"My aspiration in life is to travel so that I can experience other parts of the world and be exposed to what’s really out there, rather than painting an image based off what the media says."
Model Citizen Media provides a platform to recognise fashion models, photographers, designers, makeup artists, hair stylists, creative directors, bloggers, stylists, and labels around the world. Every day, we feature an individual on Model Citizen Interviews. People get to know each of them - their hopes, challenges, aspirations and inspirations in life.
Please tell us about yourself.
I’m a photographer from Miami, based in Atlanta. Fun fact about myself is that I go by Deja Iman because that is the nickname that was given to from my grandmother and family. My first name “Deja” actually means "Already, remembrance" in French, and my middle name “Iman” means "Faith" in Arabic. Not only has being a photographer help put my ideas into physical existence, it also plays a huge role in documenting my travels to different cities and countries. Even though I’m self-taught when it comes to photography and editing, I’m very open-minded and I am always looking for ways to grow in all aspects. Currently, I’m in school majoring in Computer Information Systems, but I also want to further my knowledge and skills as a photographer by taking some courses. When most people hear the term “Photographer” now a days, they envision someone with just a camera, taking pictures of just people. Although, some photographers choose to just “shoot” human subjects. I choose not to be one-dimensional or limit myself, so I’ve specialized in portrait, landscape, architectural, fashion, advertising, wedding, and concert photography. With its many genres, I’ve obtained different skills that I apply to every photo shoot that I do. One day, I’m looking to showcase my craft and start doing runway photography. Presently, I work with Nice Entertainment by doing photo booths at weddings and working with them has allowed me to learn and expand. I’ve also had the opportunity to collaborate with amazing models, fashion agencies, stylists, jewelry makers, and have received a contract with a company in the past.
What is your aspiration in life?
I have a passion for helping others by giving and being a service to them, listening to music, writing, creating art, painting, hiking / exploring different trails and areas, and traveling which all inspire my photography even more because all of these things help me elevate, and keep my creative juices flowing. My aspiration in life is to travel so that I can experience other parts of the world and be exposed to what’s really out there, rather than painting an image based off what the media says. Traveling helps me water my spiritual garden, and helps me keep a clear mind while also keeping in mind what I want to do and what I want out of my life experience. For instance, when I recently traveled to Virginia by myself I learned so much more about myself and about my surroundings during that 8 hour drive, and that also allowed me free time to gather my thoughts, and continuously create ideas for future projects.
How do you stay inspired?
My inspiration in life is my grandmother, Edith. She is my inspiration, because she has traveled to almost all of the United States, Panama, Hawaii, Jamaica, Cuba, which is where she’s from, and other countries. A few years ago, she was battling cancer. However, that is not the only reason why she has inspired me. One day, after one of her many chemotherapy sessions, she had enough. She stated, "I am not taking anymore chemo because if anything, this chemo will kill me before this cancer. I am not sick and I will not claim that. I will make it out of this hospital." And she did exactly that! She has taught me how to properly mold my mindset right for success to achieve anything that I want. Things that motivate me are the close family and friends that I have traveled with in my life. Although, I like to be around people, I also keep myself inspired by meditating, and taking the time to isolate myself from all things to focus on my inner self. But ultimately, the thought of growth in oneself, gives me that extra motivation to keep aspiring and obtaining my goals.
What is the most challenging part of your profession?
I would have to say that the most challenging part of my profession is when I'm taking pictures somewhere that is dark, or has limited lighting such as a concert. With cases like this it typically requires more, and requires a lot of playing around with the shutter, speed, and aperture to get everything just right. It's never impossible! I definitely appreciate the challenges, because they expose me to things that I did not know I was capable of.
We all make mistakes we wish we could take back. Tell me about a time you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
When you’re working with a large number of customers, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. How do you go about prioritizing your customers’ needs?
As my art retained some attention, recently I’ve been working on multiple projects. To prevent myself from being overwhelmed when working with a large number of customers, I find it more efficient to do it on a first-come, first-served basis. I implement great communication skills with everyone. For example, creating meetings with them so that we can figure out how both of our visions and ideas can be seen. Scheduling helps a great deal with my customers, by letting them know my availability. I also make sure to continuously check up on my customers, with their needs, and always confirm plans made as sometimes they do change.
Tell me about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities.
An example of a time that I had to be very strategic in order to meet all of my clients’ top priorities was when I had to get a model's head and full body shots sent to her in a one day turn around; right after taking her pictures. This required me to go through 900 to 1,000 pictures, separate the good from the bad batch, and then tackle the touching up process all in one day. A few dilemmas that I faced were the window of time I had to edit. I had class that morning; work at 3:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. . At that time I was living with my parents, and rule was that I had to be home by 11:00 P.M. on weekdays, and to top it all off, we just moved into a new house around that time so there wasn't any internet yet. I found ways to work on it throughout the day, by going through the pictures before I had to head to class, also during my 1 and a half hour break before I had to go into work, and then during my 15 minute break at work. Once I got off of work, I headed straight to the nearest Starbucks and knocked out as much as I could before they closed. Of course at this point, there was no way that I was going to be home by 11:00 that night. After Starbucks all that I was left with was a few more pictures to touch up and then actually sending them off to the model. The other dilemma was the fact that I needed Wi-Fi to upload the pictures successfully into the folder before I send it. The most logical thing that I could think of at the time was to just go back to my job, sit in the parking lot, and see if I could still connect to the Wi-Fi. I was able to do so and completed my top priorities by 3:00AM. That night, I ended up having to sacrifice my bed, and ended up sleeping in my car close to my house. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices.
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