Nº21: CONVERSATIONS WITH KADEEM JOHNSON
Photos By Dale Algo
Kadeem Johnson is a full-time model agent and a part-time street photographer. Born and raised in The Bronx, Kadeem describes his environment as a great inspiration for what he’s currently doing with his craft. “Being in The Bronx felt like I was in the West Indies. My mom is from Belize and my dad is from Dominica. All my friends were from the West Indies. The culture, the food impact how I am as an adult now.”
Kadeem's Instagram (@kjohn_lasoul) showcases his work, his lifestyle and most importantly how he rocks his clothing with confidence. He is not necessarily trying to fit in but instead, creates an entirely new wavelength that makes his work speak for itself. Kadeem brings the quote 'experience is life's greatest teacher' into his photos and the journey they tell.
What inspired you to become a street photographer? And how did you end up dabbling as a model agent?
Street photography was always a hobby of mine. I’ve always been interested in street photography so it went from me shooting with a phone to using a camera. Then I started teaching myself what I should know about photography and still teach myself to this day. I was always inspired by street photographers like Bill Cunningham and other great street photographers, inspired me on how I shoot now. As far as the modeling agency I've always wanted to find the next “IT” male model.
Looking at your Instagram, I can see you’re very much into fashion. How would you describe your style?
It’s very throwback, my wardrobe is inspired by the 60s 70s, and some from the 80s.
How did your environment as a kid influence what you’re doing right now?
My mom, she influenced me the most. She's very influential. She always pushed to do whatever I found interest in and liked doing. Like when I was 7 years old and she knew I wanted to be a fashion designer and caught me cutting up my sister’s dolls clothing making dresses and she just supported everything I did. Shea’s just always positive.
I also see that you enjoy traveling. How would you say that has helped your photography skills?
Traveling has played a huge role in my life. It’s seeing a whole different world outside of New York City. I only started traveling a few years ago, so having that experience changed my eye drastically. Seeing colors more, depth better, seeing different cultures and people outside of NY has helped me a lot in progressing with my craft.
It’s great that you’re working out right now. How do you get up each day and keep moving forward even through your slumps?
In regards to being healthy or being successful?
Um, how about we do both? In regards to being healthy and being an entrepreneur.
In regards to being healthy, it’s my fear of being out of shape *laugh*. When it comes to the hustle of being an entrepreneur, what keeps me motivated is my family, my mom my sister – they want me to continue to do better for the betterment of themselves.
What’s your favorite piece of clothing In your closet right now?
My bright red Vans. I only got them like a month ago and I wear them almost every day. They go with basically anything I wear, even though they’re bright red. It’s a pop of color.
What would you say is the greatest challenge of creating an environment before you do a photo session?
My greatest challenge is my inability to change and try something new. I naturally don’t like change but I push myself to try something different and believe in my ideas.
What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your work?
To be self-satisfied. I don’t want to care about what other people think about my photography. When it comes to my modeling agency, I want to find that male model that will be the next big thing.
What would you want to be remembered by when it comes to your work?
My eye for texture.