January 28, 2016

Living Life Profashionally: Thomas Baker

It's that time of the month my loves! Time to interview someone who is Living Life Profashionally! I believe that to Live Life Profashionally means to strike the balance of being professional and fantabulous. It means to carry yourself with class and to never stop reaching for your goals whatever they may be.  This month's interviewee is someone who is truly Living Life Profashionally. He has been relentlessly working towards his dream of becoming a photographer and is making it happen. I had the opportunity to interview Tom in his studio with Kanye blasting in the background. He has definitely been one of the coolest people I have had the pleasure of interviewing. Without further adieu, here is Tom Baker.
TPL: What inspired you to become a photographer?
Tom: I was never really inspired by one specific instance or thing. It was always just in me. My grandma used to take a lot of pictures and that was always cool to me. Even to this day, she has hundreds of photos around the crib.  

TPL: How old were you when you first picked up a camera? 
Tom: I don't remember, maybe 7? My grandma bought me a Polaroid camera and it was mad dope. But I broke it three days later.  

TPL: What/ who do you photograph?
Tom: I photograph anyone who I sense something unique in. I typically try to shy away from the "conventional" beautiful people because those are the ones who are being looked at all the time anyway. I like to shine the light on those who normally fly under the radar. Their stories are generally more appealing to me personally. Plus it's easier for me to vybe with them. Not that I don't connect well with the typical model type girls, but that's just not my field of interest. I think the best part of my art is being able to bring my visuals to life with anyone and not just who I'm "supposed to" create with.

TPL: Who is Tom?
Tom: I left him in high school. I'm Thomas. 

TPL: What does your art that you show the world say about you?
Thomas: The art that I show the world represents being a natural black person and being comfortable with that.  

TPL: Among your works, which is your favorite and why?
Thomas: Among all of the work that I've produced in the last few years, my favorite would have to be the series I did with the blue bath tub only because I created a video with that and it went exactly how I planned it. That mini project really showed me that I can come up with an idea and find someone to bring it to life and with that understanding, I strive to never stray from that mindset. The best part of that series isn't the fact that the photos are nice or that the video caught attention, it's the fact that I can constantly look at it and remember that I did what I wanted with it and succeeded so there's nothing that I can't do creatively if I put my all into it.   

TPL: Tell me about some projects you have in the works?
Thomas: Right now I'm working on Blackness Part  Two. Part One was all about self love and I debuted it on Valentine's Day at a little spot in Newark, New Jersey. The project itself included interviews with ten different women about insecurities they've gone through or are currently going through. I was blessed with the opportunity to photograph each insecurity or a symbol of the insecurity. One girl had a tumor on her spine and had this intense scar going down her back so she let me photograph that. Another girl used to cut herself on her thighs and arms and she let me photograph that. Another girl had a really big birthmark on her face that I had never noticed until she took her makeup off and let me photograph that. The whole concept was no makeup, no nothing, just all raw. It really helped a lot of people overcome different things they were going through. When I had the event, I played the documentary and people started crying. It was a dope experience. 

Part Two is going to include men as well as women. Instead of being self-love, it's going to be black love. There going to be a short film that will include dialogue and acting. It's going to be a 70s based love story but involve real issues that are currently happening. It'll be all about love and respecting the black man and woman. I'm also taking it on tour and will be collaborating with different artists including painters, musicians, etc. It's going to be an experience. I'll be in that so I'm really looking forward to it.   

TPL: What does it mean to Live Life Profashionally to you?
Thomas: I did think about that before the interview. Pro is for something and fashion is fashion. I'm not the most fashionable person but I feel like the wordplay is, you take your appearance and the way you present yourself very importantly. So, I guess that's what it is. 

TPL: So give me a run down of a day in the life of Thomas.
Thomas: Today I woke up, got my hair done, and came straight here to the studio. I don't eat breakfast. I'll be here all day. Normally I have a shoot set up so my makeup artist will come in and get the makeup done. The rest of the team comes in later and we'll do some behind the scene footage with music blasting. A normal day is this. I'm here just working. 

TPL: Do you miss college?
Tom: No. I don't like school and it was too expensive. People say that a degree provides you with some sort of security but there's no security in anything. You have to do what you have to do to get your own security. I made sure that when I was at Rutgers, I made an impact so that people knew me even when I left. 

TPL: Tell us about your next show.
Tom: January 29 is my next show. It's going to be in downtown Newark at this spot called, The Warehouse. It'll be hosted by a company called Vibes After Dark. It'll be an underground art show with mad singers, raw artists, performers and vendors. It'll be a nice appearance. 

TPL: What is your end goal?
Thomas: I don't have an end goal because I don't want to stop doing what I'm doing. I just want to keep doing this but do it on a grander scale.

I can not thank you enough for this interview, Thomas! You are truly an inspiration to every creative working towards their dreams. 

Be sure to check out Thomas' Instagram and Twitter for more of his art. Schedule a shoot with him at Sharp Image Studios, located in Barrington, New Jersey through email, samohtvisuals@gmail.com. And as always, Stay Profashional! xoxo


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