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

Hi Namu, how does your business help the community?
I’ve got a challenge for you that I know you’ll fail. Try to go an entire day marking down every time you see a photograph. Be intentional about it, carry a notebook, make sure you write legibly. Sounds easy?

After an hour or so, you’re going to give up, lol. Why? Because there are trillions and trillions of images in society. 1.7 trillion new images are created each year. They’re everywhere you look – in ads, on TV, in the movies, on your mantle and walls, in the papers, on social media. Photographs are ubiquitous.

But in spite of them being everywhere, there’s still something not so ubiquitous in the world of photos. Photographs for and of marginalized people. The poor, the disenfranchised – people of color, women from marginalized groups, the LGBT+ community – the list goes on and on.

So, when I’m hired to photograph events, I make sure to over-photograph people from these communities, communities that are far less likely to be photographed or have access to professional photography. To take it a step further, I created The Free Portrait Initiative, which is designed to make sure people who are struggling financially (especially in non-white and at-risk communities) are still able to have beautiful, professional portraits of themselves and their loved ones at no cost.

What does success look like to you?
Though I am relatively happy with where I am in life, some people would look at my circumstances and think I’m an underachiever. I don’t earn a lot of money, though I work a lot. I give my photography away more than I get paid to shoot. I sometimes struggle with my bills. But success doesn’t look the same to everyone.

I enjoy my personal life and my work, and most importantly, I have an incredibly flexible schedule that allows me to spend precious time with my young son. It’s true that some fathers may earn far more money than I do, but I guarantee you I spend far more time with my child, and though there’s nothing wrong at all with working long hours and providing a different caliber of life for your family, I’m perfectly content with the life/work balance I’ve built.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Koreatown is the spot. Karaoke, food, nightlife, it’s one of the coolest places in Los Angeles. Go see Chef Kang at Chef Kang Sul Box on Wilshire Boulevard and tell him Namu sent you.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are far too many people who have helped me survive life’s obstacles, who have helped me grow in my business, who have spent their own time, money and effort to make sure I’m constantly moving forward, but I’d like to shout out a few particularly bright spots – Magdalena Garcia, who always shares my business posts, Denise Young who has consistently supported my efforts as a photographer and a human, Willy Chen who has worked for me as a second shooter for years but has proven to be a very important friend over those years, Pat & Myles Corcoran who, though we’ve never met in-person, were there for me in a very important way in my personal life. There are sooo many people I could mention – the list of people who have helped me along the way could fill a book.

Website: https://namu.love

Instagram: @namudotlove

Facebook: @namudotlove

Other: TikTok: @namuwilliams

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.