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Sundjata Imhepi: I love the quote by Albert Watson “Without light, you don’t have a shot”

Who is Sundjata Imhepi as an artist?

Michael Sundjata Johnson is a Fashion & Beauty Photographer based in the Chicagoland area. The name Sundjata was given to me by my God Mother after the great Malian King Sundjata Keita of Mali West Africa. I’ve been a Professional Photographer for 8 years now and love the creativity of what I do.

How has photography influenced you as a person and what do you love most about being a photographer?

Photography has given me the ability to see deeper inside my subject no matter the genre of each shoot. Seeing the transformation from being shy or showing them their inner beauty makes me feel good to tap into one's inner essence.

What is the most important thing for creating new amazing work?

Being able to create anything I want based on my imagination. My camera can freeze that one moment in time that people usually miss because of this busy world. I want to show exactly what’s right in front of us be it happiness, pain, compassion, just complete emotion (Tell an amazing story).

How do you prepare for your new shootings?

I always build my mood boards based on the concepts I have in mind. Taking images from a number of sources (Pinterest, Magazines, Youtube, etc.) Then I’ll build my team to help put the vision into action, with the last piece being the talent that can bring the concept to life

How important is it to be knowledgeable about fashion, photography, and the latest trends to be successful as a photographer?

As a Fashion Photographer it’s very important to stay up to date with the latest trends, but more so in knowing how t

o use your equipment to bring out the looks and aesthetic you envision in conjunction with your creativity. To me being able to look at certain trends and make it your own is what’s going to help you stand out as a trend Setter.

How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?

I would say I’m still finding my style but bold, and artistic with a lot of fun movements.

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

I love the quote by Albert Watson “Without light, you don’t have a shot”. Learning to control light can make or break your shoot and how your audience sees your art, I love being able to tell a story with my work.

How do you keep yourself productive and retain your creative edge?

I’m always in creative mode. From the time I open my eyes, I’m looking around me and noticing my environment, how people react to everything, and the different gestures someone may make during a casual conversation. So when I get a moment to sit down I’m building a mood board on my tablet or draw in my notebook.

What do you think is the hardest thing in your life you've ever had to overcome?

Every day is a challenge but having a strong faith in God and knowing he places me in different positions for a reason even if I don’t understand why.

Wardrobe Stylist/Model: Issy Cespo @issycrespo_

Producer/Creative Director/Set Designer/Retoucher/Ph: Sundjata Imhepi @sundjata1


You can read The MAIN ISSUE Vol. 30 here:



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