As you may already know, we are big on photography here at Repeat. Nilla Driz is the first photographer we have interviewed. He is a young, ambitious photographer who has done photoshoots for rappers such as Famous Dex, Smokepurpp, Reggie Mills and $quidnice at the age of only 19. He is currently based in Central Jersey and does most of his work in New York City, and he has recently moved onto the creative theme of manipulation photography. When we got into contact with him we were eager to find out more about him and his work...
When did you first realise you wanted to be a photographer?
I first realised I wanted to become a photographer when I first shot for a high profile artist. Not only was it so much fun but coming together with people I've looked up to my whole life, to create, is special.
How did you first get into contact with big names such as Smokepurpp and Famous Dex at the age of only 19?
I first got into contact with rapper Reggie Mills and through him I'd meet Famous Dex & Smokepurpp. I used those early opportunities to build my portfolio and network so I could reach out to other artists and find other opportunities to grow.
How do you find ways of keeping your photography fresh in terms of style and aesthetic?
When working closely with an artist to capture their personal life you never find yourself shooting the same exact thing. This definitely helps me keep my photography fresh and different. As for my manipulation photography, all of my ideas are very in the moment, which leads them to be very original.
What made you choose to branch out into manipulation photography?
I feel like manipulation photography is the most artistic form of photography and they're no rules or limitation to what you can do. Your imagination is your greatest asset and is ultimately what separates you from other photographers.
With a theme as broad and free as manipulation photography, how do you come up with all of your ideas on what to shoot?
Inspiration will usually come from me just going about my day. I'll see something, I'll come up with an idea, and I'll think of ways to bring that idea to life.
Out of all the rappers you have worked with, who would you say you are closest with and can see yourself working with again in the future?
Out of all the artists I've worked with I'm the closest with Reggie Mills. We've been working closely together for almost a year now, and its been nothing but support from him.
A lot of the rappers you have worked with are partially defined by there style and fashion. Would you say fashion photography has influenced you in your past work?
The aesthetic behind fashion photography is captivating, and the artists I've worked with definitely have their own unique aesthetic as well. So utilising the techniques behind fashion photography while working with certain artists, I can say has increased the quality of my work.
Are there any specific people you would like to work with who you haven’t got into contact with yet?
I've always really wanted to work with Ski Mask The Slump God, he's a very animated person and his artistry is very unique. I feel like the pictures we'd take would be like nothing I've ever taken before.
In what direction will you take your photography now? Do you think you’ll continue to experiment with different themes of photography or just stick to one theme, such as manipulation photography?
I will always be into hip-hop photography and interested in capturing an artist's personal life but I am also interested in branching out and challenging myself with different themes of photography like landscape, manipulation and travel.
Go check out and follow @nilladriz on Instagram.