Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Photographer's Passion Takes Him From One Coast to Another: The "Almost Branded" Interview With Rodney Williams Itier

You've probably heard the term "birds of a feather flock together."

Or perhaps you know the quote from the great Albert Einstein, "In order to be an immaculate member of a flock of sheep, one must above all be a sheep oneself."

Photography by Rodney Williams Itier

The sentiment behind these flocking statements are proving to be true in 2011 (at least for me). I'm a bird and a sheep and you may be too. Allow me to explain.

I have started to travel more frequently to expand my network while utilizing social media to grow my personal brand. This intense sense of  domestic "wadnerlust" (defined as a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travelexplore the world--or in my case, the United States), has now allowed me to connect with people who share similar views on expanding one's horizons. These "people" and I often ask, "why should we stay in one place and be comfortable while we are still young and life is so short? What will we miss out on if we stand still and never move out of our comfort zones?"

These were the questions I examined with photographer Rodney Williams Itier when we first met in New York City at the Wix Lounge earlier this year.

I'm not sure if it was the fact that Rodney and I share an affinity for sunglasses (not to mention that we are total "arm chair creatives") but I knew there was a reason why Rodney and I became fast friends in New York--we are both Angeleno's in NYC and bloggers. As I discovered more similarities between Rodney and myself (an interest in running long distance races, performing stand up comedy as well as hoodie sweatshirts), I knew I had to interview him and uncover the inspiration for his move from LA to NYC.

Name, Occupation, Location: Rodney Williams Itier, New York City. Photographer, Writer, Whiskey Drinker.  

So, how did your love for photography come about? I was living in Venice Beach, CA with a good friend, Leo Rodriguez, who was an environmental arts student at Otis College. He was always doing interesting projects and I wanted to get involved. At the time, I was making a living as a commercial actor but I wasn't fulfilled creatively so I took some money out of the bank and bought a used Pentax 35mm camera and decided I was going to pursue photography as a legitimate hobby. I went out and shot every classic car that I saw parked on the streets of Venice. I was really into it and tried to shoot from all of these bizarre angles and low and behold, after I had them developed, it turned out that I didn't totally suck. It was then that I realized acting wasn't my passion. Well, I kind of always knew that seeing as I preferred to write more than perform but I really knew it after I saw my work.

"Air Deck" Photography by Rodney Williams Itier

East Coast vs West Coast?
Do I have to choose? If the answer is "yes" then New York is definitely home base. My goal is to earn a loft in Tribeca where I can build a photo studio, work from home, teach myself to cook, host a monthly Karaoke party for my friends and family and settle down with my girlfriend.....but I need to be in Los Angeles from December to April because the winter in New York is just plain foul.

Where can people check out your work?
I get this question a lot and I always tell people the same thing, my professional "non-creative" work can be seen on WireImage or at Getty Images. As for my collection of personal photography, I am reserving the right to withhold until my new website is completed. I do have a blog, http://www.almostbranded.com/ and I have posted a few shots there but my intent for Almost Branded has never been to showcase my work. I am preparing to do my first gallery show in November, I am hoping to attract some influential art collectors who will be merciless so that I can either forge ahead or lick my wounds, shift gears and grow. I am also working on a book project with a talented Art Director so fingers crossed there as well.

AlmostBranded.com, What was the concept behind that?
My blog, Almost Branded, was something that I felt needed to be created as a result of what I was beginning to see as an oversight in the fashion industry--all these trendy brands popping up that pretty much built a name for themselves because they were in "the know" around cities such as Los Angeles and New York and not necessarily popular due to the quality or merit of their designs. Many other designers who were doing great work were overlooked by buyers and I felt strongly that I could create a brand source with the intent to showcase brands in the hopes that exposure through Almost Branded would bridge the sales divide while cultivating the brands I believe in. I soon realized that this blog and idea could encompass film, art, illustration and photography in addition to fashion. I am now at a point where I am working everyday as a photographer but would like to draft a business proposal for my blog because to "do it right" I am going to need editors, web developers, a vertical integration strategist and money to support the effort needed to publish a comprehensive brand source destination aimed at buyers, consumers, students and potential advertisers. That said, if you are reading this and have a desire to be an entrepreneur investor in AlmostBranded.com, let's talk.

So, how can we keep up with you?
Anyone looking to see what I like to shoot for fun can request me on Facebook. Potential clients can email me at r.itier@gmail.com for my quasi portfolio. Follow me on Twitter @razrshrprodney (please disregard my smart ass and obnoxious comments). I use these channels to let people know when my show is dropping and to contribute something of value. This is a pivotal time in cultural arts and social dynamics. That said, if you have the means I implore you to collect, collect and then collect more. Trust me, you'll thank me in ten years. Plus, I would love your support. In fact, support all the artists.

 "Snow Park" Photography by Rodney Williams Itier

Rodney definitely has the support of the Jaclyn Of All Trades and his interview proves he is more than a man on a moving mission--he's made several other changes in his life with regard to his profession such as creating the blog Almost Branded. Rodney is surefire proof that change can be a very rewarding thing.

And so I ask you, are you a bird and a sheep? Are you surrounding yourself around a flock of people that share your same drive....desire to be creative...are you in the company of people that set out to explore new horizons and evolve?

Remember, One person with passion is better than 40 who are merely interested --Tom Connellan

Find friends that ignite your creativity, be open to converse with people who have yet to become your friends. You may find out that you have much more in common than meets the eye......and you may even embark on a friendship that could change your path forever. Follow the right flock and live your best life yet!

Signing off this last Tuesday of March 2011,

The Jaclyn of All Trades  

Have you recently made a move of life changing decision? Share with the Jaclyn of All Trades flock by sharing your story in the comments section below. 

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