STARR PROFILE // Virgil David

Virgil David Kere, aka Virgil David, came to Starr Street Studios recently to explore beauty. You wouldn’t know to look at the product that it was his first studio shoot using strobe lighting. From West Africa, to France, to Brooklyn, New York, Virgil David is here to make art and to learn. We can’t wait to see where he goes — especially at Starr Street! He lives at @iamvirgildavid on Instagram and his webpage is coming soon.

We spoke with Virgil David to get some background on his experiences shooting with us and to hear what makes this photographer tick.

— Joey @ Starr

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Tell us a little about yourself and your work. What's your background? What's your artistic vision and what drives you creatively?

I was born in West Africa, raised in France and have been living in the US for almost 10 years now. I love everything related to art in general with a particular passion for photography. I am still fairly new on the scene as I have only been shooting for a little less than 2 years now. I started shooting by "accident," the initial purpose of me buying a camera was to start a YouTube channel with the girl I was dating at the time. It didn't work out the way I had hoped it would and I had the equipment so I started taking photos and loved it.

I am a United Nations staff member during the day and a creative artistic junkie 24/7! I hope to one day make photography my full time job!

My artistic vision is very simple: I shoot to bring out the beauty and meaning in the simplest things that the common eye will miss most of the time. I focused on portraits because I love the human aspect of it, interacting, getting to know people and understanding their stories to capture their essence and depth. Nothing brings me more joy than to bring a smile on my subject's face.

As I have mentioned I am fairly new, so what currently drives me is learning the craft! I can literally spend hours, sometimes sleepless nights learning the fundamentals of photography, practicing, watching videos and tutorials, scrolling through some of my favorite portraitists and artists pages just to LEARN! I am currently exploring all types of portraits to find my own personal style, I am not afraid to step out of my comfort zone, take risks and definitely not afraid to fail. It's digital nowadays, if you don't like it, delete and start over, but never get discouraged and never stop learning!

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What was the focus of your Starr Street shoot? And how did Starr Street help facilitate it? How did it come out?

Back in September of 2018 I had wanted to create my first beauty photo shoot. I had the idea and concept in mind but lacked the proper execution. (As a beginner it's important to know your weaknesses and strengths in order to get better.) I then reached out to my friend Nesshell Rainford (@shelleraiphotos) and offered her to join me on this project. She loved it, came fully on board and from there we planned, put out a call for 6 models and 4 MUAs and found Starr Street Studios as the perfect location.

It was affordable, big enough, had the right equipment and was available. This studio shoot was my first using studio strobes on my own, every other studio shoot I had done prior was through workshops so everything was set and ready to go. This was a valuable experience as the goal was for me to learn lighting and off camera flash, as well as in depth skin retouching in post production. Needless to say that Nesshell and I spent a lot of time in the beginning trying to set the lights up as we didn't quite know what we were doing but still managed to come out with decent pictures. Thanks to one of the workers/owners at Starr Street Studios for helping out by explaining how to sync our transmitters to the receiver also. I am still learning lighting but I can say that I have gotten much better and acquired more knowledge since that day.

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What's next for you and your work?

What's next for me is continuous improvement and learning. 2019 is the year for me to take risks and venture into styles I would usually shy away from. I cannot be the best photographer I can be and a well rounded photographer if I don't take risks and make mistakes, so that's my plan for 2019. I also hope to start working with agencies and widen my network. Hopefully I'll be back at Starr Street Studios soon.

Thanks for stopping by, Virgil David.

We can’t wait to see you back at Starr Street soon!