April 11, 2019

Get Ready to Dream:
Quil Lemons

It starts with a dream. Meet Quil Lemons, photographer and part of the creators and movers of this generation that dream big, share their art with the world, and inspire their communities.

Quil attends the New School in NYC as a senior and is already a rising star photographer. Despite his pursuit of degrees in journalism and design, his first passion has always been photography. Born and raised in South Philly, he snapped photos in quiet observance of the world around him. He, and the continued evolution of his art, is one to watch.

At point in your life while growing up in Philly did you become fascinated with photography as a passion?
I got interested in photography around the age of 16. I would go to a lot of concerts and just shoot a bunch of artists that would come to the city. I just knew right away that it’s really what I wanted to do with my life and I just had to figure out how to do it.

Which celebrity’s photos would you love to capture?
I would really love the shoot Tracy Ellis Ross. She is a style icon and I like going on her Instagram all the time and yes get the look off you are going off on these looks and kill it every time.

What type of statement do you like to make with your shoes?
I've always really been into shoes and sneakers. I cannot leave the house without having on clean sneakers. I just had to make sure they were fresh.

The shoes I'm wearing are so me because they're good for any setting, they can be dressed up or dressed down and they're adaptable.

How do you define “success” vs. “fulfillment”?
To me they are one of the same. As long as I can create my art and tell my story and pay my rent I will. That is success and fulfillment to me. Also I want to take care of my family and make sure they're good.

What inspires you?
I get inspired by a lot of paintings and other photographers. Some of my favorite artists are Mickalene Thomas, Deana Lawson, and Carrie Mae Weems. These are my queens of photography, art and making things.

What advice would you give to a young aspiring photographer and journalist, like yourself?
It is a really good time to be young and black and creative. There's a lot of challenges to deal with but then there's also so much to gain. For a bunch of other young kids who follow me who tell me they really want to do this, I say "do it". There's nothing stopping you, you have the internet, you can learn anything you want, you can put your stuff out, you can self publish. So you have all the tools to do it.

What is your “Get Ready” jam?
It depends on where we're going. If I'm going out my friends I would probably listen to Rico Nasty, she has this one song called Rage. On a day to day I'm pretty calm and I've been listening to a lot of Summer Walker. But if it's a date, I play Freakum Dress by Beyonce.

What is the proudest moment in your career so far?
I got to shoot my family for Vogue last year which was really cool. It came out on Mother's Day and it was an homage to my grandmother who was 92 years old. I just really wanted to honor them and also what they represent as black women and so I photographed all the women in my family. You would think it would be really easy to shoot your family members. It's not but it was the most fun process.

What do love most about photography?
Knowing that the art I'm making is speaking for a lot of people that don't normally have a voice. I think that's what really keeps me going. I get a lot of messages from people that are queer and/or that are black telling me that they feel seen by viewing my work and that seeing me do a lot of things makes them feel like they can also achieve whatever they're going for in life.

What inspires you to dream and stay motivated?
Just never really giving up. I feel my family instilled that in me. They don't quit anything. If they say they're going to do something it gets done. And that's literally it. Period.

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