LLWF was founded in early 2011 after a trip from New York City, where I captured 100 portraits. I developed a unique skill set by pushing myself to approach and conversate with hundreds of New Yorkers all over the city. My vision was to capture all the demographics of New York as I toured the city on my bicycle. Initially, my desire to capture at least 10 portraits, prompted by asking these people if they had a New Year’s resolution.
After returning to my home in South Side Chicago, I reflected on the experience and adversity I overcame since people rejected my photo request many times; however, I still managed to successfully capture 75 portraits. Cultivating and developing a skill set for interviewing complete strangers became second nature; I felt so accomplished as if I transformed into a new person from this experience. I was no longer just a photographer, I became an artist who lived life without fear. Live Life Without Fear (LLWF) became the heartbeat of my life and the name of my company. With this new approach to life, I gained a new confidence. Over the last eight years, this mentality transcended into the adventurous rolling stone lifestyle that has taken me further than I could have ever imagined.
In the pursuit to further develop my skills in photography, I decided to move to Bowling Green, Ky. for the photojournalism program at Western Ky. Univ. It was quite an adjustment from being a city slicker bike messenger to the rural college student. I didn’t feel like I fit in with the crowd, so I wasn’t privy to conversations with other students. I overheard students at school talking about their desire to become war photographers; this too was an ambition of mine. Living LLWF, I decided to take it one step further-I enlisted in the Army to put my dreams into action.
After six months, I graduated from basic training with Ky. National Guard and returned to college. As an American Soldier, the skills of being a bike messenger and with my mantra for life, LLWF, I put myself to the test. To become the greatest portrait photojournalist I could, I applied my new Army values of “mission first and never quit” with “no matter the weather” mindset of a Chicago bike messenger in conjunction with my mantra “Live Life Without Fear.”
To complete my mission I had to capture as many radical portraits as possible. To do so, I had to travel as many miles possible in a cross-country cycling photography adventure to fulfill this dream despite any circumstances or adversity that I may have faced. Over the next three years, I refined my skill set by cycling and crossing the United States three times, graduating with degrees in printmaking and graphic design, commissioning as a Lieutenant in the Army Reserve and moving to Los Angeles.