We had the good fortune of connecting with Ekow Bartels and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ekow, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
Of course other art and music, but ultimately skateboarding. Skateboarding changed my trajectory as a young black male from Richmond, VA. Just hit me with culture, music, art, expressionism, fraternity and a tangible sense of accomplishment but yearn for more. Not to mention it crafted my eye(s) that later applied to photography. We (skateboarders) see the world for all its angles, errors and possibilities, once reapplied to other disciplines, it makes our approach and methodology unique.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?

I’m a multi variety photographer: I shoot beauty/glam, portraits, fashion, conceptual, editorials, lifestyle, dabbling into composite work.

We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others,

I mean what sets me apart is me of course, I’m a melting pot of alot of random things that makes me: anime, having a Ghanaian father and experiencing Ghana, growing up in RVA, listening to Korn, Talib Kweli and Three Six all in one hour, skateboarding, basketball, football & futbol, black church, VCU/Greek life, hustling…just alot.

What you are most proud of or excited about.

I’m proud of learning to accept depression and anxiety as apart of me versus a hinderance to me. Honestly, just being alive after growing up where I grew up, all the way to what we’ve experienced in the last two years (2020&2021). Grateful for waking up every morning and to have a bed n roof to lay my bones at night.

How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way.

Consistency and persistence, learning when and how to take a step back and take care of my mental and physical. But creating my own lane or figuring it out without defeat. DEFINITELY not easy, MANY nights of stress and chain smoking to get to a place of acceptance and understanding to “trusts the process”

What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?

Man, I just want the world to treat me how I deserve to be treated. Love me and/or my work unbiasedly. Understand my humanity but appreciate my humanity simultaneously. Be unafraid to fail but learn when you do.

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?
Tbh RVA isn’t but so big, especially in comparison to NYC or LA. But we could do mostly food moves Monday through Wednesday, I’m not much of a breakfast guy but First Watch or Percy’s for the am, hit up Mama Js, Wood and Iron, Buz n Ned’s BBQ, and Shrimps for lunch n dinner. Thursday, we can hit up Helen’s cafe that night cuz it’s lit for whatever reason. The weekend we can just head up north an hour n a half to DC and just do it big up there. Honestly, I’ve been so anchored down by work that I don’t even go out much anymore, BUT those moves will leave an impression on anyone who visits.

Alright, so let’s jump right in! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there a person, group, organization, book, etc. that you want to dedicate your shoutout to? Who else deserves a little credit and recognition in your story?  
God RIP Mom
Pops
The whole RVA creative community
RVA (Richmond, VA)
Shoutout to all those who created with me

Website: https://kodwophotosfc01.myportfolio.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kodwo_photos/?hl=en

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ekow-bartels-5a3a786b

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kodwophotos?locale=ms_MY

Image Credits
Jazmin Vaughn https://instagram.com/jazvaughn?utm_medium=copy_link Aspen Brown https://instagram.com/aspenonlife?utm_medium=copy_link Amii Burke https://instagram.com/amiirene?utm_medium=copy_link Lauren Turman https://instagram.com/_lauriet_?utm_medium=copy_link Samyra https://instagram.com/iamsamyra_?utm_medium=copy_link Sabia Mostafa https://instagram.com/sabia_bia?utm_medium=copy_link Pamela Harris https://instagram.com/itspamela.notrene?utm_medium=copy_link Diamond Walker https://instagram.com/0v0.di?utm_medium=copy_link

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.