videos to go along with the written and audio, contents would be tasteless, monotonous and uninteresting to the audience.

Regardless of how far we go to create articles and posts for clients, if we don’t support them with unique, attractive images and videos created by photographers and videographers, we would not be able to completely satisfy our clients’ needs as we should. 

THEY HELP THE AUDIENCE UNDERSTAND OUR CLIENTS’ MESSAGE.

IG: @r0b3rtx

Another way that our photographers and videographers at The Vision Room are outstanding is how they assist our clients to develop and relay their message effortlessly. 

Again because humans are visual, images and videos give us a better understanding of what the brand/business is sharing, not just the message, but the idea behind the message. Hence our photographers and videographers go out of their way to provide the relevant images and videos that emphasizes our clients’ message appropriately. 

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The Vision Room would like to thank all the different freelancers and media teams that have participated, worked out of, or collaborated within our media team (space). Your hard work does not go unrecognized. We will continue to spread light on the creators behind the lens.

Elf Sack Clothing at the Nolcha Shows at NYFW

 

The Nolcha Shows held their 11th week-long show at the NYFW event, where they partnered with FashionUnited to present independent fashion designers for the spring/summer 2020 collection. Still living up to the reputation of showcasing exciting independent designers, the show featured designers like Elf Sack, Gravitas, Aranyani, Kavenliu Dimor, Acid NYC, etc. Also in attendance were bloggers, notable fashion celebrities and artists one of whom was Steph Lecor- an influential artist with impeccable fashion taste. The show included a runway display on September 7th featuring interesting clothing and accessories and an after-party at the end of the week’s event. 

Elf Sack, a brand known for its vitality and passion combined with bold storytelling expression displayed their pieces telling a wonderful story of fashion and astronomy. The bold expressions brought out this season perfectly epitomizes the brand’s dream since it’s opening in 2006. Elf Sack wants to portray clothing as entertainment and culture. This year’s collection was inspired by a fusion of the Chinese zodiac animals and gothic theme from royal patterns of western culture. The fashion expression of their team gives an experience of culture while meeting different needs. 

The collection made use of comfortable textures through the fabric as well as patterns. Lace, chiffon, and silk were featured all over the collection, creating a delicate yet bold outlook. This brand stands out because of their ability to tell a story that transports you into a different time or a fantasy.

A favorite from this collection is the pink shirtdress which displayed a whimsical expression of culture and contemporary sports fashion. This look maintained a youthful yet artistic theme that blended to the spirit of the collection and stood out at the same time. The shirt-dress also featured interesting details like feathers added to the sleeve maintaining a feminine touch. Paired with darker pants, the designers were able to create a layered feeling, like there was more to it than meets the eye. 

 

 

What really unified the collection and earned the standing ovation that it received was the creative intermingling of colors and art. Soft pastel colors used as a backdrop for such a strong display created a fine complement of each other so that you do not miss one while admiring the other. Overall, the collection maintained modesty, creativity, balance, and culture giving everything that the Elf Sack brand is known for. 

The Elf Sack Spring Collection is streetwear with sparkles of femininity. Everything to look for in streetwear, wearability but with a bit of fantasy. Kudos to Elf Sack!! Definitely one of the most noteworthy collections at the Nolcha 2019. 

Oh by the by…the gifts handed out by the brand were absolutely lovely, like the sock featured on the runway. 

MTV AWARDS: Newark Is For Creatives

Newark is a city known for a variety of reasons including hosting the famous sports team New Jersey Devils and birthing so many stars that have made the city a point of reference. Whether that’s actors, musicians, and fashion icons, Newark has its fair share of representatives. The MTV Awards is a case in point and had Newark’s creative sons take over the party. Such was the style and creativity that Prince Derek Doll, interviewing the celebrities and Phil the photographer, working the red carpet, oozed at the ceremony. 

The clothes, the style and a whole lot more are nothing without the right persona to complete it. Further, a look that’s stunning in itself and fits the perfect profile for publicity deserves spectacular hands and eyes behind a camera to capture one for the ages. These sons of Newark not only grabbed the headlines but made statements with their talents and of course, sheer looks. What better way to represent where you’re from especially when it’s the city playing host to the awards? 

Performers at the show included acts from Taylor Swift, Lizzo, Camilla Cabelo, Big Sean, A$ap Ferg, and others. Comedian Maniscalco gave the show an air of variety with his awesome performance hosting the Awards. But the center of attraction was Newark and how she performed and embraced the limelight. 

IAMSKIT: Working The Red Carpet 

Phil the photographer also known as @iamskit , noted for exquisite photos of stars and artists including 

  • Dave East
  • Kenneth Faried. Basketball player for Houston Rockets 
  • Teyana Taylor
  • Drake. Foremost artist and entrepreneur 
  • Migos
  • Big Sean
  • Tori Brix
  • Yukon 

Phil is also a Newark native who reps the city and New Jersey as a whole with his unique style of photography. 

Phil the photographer also has a goal to go into film production. Not so bad for someone well established in the art of producing outstanding images. 

The Avid Professional 

Phil learnt to be the consumate professional from the Miami International University. There he studied the craft of digital media film and photography and has being shooting for five years. No doubt his skills developed through years of experience, coupled with his education served him well on the Red carpet during the VMAs. 

Something Bigger 

Ever the character and cheerful personality, Phil has his sights set on making the developing a creative center for kids where they can hone their skills and explore their potential. An initiative where kids can look up to stars above them that have gone on to make Newark a place to reckon with. 

Prince Derek Doll

Effusive Style

Singer and songwriter Derek Doll stole some looks, including bemused one but as far as fashion goes (yes, there were inexplicable ones), he pulled it off in some style. Sporting a bodysuit, he arrived with a composed look. His suit had panels revealing some skin and a feather coat. It’s worth knowing that the feathers, numbering 100 (bird feathers, that’s is) were matching colors to the black attire. To drive home his point and fashion sense was a pair of embossed black booties complemented with buckle closures. 

With a high-flying style that’s undoubtedly captivating, it’s easy to lose focus on other parts of his body or attire. Sporting jewelry that was unique, he had a good job also done on his hair. His eyelashes weren’t bad either and that’s a huge compliment to his stylist 

The impact of his dress sense and outfit resonated for quite the distance and he was placed on number 8 on Essence’s Top 25 Best Dressed list. Not bad for a rapper. That position made him the highest-ranking male on the VMAs red carpet. This feat is sure to continue as Derek has asked his teeming fans to tag designers, stylists, and photographers they’d like him to collaborate with on his next event. 

He also landed on the number eight spot of the daily beast’s Top 9 on Instagram between notable figures like Little Nas X and Todrick. 

His Interviewees 

One of the stars he interviewed on the red carpet was JuJu Castenada, a reality TV star and author. Even though many thought she was Gabriella Union, Derek was proud to have her speak to him. Derek was won over by JuJu’s high and sleek ponytail and duly acknowledged her style. Also, he described the session as “a dream”. Not just for being selected as a reporter at the VMAs but also to walk the red carpet before the entire world. It was akin to being breathless or flush with adrenaline, and he proceeded to thank Teshaun Glover and the Newark Times for facilitating his presence at the show. 

Derek’s Collaborators 

MUA (Makeup Artist) – McW hands (@mcwhands) 

Prince Derek’s stunning look was due largely to McW hands who brought out his beauty and unique qualities. Every touch and glimmer came down to the smallest detail and McW hands weren’t fazed by it all. It’s a tribute to them that Derek dazzled on the red carpet. 

Wardrobe – Eric Jernigan (@princee45) 

Everyone must have wondered where such a flamboyant attire came from. They are from the stables of Eric Jernigan and it is certain that’s not the last to be heard of them. It must have taken a creative mind to get something as form-fitting as that cloth on to a star like prince Derek. Well with both being ‘princes’ in their own right, it’s no wonder their collaboration produced this magic. Eric Jernigan is also a native of Newark and his link-up with Derek is symbolic of the town ruling over such an event like the MTV Awards. It makes you wonder where the idea of 100 bird feathers came from. Derek or Eric? Either way, it was downright creative. 

Hair – @sedrix.b

Sporting a curly and high-like afro with a brown color, what Derek had on was like a crowing feature to his overall look. 

Jewelry – Marie Antionette Yarrell

The blings were as outstanding and no doubt carried a message because they were pieces of art and were complementary to the attire as well as the personality of the wearer – Prince Derek Doll. 

Shoes: @caperobbin

Derek’s shoes or rather boots are from the range of Cape Robbin boots. Equally as black as his bodysuit, the boots did showcase his taste in fashion. They looked totally cool on him. AEmbossedblack boots with buckle closures would ultimately look great on a star like him. 

Photo Credits

Chances are you’ve come across host of images over social media shots by many photographers at the MTV Awards. Some of the brands responsible for show-stopping photos, including those of Prince Derek Doll include… 

  • Jim Spellman /filmmagic 
  •  Wirelmage
  • Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for MTV
  • A/V Production: @theafterpartyradioshow

How Newark Performed 

Hosting its first MTV Awards show, Newark performed admirably (the water protest aside). With notable personalities from the city and media outlets gracing the occasion to make it the success it was. 

Prince Derek Doll may not originally be from Newark but it’s one he identifies as home and which as returned the love in equal measures. He’s seen as the quintessential, outrageous, one-off fashion star coupled with his hip-hop roots, although that wasn’t the taking point on the red carpet. 

On the flip side, Phil covered and worked the red carpet with aplomb and his list of clients is only set to rise with the kind of images he guarantees through professionalism and expertise. 

In all, it was one hell of a show and a great addition to the area and no doubt Newark will keep playing host to more shows in the future. 

 

It was a night that reinforced the fact that Newark is here to stay as a city of stars. With personalities like prince Derek Doll and Phil the photographer amongst others, there’s no stopping the creative movement.