We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Facey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, how do you think about risk?
When it comes to taking a risk, I like to make sure the end goal is something that wouldn’t keep me up at night. After leaving the United States Army, I had to decide if I wanted to go to school for dental hygiene or for photography. It was a tough decision. I had to choose between making money and not being happy with the job and being happy making images and keep my fingers crossed for money. I chose to go to school for photography and I’m glad I did. I learned so much about myself and I’ve met some great people in the process. It also feels good being able to tell my daughters they can do whatever feeds their souls. How would I be able to tell my kids to be whatever they want to be or believe in and I never tried? I took a chance on me and its been great.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a storyteller. A documentarian of sorts. I just use a camera as the tool to make that happen. With my work, I love to focus on my community, the Black community. I prefer to use my camera to tell positive stories of black men & women as well as debunk stereotypes made about my community. I truly feel black stories should be told by black people and I just want to do my part.
I am most proud of how my children view me from the work I am making. They know that their father isn’t just delivering lip service but he’s also doing the work. It’s always exciting to see my children doing something artistic and applying lessons I may have told them to how they get the work done. Most importantly, watching them take pride in something they create is everything for me.
My career professionally took of last year, 2020. A teacher at The School of Visual Arts saw my work after photographing a Black Lives Matter protest and asked if she could share it with some editors. I said sure and the publication took a chance one after really liking the work and then it was all work work work after that. It definitely was not easy. I’ve been photographing the streets and documenting the city for free for years. All off of the sheer enjoyment I got out of it. There were days I would hope somebody saw my work and want to buy a print or hire me for a shoot. I had already done a few amateur-level portrait sessions but it was not enough nor the least bit lucrative. Honestly, there were a lot of nights of frustration and self-doubt. However, I felt the need to keep going. I had to keep reminding myself of the great photographers who came before me and what they had to overcome. I had to learn to have unwavering confidence in myself if I wanted to make it. I did just that.
I learned to just take a chance on myself. Believe in me. Even when it’s an unpopular choice or a move by others’ standards. I also learned that my children are watching me. That I am one of many examples they will refer to when they are ready to take on the world. I have to let them know it’s possible to overcome problems that seem impossible at times.
I would love the world to know how passionate I am about this craft. I want them to put more value into photographs. This is ultimately all I have left. A camera and the will to win. Overcoming obstacle after obstacle to make it. I want the world to know how hard I work to make sure I bring them something that makes them feel something. Anything. I just want the world to respect the craft and respect the grind that goes into it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am really bad at setting these plans up honestly lol. Im such a fan of leaving the city that I am not the best person to ask. I would probably suggest a few places to eat in Manhattan. Maybe a Thai place or something. If we stay in Brooklyn, I’m definitely taking them to get some soul food. We could visit the usual parks, Central Park or Prospect Park. Most of my friends are photographers so I would take them to places that would fit their photographic style. For example, if fashion portraits are their thing, we’re off to Soho. Coney Island is always a good adventure when the sun is shining. Visiting museums is another thing that I would recommend. Taking in different types of art helps keep my creativity sharp, so maybe it’ll work for them too.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to shout out both my daughters, Alexia and Ariann. Those two are my motivation to keep working as hard as I am. I would also like to shout out all my friends who keep me on the right path and remind me that I am doing just fine when it seems rough. If I start naming everyone by name, I’m worried I may miss a few so I won’t. I’ll just say shout out to any and everyone that has stood in front of my lens and allowed me to celebrate them. Thank you!!