Q&A w/ Sheldon Banks aka Shelby's Dad (@takeyophoto)
August 14, 2017
I first met Sheldon Banks aka Shelby's Dad aka @takeyophoto aka DJ Hot Boy at a show he was deejaying. I've always been intrigued by his "I don't give a fuck, I want some shine" attitude. I planned on giving it to him but things never worked out. Then one day his IG got popping. With the #35mmfilm and #filmisnotdead tags attached to his photos, he began dropping dope flicks on the daily. Whether the pictures featured local rappers, beautiful women, or street scenes, it was obvious they were taken by someone who saw and could capture with heart, the soul of a city. So we finally got the opportunity to give him that shine and reached out by email to ask him a couple questions. Here are the answers to Sheldon Banks' Q&A.
What's your story?
I love all my friends that fed me when I had nothing and supported me when I had it all foremost. My name is Sheldon Banks aka Shelbys Dad & @takeyophoto on Instagram. I'm 24 (going thru a stage where I think I'm OLD AF ). I'm from the Southside of Phoenix. I used to want to be known as a Southside kid that was in tune with the fly clothes and music. During the time I got hooked being a street ni**a, my mother kicked me out and I moved into my homies apartment (s/o @th3rd) where I found my love for being in photos, not as much to taking them yet, which I didn't even know I could - haha! Let me speed up the story my boy, Julian (@Julianbp) was taking photos of me and let me take some of him and I was HOOKED immediately. Naturally I loved it and it's been taking me to places and connecting me to people I never ever would have met. Being able to photograph my child, other people's family events, my favorite rapper Benjamin Fly (@okayokaybenji) for pay and countless things is so dope. I even became part of a magazine based out of California. I guess people just love the content I'm bringing and I'm forever grateful for that.
Self-trained or formal training and how did you get started?
I started shooting digital for about 3 month with a camera from Julian (@julianbp) and I loved it! I was okay at it too. But editing photos was something I couldn't do at the time because I had no computer. I brought this up with my boy Julian and he told me to just start shooting film because it’s more natural and raw. The first time I shot film in California, I got it developed and scanned and I posted one to Instagram and Urban Outfitters reached out to ask if they could repost. NEVER STOPPED SHOOTING FILM SINCE LOL.
Your photos are really dope because you seem to capture people in a natural state, how much are you directing people and what are looking for when you're taking pictures?
Lmao! You are good with the questions. Honestly I am a part time director. I stage or even sometimes do the exact pose I want to shoot in front of my subject to show them - unless it's a experienced model who do amazing work. Also unless it's my daughter, kids are the hardest to photograph.
The photos you take of females definitely feature them as sexy and beautiful, but also as strong women with tons of confidence. How does a shoot go when you're photographing a female?
Yoo man Im never gunna be able to find a girlfriend after this LOL. So this is a big secret of mine. I study Pam Grier and recreate almost every character she plays. She is strong but sexy. The fact you asked me this question let's me know my photos have feeling and life and some type of emotion I like that I can paint that... I'm upping my price after talking to you man thanks.
I grew up on 19th Ave and Roeser, so the South Plaza sign is iconic. Therefore, one of my favorite pictures is the one with you and your daughter in front of the sign. How much does South Phoenix and your daughter inspire your photos?
Being a young father trying to chase his dreams, instead of doing the corporate shit, sucks without a doubt because there are still times I can't get my daughter what she wants but it's slowly getting better and I’m getting closer to living off my craft. South Phoenix is in me in the way I talk and move. It shows me that there is culture and we are gonna win without a doubt.
Your first issue of Mugshot magazine was a success and is dope as hell, tell us what the inspiration behind it was and what the plan is moving forward?
Haha man can't give out anymore inspiration and game plans but I will say shout out to my boy in California that put this all together and picked me as his right hand man - Augustine Vargas (@vibe2dis) - Issue 002 is already in the works! Check it out - Mugshot Magazine A Film Only Magazine.