Top Shottaz: Interview With Rap Photographer Val Parenas On Shooting OVO Roy Woods

December 21, 2017




How did you get into this area of photography?


Actually, I've only ever been to two concerts working or not, which happened a day after another. (Daniel Caesar Nov 15 & Roy Woods Nov 17). I’ve always been drawn to photography starting at a young age. When I discovered music, I started watching the music videos and instantly intrigued by the imagery in it.


Where are you currently located?


I am currently in Mount Royal University’s journalism program in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?


So far, I’d say the Roy Woods concert had the most electric atmosphere, the crowd was bumpin’, and the performance was fantastic.


Whose work has influenced you most?


Theo Skudra is a fantastic music photographer. His work in the Toronto music scene captivates me because he bonds with his subjects and get so close to them.




Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?


Overall, Steve McCurry and Ed Kashi are the two most influential photojournalists that really aided in steering my path towards photography. Their intriguing portraits really do tell a story.


What motivates you to continue taking pictures economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?


I think the most significant motivator for me is self-accomplishment, hopefully at the end of my career, I want to look back at the photos and tell myself that I did a good job.


What are some important things young photographers should know in order to get and keep their clients?


 In all actuality, the most important value that any photographer has to have is composure. There are going to be some shitty people to photograph but it is the ability to act professionally that will separate amateurs to pros. As photographers, working with people is secondary to working with the camera, the job demands you to be comfortable with interacting with unique individuals.




Why Hip-Hop & Rap?


 I have vivid memories of OutKast’s So fresh, So clean reverberating throughout my childhood home. I credit my dad and uncle into introducing me into hip-hop and rap. I just love the poetic incorporation of rhymes into complex beats.


Who's your favorite rapper?


Daniel Dumile, Zev Love X, King Geedorah, Viktor Vaughn, whatever his current name is. My early discovery of MF DOOM’s work I would say set the standards for how I listen to music. I mean his vibe is insanely diverse and rich in detail that regardless of how many times you listen to his songs, you always end up listening to them from a different perspective. I would like to describe his music as interesting stories compressed to juicy 4-6 minute clips.







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