We had the good fortune of connecting with Derrel Anthony and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Derrel, we’d love to hear what makes you happy.
My family makes me happy. What I feel with my family is multidimensional and requires me being creative to explain to others. I can almost never fully explain the feeling of being complete, safe, composed, vulnerable, and creative other than with my photography. The ability to recreate some of those sentiments via photography allows me to produce the images I’ve imagined without the need to be vocal. This is especially since putting my thoughts and feelings into words can be challenging for me. I’m able to associate at least one of those feelings with my work.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I aim to create the most natural-looking photos while also celebrating the “imperfections” in my subjects. I want to highlight the features that are most often looked at negatively. There is a very small amount of editing done to the tones of the photographs but never to the features of the people I shoot. I take pride in knowing that the people I photograph are delighted with the way I’ve captured them.
It took a few years and a lot of trial and error for me to find a style of photography that I was comfortable with. It was a difficult period because I was never happy with the work I produced and I was focused on creating the type of images that were considered popular at the time. I finally decided to pay no mind to what everyone else was doing and create the type of images I wanted to see for myself. I learned that you can never truly be satisfied with your work if you put the satisfaction of others before your own.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d take them to a few Caribbean restaurants throughout Queens and Brooklyn. Sybil’s Bakery and Restaurant, Jamaican Flavors, and Allan’s Bakery are my favorites. Some of the best parks in the country can be found around New York City, such as Alley Pond Park and Central Park. If they’re looking for a quiet park with great views, I’d take them to the East River Esplanade at Pier 15. It’s a great spot to relax while enjoying a book or views of Brooklyn across the river. Lastly, I’d take them to the art exhibits all over Manhattan, especially in Chelsea, Meatpacking District, and Soho.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’ve been tremendously inspired by the photography of Gordon Parks and Kwame Brathwaite.
Photo of me was taken by Damian Calliste