shavon meyers

2017, let’s get it! (Say what’s real)

First off, THANK YOU!  Thank you for supporting everything that Visuals by Shavon Meyers has done in the past year.  Yes, 2016 the year that we we don’t speak of was a bit of a shit storm for many but I have to admit that personally, professionally and academically I excelled in the past year.  A few positive moves made by myself last year include:

Professionally:

A 100% increase in voice over work.  Seriously, I went from not having done any major voice over work since I left radio around 2011 to being a regular voiceover artist for a news app!  It’s funny how the universe works.  I say that because the minute that I decided to expand my brand and offer more services such as voiceover work, the universe said “Ok, here you go!”. 

I created my first client website.  Now I created and have been running my website for over 8 years now, but it’s my website.  I have total control over it and have had time to learn the various platforms used throughout the years, but this was different.  For the first time I was commissioned to create a website from scratch for a well know and established author and professor in anticipation of his new book.   No pressure! 😉  Well I did it and he and his fan base love it so I intend on learning more about website development and will continue to offer my services in that field as well.

I finished my screenplay for what will be my fourth short film!  This film will be longer than the last three but not feature length so it will still be considered a short.  I anticipate production beginning this year.

I graced two major set productions that will hopefully make their premieres this year.  The first involved me being an extra on Spike Lee’s Netflix series “She’s Gotta Have It”.  The overall experience was great and seeing Spike Lee work first hand was an inspiring moment in 2016.  The second involved me flying to LA for a totally different video production experience.  I can’t say anything else about it (the way this non disclosure agreement is set up…) but when it’s released you’ll hear more about it.

I launched sometimesshewrites.com in hopes of being more consistent with my writing.  I said I would give it a good solid year, so here we go.

I’ve been shooting!  Photography is my passion and I’ve been able to continue capturing moments and creating stories with new and existing clients throughout the year.

Personally:

I paid off TWO credit cards putting me one credit card closer to being debt free.  That’s a huge accomplishment that once did not seem to be attainable but with a bit of sacrifice and consistency I did it! 

I ended the school year with a 3.8 GPA.  3.8 GPA!  

I survived the madness that was the election season without harming myself or anyone else.  That was an accomplishment.  

Overall, I had a pretty good year and I hope you did as well.  If you’ve been with me for awhile by now you now that I don’t really do new year resolutions, I just aim to do better.  Get shit done, talk less and do more.  I’m all about results because talk is cheap and in 2017 EVERYBODY has a platform to speak from which leaves room for lots of empty chatter.  Each year I strive to be more present in this social media infused world and this year is no exception.  Disconnect a little more from time to time and have real life connections with humans.  Read more.  Learn more.  Grow more.  Love more and allow myself to be loved more.  Continue growing spiritually.  Be more creative in my art forms and push the boundaries of these creative arts a bit more.  These are honestly my everyday goals that are magnified at the top of the year.  I hope this new year brings more prosperity, blessings, love and joy to you.  Once again, thank you for your support.  Let’s fuck 2017 up in the best way possible! 

Flashback: I photographed President Barack Obama.

My President is black!

Next year, I won’t be able to say that SO, I’ll say it now for what will likely be the last time that I can say it for awhile.  

About 7 years ago when I first decided to take my photography to the next level, I started as many photographers do.  I took classes, learned as much as I could and shot as much as I could.  This meant shooting a TON of events.  You name it, I was there.  Didn’t matter the event or if there was a budget attached to it (which most if not all of the time, there wasn’t) I just wanted to get out there and shoot, share my images and be seen on the scene as a photographer (most definitely not my style now).  My first big gig was to photograph various events for a member of the NAACP at it’s 100th year celebration at the Hilton Hotel in Midtown.  This was a huge event with the main speaker being non other than President Barack Obama.  

The universe aligned perfectly to even allow me in the building, let alone capture images for one of the representatives and possibly of the then newly elected President Barack Obama, but it didn’t start out that way.  After hearing about the event a few months earlier, I applied for a press pass for “The B Side Show” which was a podcast that I hosted and produced back then.  I picked up my official pass and details about the events.  The President was the highlight speaker, but only pre approved national news organizations and members of the press would be allowed into the auditorium to cover the speech for national new outlets.  Blogs and podcasts be damned.  Note: this was 7 years ago, before people even truly understood what blogs and podcasts were.  Today, SOME of them are highly respected outlets of information, 7 years ago when I started mine, people scratched their heads and wondered why anyone would listen to a radio show online.  Meh.  My goal was to cover the event for my show and blog at the time.  Sure I would have LOVED to be in the same room as the President during his speech but with no real connection to any national news outlets, it didn’t seem possible…to most.

The hotel was a few block away from my then current job at Sirius XM Radio.  I was able to work my 9-5, leave and walk up the block to the event.  It couldn’t get any better, right?  I bolted out of the doors at Sirius XM (back then just Sirius) with the first DSLR that I’d ever purchased and my standard lens kit, press pass in hand, for ready for whatever.  I made it to the hotel with no problem.  Got to the entrance, showed my press pass to the attendant and made my way inside.

So now I’m here!  I’m inside The Carter ugh, The Hilton (but I did have that same excitement as Ice T and crew when Pookie finally made his way into the core of the operation).  Now what?  I didn’t have anyone on the inside to guide me through anything.  I had my list of events and speeches that I was allowed to photograph but there was no point person to check in with.  The President was scheduled to speak the following day, so this was the warm up to the burn down so to speak.  One of the main days of musical performances, lectures and other NAACP events that led up to the President’s address.  So, I made my my around.  Pulled out my camera, put my press pass around my neck and waited.  I was ready, but there was nothing happening.  I’d gotten there early and none of the events were scheduled to take place at that time so I roamed around looking for anything to capture.  I made my way into an event space for one of the speakers and performances of the evening.  I stood close to the stage, camera in hand and again, I waited.  Then something happened, the universe came through in a major way.  A handsome young black man who worked for the organization approached me.  “Are you photographing the event?” he asked.  “Yes.” I replied eager to do something other than wait.  “Would you mind helping me out, my name is…and I’m the Director of…for the NAACP and I need someone to follow me around and get images of me and the celebrities of the evening” he said.  “OF COURSE!” is what I hope I said.  Like his name, title and the exact conversation, I can’t remember every detail but it ended up with me following this young man around for hours meeting, photographing and mingling with celebrities and activists that I grew up seeing.  HE was the plug as folk would say today.  He knew everyone and everyone knew him and I was his photographer for the evening.  PUSH THROUGH UNIVERSE.

We ended the evening with me having a ton of photos to sift through and him mentioning the main event the next day, The President’s speech.  “Will you be here for that?” he asked.  “Well, yes but I don’t have a pass to get into the actual auditorium.” I told him.  “Ok…we’ll see what we can do about that.  Be here tomorrow and I’ll try and get you in.”  “OF COURSE!” is again what I hope I said, either way, I was excited and knew I would be there.

 If you live in NYC or any town in which any President has ever visited, you know the madness that I am about to speak on.  When the President comes to town everything shuts DOWN.  I’ve never seen a city stand still and have so much movement at the same time quite like it does when the president arrives.  I figured the word would get out about the President being at the event but I didn’t think it would be Times Square New Years Eve crazy.  After working my shift at Sirius, I left a bit earlier to try and avoid the crowd.  Unfortunately, I could see the crowd from a few blocks away as I approached the hotel.  Excellent.  I somehow managed to get myself to the front of the crowd with the NYPD and their barricades.  Here comes the bullshit I thought.  I showed them my pass and without a word, they opened the barricades and let me through.  It was like the parting of the Red damn Sea!  If there was ANYTHING that would stop my ass from getting into the building SURELY it would be NY’s finest, but no, the universe kept on providing…

I made my way in and called my contact.  “You made it!” he seemed thrilled but not as thrilled as I was to make it in the building.  Again, I don’t remember how exactly the conversation went but it ended with me getting access to the auditorium in which the President would speak.  He told me that I would be seated next to the official White House TV crew.  Some national media outlets were allowed inside the room, but most were only allowed in the separate media room to watch the event on tv screens.  He pointed out the secret service people and other people that I should be aware of.  He showed me to my section and off he went.  He had to return to his duties and would actually get to meet and greet the President as an NAACP member.  “Get whatever shots that you can get, but most of all have fun and enjoy his speech…” he said warmly.  My heart smiles to this day when I think about the kindness and willingness of this stranger to give a newbie like myself an opportunity to shine.  Hey universe, hey…

And then, there was The President.

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The room exploded with applause as he walked on stage.  Newly elected, youthful and full of energy.  His speech provide inspiration, hope and promise.  He gratefully acknowledged the past and looked onto the future.  As a black woman, seeing my first black President address members of the NAACP at its 100 year celebration was one of those defining moments in my life.  A monumental and historic experience that I will cherish for all of my days.  But I also had to work!  After the initial shock, excitement and moment of clarity, I picked up my camera and went to work.  I couldn’t move around the auditorium and I had several huge tv cameras in my line of sight.  Not mention the fact that I was situated on the balcony and was only working with a consumer level camera and standard lens as a novice to the art…so my photos weren’t great LOL.  In fact they sucked.  They suck to me now, 7 years later after learning more about the craft, myself and my equipment.   After sharpening my skills with years of practice and investing in better equipment.  But back then, they were ok.  In fact, everyone including the person that I eventually delivered the final images to thought they were great.   Keep in mind, the NAACP most certainly had other photographers present that were able to capture up close and personal images of The President backstage with other prominent NAACP members.  The White House also always has its staff photographers on hand to share images for the press that they have total control over.  I was more of a Camera B/behind the scenes photographer for the President’s address.  But nonetheless, a behind the scenes photographer for a historic event featuring President Barack Obama.  Not bad for my first official gig.  

“And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.” – Paul Coelho The Alchemist

Overall, all of the images, including the photos that I took at the various other events for the celebration, came out pretty good.  Today, I strive for greatness and know that if the opportunity presented itself now, I’d excel at it with no problem.  With the knowledge and skills that I’ve accumulated for my craft both in the field and in the classroom, there is no doubt in my mind that I would be able to provide exceptional images, even from a dimly lit balcony with tv cameras in my direct line of sight.  Experience does that.  Time and practice as well.  Here’s the one thing that I had back then, even without the added skills and experience, I had confidence.  I had it all!  Did I know that my equipment wasn’t the best of the best?  Yes.  Did I let that stop me?  No.  Did I let the fact that I wasn’t as experienced as most scare me into backing out of this amazing opportunity?  Hell no.  I showed up, was ready to work, learn, listen and be open to the possibilities.  That event, that moment in time solidified a lot of things for me, including my push to become a full time photographer.  It proved to me that you don’t have to have a big name, huge following or sometimes, even the most knowledge in the room.  You have to be willing to show up, step out on faith and be open to the possibilities.  And let’s not forget, if you make mistakes, learn from them and move on!  I am grateful that I had the universe working on my side that week and always.  I’m grateful to the young brother that took a chance on me and offered an amazing opportunity to get my foot in the door.  I’m grateful for being able to witness a black man with ties to the south side of Chicago be elected President in my lifetime and for the opportunity to watch him address those who helped create a path for himself, myself and the black youth that follow.  Those images and that day are apart of my history.  No matter what happens with this election,  UPDATE: Fuck Trump… I’m grateful that I was able to witness someone who looked like myself accomplish something that was so much bigger than myself.  President Barak Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama inspire me to BE.  

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Risk it all. #sometimesshewrites (say what’s real)

A NY Daily News article from January 2016 came across my social media feed highlighting a young Queens photographer by the name of Dark Cyanide.  The teen captured photos of some of the city’s abandoned subway stations, you can see more of the photos here.  It got me thinking about taking risks.  I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do this.  Sneak into one of the many access points throughout the city, camera in hand, ready to document the rarely seen underbelly of the beast that is New York City.  I have an attraction to “dirty” things.  Let me be clear, I am a neat freak.  I do not enjoy dwelling or working in filth or clutter.  I hate when things are not neat and tidy, but I am attracted to ruin.  Buildings that have been demolished, abandoned areas, things that were once new and beautiful and in use but have been left unkept and are now abandoned, old and dirty (see my trip to the abandoned Immigrant Hospital on Ellis Island). So what’s stopping me from exploring the abandoned subways that I’ve yearned to document for so long?  FEAR.  Damn right.  I’m scared AF to go down under to not only discover what is sure to be a wonderland of undocumented ruined city jewels but also the thousands of city rats, insects, people (yes, the “mole people”) and not to mention the risk of being electrocuted, arrested or catching something that my body can not properly fight off.  This 19 year old and his friends have that 19 year old immortality that we all believe we have at 19 and I envy that a bit.  The 30+ year old me knows damn well that I am not immortal and no picture is worth risking my safety, however, there is still a part of me that wants to take that risk.  

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I want to risk it all and take that literal leap down an old manhole in the middle of an abandoned city block and leave all of that fear on the city street above me.  I want to roam the desolate subway tracks capturing the beauty in the ruins below.  I want to stand perfectly still holding my breath as I try to hand hold a long exposure shot, because fuck a tripod in these uncertain conditions.  I want to leap from track to track as the wind from an approaching train brushes across my face.  I want to discover the unknown and be fearless while doing it.  Do I want to do this alone?  Nope.  Am I saying that I’m going to do this at all?  Absolutely not.  What I am saying is, I do want to flirt with the idea of it.  Risking it all.  Even if not for this act in particular.  Maybe I take a risk and start a project that I’ve always wanted to start.  Maybe I risk some money on an investment and see where it leads me while not worrying about the potential to fail.  Maybe I film that ambitious new completed screenplay that’s sitting on my desk (actually, this is already happening…stay tuned).  Maybe I just jump for the sake of taking the leap, knowing that I’m risking it all, or nothing at all.  Maybe, the fear is all in my head and the risk is an imaginary door whose certain defeat is as easy as me taking a breath, opening it and walking through it.  

Just breath and risk it all (or nothing).    

Travel: Niagara Falls & Watkins Glen State Park

I decided to squeeze an end of summer getaway into my extended weekend and I’m so glad that I did!  Having never been to Niagara Falls or Watkins Glen State Park, I was taken aback by the magnitude and beauty of both destinations.  Here are a few pics from the trip and some video of my journey on the famous “Maid of the Mist” boat ride which takes you as close as you can get to the falls, with the added bonus of a refreshing shower along the way…

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And for the sake of experimentation, I decided to add some HDR effects to this picture.  What do you think?

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#findyoursummer (August) For the youth…

Summer Finale!

I love this piece.  Black and brown youth are often forced to grow up fast due to many circumstances but this summer in particular, I felt there were a lot of children forced to witness a ton of injustice, bigotry and hate.  I also saw a lot of children being children.  Actually playing…OUTSIDE!  They were being kids.  Carefree, joyful and full of life.  What a beautiful sight!  I love that this piece came to me while I was at the beach.  I also love that the children filmed are silhouetted by the sun so that you can’t see their faces.  I’m always cautious about photographing or videotaping kids so the sun worked in my favor on that hot August day.  I wrote this piece with the youth of today in mind but also for the young at heart.  As we wrap up another summer season, I hope you were able to at least for a moment capture the essence of the season, be youthful in spirit and #findyoursunmer.  Here’s to a great end of the summer and a prosperous Fall season!

August (For the youth…)

I hope the sun’s rays were good to you and allowed you to be a kid again.

Free.

Abundant in play and without worry.

I hope the ocean’s waves crashed at your feet and washed away any doubt that you could be anything.

And everything.

And nothing,

if you so choose.

I hope the August heat melted uncertainty and birthed promise.

Find joy in the light.

Let the sweat trickle down your brow and illuminate your aura.

Taste the sweet bitterness of the ocean and become drunk off of its life.

I hope you found freedom in the ocean’s waves and will never let it go.

What I’m Listening to: My ” 6inch Tims, Bubble Vest, Third Rail Hat music” playlist

I recently got a Tidal subscription (I know, I know…) but my reason for doing so has nothing to do with Jay Z, thinking I will actually listen to all of the music that they claim they have (they definitely do not have EVERYTHING) or any other reason that most people seem to get a music streaming subscription.  I actually think it’s insane to pay a subscription to “rent” music that you can pay a one time fee and actually own but that’s my flaw, get your money music streaming sites.  I feel like I was forced to get this subscription due to my recent iPhone debacle.  In short, I upgraded, got a new iPhone and for the first time in my Apple history received a lemon.  The phone randomly deleted all…ALL of my music collection three separate times.  I’ve done some research and can’t find an answer that makes sense.  The only thing that I can come up with in my conspiracy theory laced brain is that all of the newer Apple iPhones are flawed when it comes to Itunes  and their algorithm because they want us all to eventually move to an Apple music subscription.  Apple has already made it clear that they are moving forward with cloud subscription based programs and the introduction of Apple music’s new platform was the beginning of the end for owning music via mp3’s or downloads in my opinion.  So after being frustrated with having to re-download thousands of songs and getting a replacement phone, I decided to take advantage of these student discounts that some of the music streaming services offer and skip the drama of losing my music again.  However, I REFUSE to give in and get an Apple music subscription so I decided to give Tidal a shot and I must admit, it’s not bad at all…for a music streaming service.

So after a few weeks of getting used to not having any real music that I own on my phone, I decided to create and share a 90’s hip hop playlist, mainly because I couldn’t find a really good one.  These are songs that I grew up listening to, songs that I’ve missed and songs that in my opinion go harder than ANY OF THIS NEW SHIT PLAYING RIGHT NOW.  If you have also  been forced into getting purchased a Tidal subscription, do check out my playlist below.  If you haven’t jumped ship yet, I’ve provided the song playlist below so that you can check out the songs on your own.  I don’t think you can listen to more than a few seconds of a preview without a Tidal subscription but you can always purchase the tracks or vibe out on youtube.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

These are songs that were on my original playlist but the mighty Tidal did not have them in its library, FAIL:

Crooklyn Dogers “Crooklyn”

Crooklyn Dogers ’95 “Return of The Crooklyn Dogers”

Queen Latifah “Jersey”

Da Bush Babees “Remember We”

A+ “All I See”

Lil Vicious “Nika”

I’m not sure why these songs aren’t in the massive Tidal library.  I kind of understand why the soundtrack songs would be more of a challenge to get on a music streaming site (New Jersey Drive for The Queen and Crooklyn and Clockers for the Crooklyn Dogers) but the rest are regular singles that I thought would be there.  I found Nine’s “Whatchu Want” for crying out loud, WHY is there NO Lil Vicious on Tidal (that one random song doesn’t count)?  Anyway, take a trip back in time and check out the playlist on Tidal here or you can view the selected tracks below.  Enjoy!

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#FINDYOURSUMMER (#2 July)

As the last week of July rolls around, I’m sharing 3 summer inspired pieces for the July edition of my #findyoursummer project.  I have to admit, this month has been a bit of a rollercoaster in the world.  Between the various terrorist attacks around the world to the murders of innocent black and brown individuals by police officers in my own backyard to this mess of a presidential campaign, it’s been quite the challenge to come up with a new piece for the series.  Then I remembered that THIS is exactly what it’s about.  “Finding your summer” is all about finding your paradise, your heaven or you peace in a world filled with chaos and sometimes that means revising whatever it was that gave you that special “summer” feeling.  So I went back in time a bit and decided to revisit a few of my favorite summer inspired pieces to share for this month.  Reminiscing, revisiting and remembering all filter into “finding your summer” so I invite you to take a sunny trip down memory lane and get lost in the pieces.  Enjoy!

A Love Supreme

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Mold my heart to yours.

I’ll mimic every beat.

Trace every crease with my lips and leave behind my devotion.

I’m a slave to your touch.

To you.

Forever.

Your love lives in me

Can’t you see it?

Take my hand and guide me through your dreams.

Give me your night terrors to slay and I’ll never stop fighting.

Let me kiss away your pain and shield you from the world’s evil glare.

Your love lives in me.

Can’t u see it?

This love supreme

Can’t you feel it?

I see your lips in the clouds and now pray for rainy days.

You eyes make themselves known in sunsets off the coasts of

anywhere,

Beckoning me to play in the valley that is your being.

Let me in.

Please let my love enter your heart.

Don’t be afraid.

Don’t run away.

Please stay and allow me to be here for you

Because you are here.

Always.

In me.

My love for you is strong and lives,

Breathes,

Is me.

Can’t you see it?

Your love lives in me.

Your love lives in me.

Your love lives in me.

If only you knew it was living there.

Summer Madness

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Fatherless girls with fatties

Looking for the next dude to call Daddy

Sadly,

They gladly extend bare arms

Reaching for tatted soldiers that bear arms

Same song

But not as Kool as the gang

Names change

Situations stay the same

15 year old died after his championship game

The news claimed

He was gang affiliated

Falsely associated

Human life underrated

Young men claim city owned blocks

White tees and black jeans

The cycle never stops

The shots never got

The intended target

EMS trucks don’t even bother

Fatherless youth cultivated in a motherless womb

Summer heat always brings out the true goons

Ruthless heat bring cold metal to streets

Tempers flaring

The whole block gets caught in your beef

September grief

Wake me up when it ends

Brooklyn Summer

Until we meet again.

Seasons (Summer) Pt. 1
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Let’s dance
And smile
And play
And eat berries until
The sky becomes pink and grey
Spend days by the ocean
Greeted by its breeze
Let’s get lost in it all
Work like we love it
Spend hours in someone else’s world like we matter
Because we know in a few short moments
We will have the sun all to ourselves
Let’s pray together
Out loud or in silence
Let’s affirm our guidance and not worry at all
Let’s grieve when sorrow hits and never live in it
Grow through it together, or alone
Let’s write music no one will hear so we never fear
Dream impossible dreams awake, sleep and dream again
Let’s love like there’s no hate
Pour our souls on paper so generations to come can relate
Let’s be free
Let’s be free
Let’s be free
LET’S BE FREE!
And never leave the water’s edge

 

An ACTION plan

Another week, another handful of black men dying at the hands of reckless police officers.  If you’ve been living under a rock, google it. #blacklivesmatter and it’s time for a real plan of action.  There are a few suggestions being thrown around and here’s one that I most definitely support, stop letting the dollar circulate. Artist Roshmond Sum Patterson and I had a dope exchange on twitter (@shavonmeyers twitter handle) about possible solutions to the mass murders occurring at the hands of police across the city. While my initial response is to STOP LETTING THE DOLLAR CIRCULATE and hit these cities in their pockets where it hurts (boycott), he came up with an even more appropriate first step that includes boycotting in a traditional sense but for a new era. Peep his solution and let’s stop talking about doing something and ban together and DO something.

Although during times like this things can get really dark, it’s important to remember that there has to be a balance and that balance comes from light and love.  Spread love and light.  Take care of yourselves, your family and your communities.

The beginnings of a new weapon to fight injustice via Sum

Peace.

Corazon screening at the Bondfire Radio Independent Film Night

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July 29th, 2016 Brooklyn, New York

Corazón will be screened as part of the Bondfire Radio Independent Film Night in Bushwick, Brooklyn.  Myself and other featured filmmakers will be at the screening and will take part in a panel discussion followed by an afterparty!

Via Bondfire Radio:

Bondfire Radio is joining forces with The Luminal Theater to bring you an exclusive Pop Up night of independent short films, a panel, and after party. A fundraiser with flair!

-Short Film Screening

-Panel facilitated by Curtis John of The Luminal Theater.

-After Party sounds by iLLSpokkin (Freestyle Mondays) & Macedonia (Both Sides of The Surface)

Complete with concession stand!

To purchase tickets:
https://summerofbondfireearlybirdtix.splashthat.com/