Every summer NYC comes alive with outdoor concerts, festivals, movies and more. One such festival, Afropunk, has descended upon Brooklyn for the last ten years bringing a weekend of live music, vibrant art and good vibes. Photographer and Director Marc Ohrem-LeClef was inspired by this “open-minded and unconventional” festival so he decided to turn his lens on this epicenter of urban culture with an “afropunk” inspired lifestyle shoot.
Marc began this project by casting a real-life group of friends via Instagram who embodied the culture and style of the festival. Once he had his talent locked in he began his process of getting them comfortable and ready for the shoot. “The key to creating an environment that makes my subjects comfortable to a point where you become part their circle lies in my personal approach. It begins with the first emails (or text messages) sent and continues with the balancing act of me shooting them around the clock while knowing when to back off,” says Marc. This project was satisfying for Marc on many levels.
First, as a photographer that shoots an array of destination related projects, it was refreshing for Marc to immerse himself in the urban environment of Brooklyn, the place he calls home. Second, he found himself tapping into a rawness from this particular group that perfectly fit his style and his initiative to incorporate “queer” lifestyle into his work. As Marc tells us, “I like to embrace real life and relationships of any fabric in my work. I found this sense of fluid sexual identification and gender in this group I ended up shooting and was happy to be able to feature a generation that has literally stopped caring about labels in terms of sexuality.”
Marc walked away from this project with images rich in intimacy and honesty and steeped in culture and style. We know it is cold in New York, but August will be here before we know it, and with it, your chance to check out the next installment of Afropunk.