Hello Neex, tell us about your journey and how you became who you are today.
Where do I start? 2015 seems like a good place. I was 22 years old, finishing up college and living in San Francisco. I started taking photography more seriously, and I found my lane in street fashion culture. I was interning as a content photographer at Infinite, a consignment streetwear in SF which really shaped my eye of what I wanted my photos to look like. In 2016, I went on tour with Larry June and Post Malone as a merch guy but also took photos of every show. In 2017, I moved to LA and I was sleeping on my home girl’s couch, DMing 10+ people daily to shoot with (Because agencies didn’t like my style). I shot people multiple times daily and was consistently posting on my socials everyday for a few years. 2 years of that formula led to me opening up a studio in Los Angeles for Style Plug, a clothing company where the owner Zach asked if I could shoot content for their brand and in exchange, I could build my own studio in their space. Fast forward another 3 years, with the pandemic and many ups and downs, I have opened my third studio, I am now published in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, shot many incredible models and tons of cover art for musicians, have had a guest appearance on Netflix ‘Bling Empire’ and started my own non-profit to teach the youth photography skills ‘Neex and friends’.
What in your personal life has influenced you to choose a life of being a creative?
I honestly always felt creative, but I didn’t know I was if that makes sense. I didn’t always shoot, but I was always into some type of graphic design and music. I honestly don’t think I even chose my life as a creative freelancer. I just didn’t have any other options. I was bad with a regular 9-5 work. Unmotivated, not the best employee so it was either be a creative or be a bum. So it seemed like an easy choice because who wants to be a bum?
Which of your accomplishments gave you the most satisfaction, and why?
Seeing my work on a LA billboard for the first time. Driving past it was pretty surreal. Getting a billboard was always my goal since day one and I had a digital one in NYC but this one in LA I did for The Game’s ‘Drillmatic’ Album was really just amazing. Many more to come and I hope they all mean as much to me as this one did.
What is success for you?
Success to me personally means creating a goal, and executing that goal no matter what. Nothing feels better than an accumulation of hard calculated work, that pays off for a bigger picture goal. Success is always changing so it’s really the process that means the most for me.
What message do you want to leave people with when it’s all said and done? What do you want people to remember you for?
I want people to remember me for my legendary work and to see all the amazing relationships I built and people and brands I shot for. However, for me what really matters most is that the youth is influenced by me to follow their passion and not be afraid of the failures along the way. Lastly, I would want to be remembered for all the game I give back to the community, and to up and coming photographers and artists.
Who are some people that you are influenced by?
My mother and father first. I was lucky to have amazing parents that showed me how to live life the right way.
What is the most important advice someone has ever given you?
Cliche as it is, but it’s looking at the glass half full, and you can’t win until you learn how to fail. I feel like I got to where I’m at not because of talent or anything, but the drive I have to keep going no matter how out of reach or unrealistic my goal is. I mean during the span of 2 years, I used to DM 10 people a day just to book one shoot. Sounds crazy now, but I really did that. The 2nd advice I mentioned is the most important. It’s something that doesn’t make any sense until it does (like going through it) but damn all my success of achieving any 1 goal, comes with at least 100 failures. To repeat and fail something over and over but then learning from each one, that’s why the saying is ‘you can’t want until you learn how to fail’.
Who do you want to work with most in the industry and why?
I don’t know about industry, but I really would love to photography Barack and Michelle Obama. That would be beyond a dream come true for me.