Meet RAI (pronounced, /rā/) a 19 year-old New Jersey based photographer and web designer. I first discovered RAI on Twitter after one of my followers re-tweeted a tweet of his. Of course me being a typical Twitter user, I ended up finding myself lurking his profile and what I found on his page left me in awe. What I found was talent. I discovered that he wasn’t just any regular Twitter user, He’s a photographer as well; and a great one at that. After speaking with him I found out that he is a web designer too. Something about RAI’s photo was captivating. He captures this certain essence and emotion in each of his photos that differentiates him from other photographers. We stumble across a lot of photographers, however, RAI isn’t just a man with a camera.
You can always tell the difference between a person who takes photos and a person who has a passion for the art. And I spotted that trait in him. RAI has been passionate about photography since the 8th grade but didn’t even realize it was something he wanted to pursue. He was actually into the whole Tumblr fashion wave until his girlfriend (ex-girlfriend now) brought to his attention that he talks about photography more than anything else. I contacted RAI for an interview because I was really interested in getting to know the man behind the lens.
I heard back from him that same day and he was very excited and appreciative of the offer; in fact this is the first interview he’s ever done with a platform like Senclaire. You can get to know more about RAI in my interview below and view his portfolio on his site.
Well to start off, you can tell me a little about yourself.
RAI is the initials to my full name, Rasheed A. Ingram. I am a 19 year-old, Central, New Jersey based photography/web designer. I started doing photography in the 8th grade I believe it was. During the summer a old friend of mine from YouTube, introduced me to it. He went on vacation and took some pictures and I fell in love with them and told myself I could do that too. I found my aunts Canon Digital camera and got on my uncles Mountain bike and just rode around the town they lived in, in Maryland. Ever since then I just can’t stop shooting, can’t even see myself doing anything other than photography or web design. I’ve always been a creative person and also very into technology.
Oh cool, I’m actually from New Jersey too but I moved down to Florida. When was that moment that you realized that photography was something you really wanted to pursue?
It wasn’t me that realized it haha. My ex actually did, I used to be into the whole Tumblr fashion thing back when Tumblr was hot. She noticed that I was always talking about cameras and different photographers and etc. and just told me “I don’t think fashion is your thing, you talk more about photography than anything else.”
So where do you get your daily inspiration from? What makes you want to keep going?
My mom and my doubters honestly. Oh and my job aha.
How would you best describe your work?
Honestly, I don’t know I would describe it. How would you describe it?
Well you’re diverse I see that your work ranges from cars to architecture and landscape to models, etc. I see that you don’t really limit yourself. I also feel like you capture a different type of vibe or feeling with every photo which is one of the reasons I really like your work.
THANK YOU! Someone who actually notices that. People try to tell me to stick to one thing, but I can’t. I love knowing that I can do whatever someone asks me to do.
Well, I’ll be the one to tell you—do not ever limit yourself. I can see the passion through your photos and ultimately that’s why I wanted to interview you and write this article about you, because anyone can take a picture but you can tell the difference between people who are just taking pictures and the ones who actually have a passion for it.
Yeah, to be honest, photography is my life. This is something I want to do for a living, along with my web design. It makes me happy seeing what I can create and share with people. It makes me even happier seeing that final result and just looking at it like, “Wow, I did this.”
What’s the process like, taking and editing your pictures?
I’m a perfectionist aha, so taking pictures for me isn’t just looking through my viewfinder and clicking a button. I literally stare through my viewfinder for a decent amount of time and really try to capture the right moment. Editing is my favorite part, that’s when it all comes together and you really get to bring that picture to life. It’s a very fun process, sometimes some people blow mine because they start overthinking the picture too much and zooming into it and basically creating flaws, but other than that I love it.
So we know you don’t like to limit yourself when it comes to your photography, but do you have a focal point or something you enjoy taking pictures of more than others?
That’s a hard question to be honest. Portraits, but then again extreme sports I like a lot more.
Is there a reason why or do you just enjoy it more?
Because I love working with people that love what they do! And I can have fun with it. When I’m with BMX riders we just ride around and enjoy the day. People with cars, we explore and just vibe to music and have fun. When I do portraits with some people, they don’t want it as much or just want the money and don’t really show that love and that passion.
So if you could shoot any person or any thing anywhere around the world who or what would it be?
To be completely honest, I can’t give you a real answer for that. I would love to work with so many different people and shoot everywhere!
What’s next for you as an artist?
I would like to make a name for myself by taking my skills to the next level and having my work seen by a larger audience.