As regular OA readers know, this had gradually become a platform for upcoming creatives worldwide – reaching as far as Asia and Europe. Since the start, I knew my musical background might hinder my choices in interviews, and from the site’s history … you can see that it did.
Regardless, I’ve slowly been broadening my horizons, and that is ultimately what connected me to today’s interviewee. In today’s interview, I got the chance to speak with Atlanta based photographer, Donte Maurice. With around 5 years of experience, the fashion and portrait photographer has already gained the respect of celebrities and brands alike, working with names like 6lack and Sprite.
In this interview, we had the opportunity to discuss the start of his career, qualities of a good photographer, and future projects!
Enjoy the interview.
*all photos are taken by him, unless stated otherwise*
Q: Before we begin, would you like to introduce yourself?
A: Yes Definitely! My name is Donte’ Maurice and I am a portrait and fashion photographer based in Atlanta, Ga.
Q: Is photography something you saw yourself pursuing as a career, or was it more of a hobby that blossomed into something more?
A: I’ve been doing photography for about 5 years, but started taking it seriously about 3 years ago; That’s when I knew that this is apart of what I’m meant to do. It definitely started off as a hobby, a quick way to express myself once I got tired of doing graphic design.
Q: Have you always been interested in the arts (or any form of self expression) or was it something that developed over time? Do you think your family noticed your attraction towards the arts? If so, were they supportive of it?
A: YES! I used to sing and act a lot before I started doing photography. My family supported me in every artistic change I wanted to make in my life. When I was into music, they bought me microphones, pianos, drums, and etc… The moment I changed to photography they purchased my first camera, lens, and laptop.
Q: You’ve said that some of your favorite influences include: Harley Weir, and Frank Ocean – what about their artistry inspires you?
A: OH MAN! I love both of them so much. Their story telling ability blows me away. I take so much from Frank Ocean’s music that inspires the shoots I take. I love the tones from Harley Weir, once I found out that she shot film that made me want to take the steps into doing that as well. I just love them!
Q: You started your career in 2015 & by the end of the year you had worked with brands like Moschino and Sprite. Can you explain to us exactly … how that happened; especially while working towards your degree?
A: I honestly can’t even explain what happened. There’s never really a way to plan for something you didn’t think was possible. I was learning as I went, and it took a lot of time management and sacrifices. Around that time I didn’t have a car and Marta doesn’t go out really far either so I was spending money and time left and right to make sure I did my thing. It was a lot, especially managing school, a part time job, homework, and then shooting as well.
Q: Did you know (or think) that your career would take off that quickly? Was it somewhat overwhelming? Out off all the projects you completed that year, which one was the most gratifying/rewarding?
A: I don’t know, I still don’t think it has taken off. I feel like it was more of a mental change in me once I decided to make it an actual career. In 2015 it would’ve definitely have to be Sprite!
Q: Earlier this year you photographed Big Boi (of Outkast); As someone based in Atlanta, was that experience sort of surreal?
A: YES! That was crazy. To be able photograph a hip hop icon for my first print publication. I got hired by Billboard Magazine to do that during my finals week of college. I was literally floating in heaven wh
en I received that email. The amount of trust they had in me was incredible.
Q: Is there anywhere you would like to travel for photography… or even just to travel?
A: YES! I would love to travel to London and Santorini (Greece). I don’t want to box myself in though, I want to go everywhere!
Q: You’ve managed to collaborate with a handful of celebrities/influencers since your start; At this point, is there anyone you think you would be starstruck by while having a shoot?
A: It would have to be Beyonce, Rihanna, and Frank Ocean. I would be incredibly nervous! Shooting them with tears in my eyes!
Q: As someone whose job duties include things like: capturing moments & helping visions come to life – when do you personally know/feel that a shoot has been successful? And what do you think has been the most motivating aspect for you?
A: You just FEEL when a shoot is successful. It’s really hard to describe it. It’s like you know in your heart if you created your best work. The most motivating factor has been knowing that anything can happen any given time.
Q: What qualities do you (personally) feel makes a good photographer and who are some upcoming photographers you think have these qualities?
A: The qualities that makes a good photographer is relatability, creative, and just love for the people and/or brands they work with. Photographers who I’ve seen and feel have that are Ahmad Barber, Micaiah Carter, Renell Medrano, and many more!
Q: Before I ask the next question, I want to commend you for your newest project: The Way Up – where you will be “highlighting artists of color”; May I ask what inspired you to start this project?
A: I just love creatives and I feel like we all should appreciate and support each other. Even though I took a break on it for a little bit, I’ll be starting it back up pretty soon!
Q: I’ve noticed the recent influx of creators (specifically of color) beginning to get recognition from their work – people like Bree Holt (The Exquisite Eye), Elizabeth Wirija, and of course – you. Do you, feel it’s important that people of all cultures have the ability to influence society? Who are some up and coming creators (doesn’t have to be a photographer) you’ve recently noticed?
A: YES! It’s so important. We see things from a different perspective and now a lot of brands are beginning to appreciate it. I’ve been paying a lot of attention to Adrienne Raquel, Joshua Woods, Joshua Kissi, Campbell Addy, Santiago & Mauricio and Valheria Rocha.
Q: When you look back at your career in 50+ years, what are some things you would like your legacy to include? What do you think your impact has been so far?
A: I would love to be considered one of the pioneers that help propel the creative scene in Atlanta. I want to go down as a legend in my city like Zach Wolfe, Big Boi, Andre 3000, and many more so I have a lot of work to do! I honestly don’t know what my impact has been so far.
Q: I’m sure you’ve grown a lot as a photographer, and as an individual as well since starting this journey – is there and advice or words of wisdom you can pass down to aspiring creators?
A: Never give up! Please don’t. If you’re meant to do this then you have to stay in for the long haul. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a lot of great careers weren’t either.
Q: What are some goals you hope to accomplish next year – as far as, with your photography/brand?
A: My goals for 2019 is to get more print work. I want to be able to work with Vogue, Interview, Fader, W, Vanity Fair and many more. I also would love to hop on a tour some time next year. I think that would be so fun!
Q: Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to your supporters?
A: THANK YOU SO MUCH! You guys keep me going and keep me motivated. If it wasn’t for the people that support I have no idea where I would be honestly.
To learn more about Donte, make sure to visit his website, as well as following him on: