Top Shottaz : PnB Rock, A$ap Rocky, Lil' Uzi & Tory Lanez Interview With Rah Givans

January 4, 2018




How did you get into this area of photography?


Before I bought my first camera I was always on Instagram looking at other photographers work and I remember telling myself that I wanted to do that. I was hooked on Urban photography, especially in New York, and I made it my mission to go buy a camera and start shooting around New York just for fun. I would go on rooftops illegally, like 45 stories in the air and sit on the ledge and just take all of New York in. I'm not scared of heights so it didn't bother me. I would also take pictures of the famous landmarks in New York and put it on my Instagram. As time went on, I was discovered by my team, THC Films, and they introduced me to my first hip-hop show and the rest is history.


Where are you currently located?


I currently reside in Rockland County, it's about 45 min away from New York City.


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


It would probably have to be the picture of Tory Lanez crowd surfing. I snuck into that show. I drove 2 hours to Connecticut from NY just to be told that I couldn't shoot the show because the promoter that I had ties with wasn't the one who threw the concert. So I went back to the car mad as hell and then I remembered that my boy Shaun was shooting the show. So I called him and told him to let me in through the back door and he came but then a security guard approached me and said 'Who are you with?' I lied and said I'm with the promoter. He said alright and just let me in. Thats how this picture came about.


Whose work has influenced you most?


Gunner Stahl. Met Gunner a couple of times, really cool dude. Greg Noire as well.




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


Gunner definitely got me into shooting film. And he showed me that you could literally do whatever you want with just a camera. Just gotta apply yourself and have that go get it mentality. 


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


Well I like meeting all the artists I listen to, also to sh*t on the haters that said I couldn't do it. If you're reading this interview right now, you know who you are. But mostly because photography is my passion, to be honest I didn't know what I wanted to do after high school, I feel like if I wasn't doing this right now then I'd probably be working a 9-5 right now at some job that I hate. I believe that every person is 100% in charge of their lives and if you have dreams that you want to come true then your actions will solely depend on that. And thats why I'll never stop shooting. Plus I enjoy challenging myself. If you're not pushing yourself to be better than yesterday then what're you doing?


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


Be considerate. Talk to them. Crack jokes. Step out of your comfort zone and do something nice for your client that they weren't expecting. Always make them feel good about themselves. Nothing is better than good vibes, so if the vibes are there your clients will always come back.




Why Hip-Hop & Rap?


It's what I grew up listening to. My mother listened to alot of it so when she put it on I would just sit there and take it all in. Theres artists that I've listened to as a kid and I would ask myself "I wonder if i'll get to meet this person one day?". And like it's literally coming into fruition now. It's all so surreal to me but I guess thats just how life works. I also enjoy the behind the scenes part of the music world. I hang out with alot of artists, watching how songs come together, music videos, etc. It's all so interesting to me and I love every minute of it.


Who's your favorite rapper?


I have a couple but #1 is Big Sean. People say I look just like him and Bryson Tiller. I dont see it honestly. G Herbo, Mick Jenkins and Jaden Smith are also a couple of my favorites.

Instagram: @rjg.iii




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