While documenting everything from concerts to conferences, including this year’s Brown Girls Love Power Day, photographer Joe Chea brings his unique perspective to every subject he showcases. We recently spoke with the pensive photographer about art, travel, and why he does it #fortheculture.
What is your definition of a classic man?
A man that is aware of who he is and the role he needs to play to live the most fulfilled and progressive life possible.
What makes a classic woman?
A classic woman is a woman that isn’t afraid to speak her mind and go out and get things on her own. She is the perfect puzzle piece. She’s a complete solution.
Read more about Joe below.
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Why is art so important to you?
Art is important to me because art is life. They say art imitates life but in my opinion life imitates art. Art is an outlet. Art is a source of income for some people. Art is a way of life. Art can be found in anything that you look at. The way a car drives down the street, the way a chair is designed, the way a shirt is stitched it’s all art. So art is important because without it I think society would just fall to pieces.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
I would say the the people on my team. The guys that I work with and chill with on a regular basis- Jerome Shaw, Pete Monsanto, Karl Ferguson Jr., LaVan Anderson– there are a bunch of people that inspire me as an artist and inspire me as a person.
What is your greatest motivation?
To be able to provide for my family in a way that might have been more difficult for my parents to provide for me. I come from a rough neighborhood in the Bronx and I didn’t really have much. So my goal is to make sure that when I do decide to create a family I am more than capable to provide more than what ten times more than what my parents were able to provide for me and also provide for the people around me.
What do you love about traveling?
Traveling is just amazing. Like I said, I come from a really low-income poverty stricken neighborhood and I was told as a young person that I wasn’t expected to do much in life. When I told people when I was younger that I wanted to travel the world they said “You’ll never leave the projects”. I said “Oh yea? Watch this! Four trips a year”. So I’m doing my best to take four trips a year and see places that people that lived in my neighborhood have never seen and my goal is to ultimately be in a position where I can take my mom on every trip with me and leave her to enjoy her part of the trip on her own.
What is your favorite city to visit?
Dubai was amazing. The last time I went to Ghana, which is where my dad’s from, was more than ten years ago but from what I remember it’s definitely favorite place to visit.
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What would you be doing if you weren’t a photographer?
I’d be an R&B artist, a singer-songwriter.
Are you currently involved with any volunteer projects?
I am in the process of putting something together that would be considered a volunteer project that’s based around influencing young men in inner-city communities.
5 Things you (probably) didn’t know about Joe
- He’s been caring for his mother since he was only nine years old.
- His stellar photography and videography skills are completely self-taught.
- When he was younger he participated in dance battles frequenting teen clubs to show off his talent.
- He shot behind the scenes footage for the We Are Black History Project commissioned by Style Influencers Group.
- He spent his most recent birthday in Greece.
Got a suggestion for our #MCM feature? Email Christina at christina(at)lovebrownsugar(dot)com with ideas about who should be LoveBrownSugar’s next Classic #MCM if you have any suggestions for the feature:
Photo Credit: Jerome Shaw