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

Hi Roberto, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
It took me a long time to find the courage to pursue a creative career. Like many others, I was taught from a young age that college and office work was the way to become successful. I followed that path and obtained a Master’s degree and worked hard in many office jobs. When my sister passed, I took a leap of faith and pursued a career in hospitality management. This was a huge deal for me. It was something I always wanted to do. Then, when COVID closed down many restaurants, I lost my job. It took me a while to recover. I thought that I had found my dream job. About six months into quarantine, I started to help my friends with their production company. Something about doing this just clicked. I felt like I finally found something that excited me and I wanted to do more. My boyfriend encouraged me to buy a camera and the rest is history. I worked hard on any and every photoshoot I could think of. With every shoot, I learned more and grew more eager to continue. I think pursuing a nonconventional career is a risk and can be scary. But, you should never turn away from that something that brings you joy or lights your soul on fire. That is what photography does for me. It ignited a fire in me that I knew was there, but was too afraid to see. My leap of faith landed me right into my now passion.

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 am new to the world of photography, but I have found a home in this art. I believed that I would be working in a regular office job my entire life. I am one of many who found a passion while being in quarantine. I am very excited about showing the world my photography. I am obsessed with colors and patterns. I try to make each photo vibrant and striking. I love to bring out that fire that the model has contained in them. When we are on set, it is almost a dance. I move as much as the model and end up being tired and sweaty at the end of the shoot. I love getting them just as excited as I am. I treat every photoshoot with lightheartedness and eagerness. I want the world to know that you can start over at any time. We are not meant to be perfect. We will succeed, we will fail, but our story will always continue. I have been through so much in my life. If you would have asked me a few years ago where I would be right now, I would not have imagined this. I found a passion, but more importantly I followed it with full commitment. You only get what you are willing to put into something. It has not been easy getting to this point. I have learned a bit more with each photoshoot. Whether it’s lighting, editing, posing, etc. I find a way to continue to grow and learn. I think it is important to always be a student. Once you become stagnant, your creativity and ultimately your art will suffer. Put in the work. You owe it to yourself to be your best.

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.
I love this question because I have family visiting next week. One thing I love about Los Angeles is it has something for just about everyone. I am a foodie. My boyfriend and I have a food blog together, @goodfoodgurus. So, a week with me will always include good food. Some places I am loving right now are: Tire Shop Taqueria, Good Clean Fun, Night + Market Song, EMC Seafood and Raw Bar, Pizzeria il Fico, The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker, Pilot, pasjoli, 3Stakxs Kitchen, Coffee del Mundo, etc. Even as I write this, I realize I could be going on forever. Needless to say, staying with Demetre and me means food and more food. Also, I would take my friend to different part of SoCal. So, we may drive to Disneyland, Joshua Tree, or San Diego. We may even drive down to Mexico. As long as you are open to a good time, I am happy to make the trip fun. You can’t have a trip to LA without going to the beach and hiking. Wisdom Tree is my favorite hike. It is good for beginners and you feel accomplished without it taking up your entire day.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I believe that you are only as strong as your tribe. I am very fortunate to have people in my circle that are encouraging and talented. My boyfriend and my friends are all artists in their own right. They are cartoonists, painters, actors, singers, etc. We are a collective of Black creatives. We motivate, challenge, and use each other to create. Without them, I would not have found to courage to follow this creative path. I am thankful for them. I also need to give credit to my mother. She encourages me every morning on our daily calls.

Website: www.robertohannibal.com

Instagram: @free_berto and @ptcameraguy

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.