Check out my feature on Voyage ATL!!!

Today we’d like to introduce you to Raphael Baker.

Raphael, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
With both of my parents being an artist, I was encouraged from the beginning to pursue a career as a creative. Like my late father I wanted to be a painter, and I drew a lot. I went on to take up Fashion Design + Marketing. I achieved so much in design school. I was given the opportunity to display one of my designs at the High Museum of Art. From there I met one of the designers from Project Runway and we later did a project for New York Fashion Week (NYFW).

For whatever reason, photography + video just so happened to be more interesting to me. The year I started school for Graphic design, I talked my mom into buying me a camera for Christmas. Knowing photography was her thing, I figured it wouldn’t be that hard for me to convince her to buy me a camera. I got a Nikon D5000! It was one of the first DSLR’s to have a video function so I felt it was only right that I learn how to use it. After that, my creative career started to take shape.

I was dating my wife, Ibadiah, at the time. After meeting the homie Brandon on Craigslist, Ibadiah and I were brought on as Graphic designers for his streetwear brand Fuck Your Shit (FKYRSHT). Always having my camera with me, he got the bright idea that I should shoot the look books and fashion films. The work created early on with FKYRSHT helped in developing my eye and tone of my work. It gave me confidence in creating with the bare minimal.

I did my internship at Rolling Out Magazine. The week after starting there, I received another internship at Drexina Nelson Productions as an assistant. RO gave me the opportunity to really explore the photography field over the next 6 years. With them, I shot everything from concerts (Kendrick, J. Cole, The Roots, A3C, etc.), to portraits and events. I even got a chance to shoot my first ad campaign for Monster Headphones.

Working with Dreixna Nelson–one of the best photographers in the city–I was paired with her key assistant, Ron Hill. Watching the both of them, I was able to learn how to conduct myself in a professional manner as I gained an understanding of what it was like to be a professional photographer. Up until that point, I was self-taught and fairly rough around the edges.

Ron was the best teacher you could have as an aspiring photographer, even today. He was younger than me, but he had way more experience under his belt as a photographer. With our life experiences being so similar it made it easier to relate to and, ultimately, learn from him. Drexina was the push I needed to develop my eye in video as I was tasked with shooting the majority of her “BTS” videos and fashion films. Both of them being perfectionists, they pushed me to not just look at this as a hustle or hobby, but to go beyond what was expected of me.

Towards the end of my stint at DNP, I met and began working with MUA Blasina Ware. At the time Blasina was also in school for Graphic design. Our first time working together, we shot an editorial for her class assignment. Always wanting to do an editorial, we approached it as more than a school project and used it as the first significant step into editorial photography. Over the years we developed a close working relationship and I ultimately became the Senior Photographer for her fashion/beauty magazine Estela!

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