At 500px amazing photography is at our core, but these photos would not be possible without the talented people behind the lens. The 500px Spotlight series highlights the global and diverse photographers that are part of the 500px Community.

This week we are excited to introduce you to Edward Grant. Edward is a portrait photographer who has worked with 500px on an ebook titled 35+ Ways the Photo Community Can Support Black Lives Matters and was recently awarded a Commercial Grant for his submissions to the Intersectional Diversity Quest.

Hi Edward, please introduce yourself!

Hello, this is Edward Grant (Eddie for short). I’m a Portrait Photographer from Teaneck, New Jersey. Growing up in a multicultural town has influenced me to capture people from different aspects of life and culture in different genres of photography such as editorial, fashion, lifestyle and conceptual. Other than taking photos, I’m a writer who enjoys writing Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror short stories.

For those who don’t know the story, how did you get into photography? Was there a lightbulb moment?

I believe I had a latent affinity for photography when I had my first camera, when I was 15. It was a digital point-and-shoot camera that I used to document events with my friends and family.

It’s when I got to college that I started experimenting by taking photography courses, like film. I borrowed a DSLR from my RA to shoot a short film. I also used to take photos of people and events around the college. Soon, word got around, and I got a lot of positive feedback and decided to explore further as a serious hobby.

It wasn’t until late 2016-2017 that I started to take photography seriously. It was a pivotal moment in my photography journey that made my eye stronger, shaped my style, and opened my art to an audience.

Photographers are often described as visual storytellers, however, you are also an author with a BA in English. What elements of storytelling do you use in your images?

The elements I like to use for storytelling, when it comes to my images, are setting, theme, and character.

How do you find your riveting locations that compliment your models rather than distract from them as a focal point? Do you have any tips for photographers planning environmental portraits?

Most of the locations I found for my shoots are through social media, and some are locations I stumbled upon. When I come across a location I like, and think it would be great for a shoot, I think about a concept.

What do you consider the most important rule in photography to follow, and what rule do you religiously break?

I believe that in photography there are no rules. There are guidelines.

The image “Suit and Tie”, featured in the 500px and Scotiabank 2020 Contact Exhibition, is such a different style from your other portraits. Can you tell us about the concept and process behind it?

I had this concept two years prior to executing the shoot. I always wanted to explore more, and blur the lines of my portrait photography. I attempted to do the shoot with another model at a different location, but things didn’t work out.

When summer was approaching back in 2019, I revisited the concept and decided to take a different approach. I had only one shot in mind, but I started to get creative (and this is where the mirror came into the picture), to see how many looks and angles I could come up with. I reached out to a different person (who’s a photographer), who I photographed before, to be my subject. We went down to the nearest beach, and that’s where we did the shoot.

What is your favorite image on your 500px profile and why?

“Suit and Tie” is probably my favorite to this day, not just on the site but in my photography catalog. I believe it was the creative production and the process of taking the photos for that project. Everything happened organically and it was simple.

What surprises do you have in store for your next project? (If you’re able to share, of course.)

I recently released a personal project called “Nephilim.” It’s a photo and visual project geared towards black women and how they handle their grace while going through trials and tribulations in the world we live in. To view this project it’s available on my website or YouTube.

And I have one more concept-based project that I plan on shooting towards the end of summer, based on a popular Disney show that used to air when I was a teen.

Check out past 500px Spotlights:
Teddy Tavan
Ash Camas
Aleksandra Lemke
Priscilla Ong
Dom Piat
Amel Herzi
Seth Macey

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