This is a portrait session I did for my friend 301 Jah back in December, 2016. As a friend, I know him as Tae and my friend Dakota’s brother. As an artist he goes by the name of 301 Jah, “301” being a reference to a highway that passes through his hometown in Northampton County, NC.
Around the time when we shot together, he was working on his mixtape series: Kb4l (Knotty Boyz 4 Life), which he collaborated on with DJ B EAZY who’s also an artist from North Carolina. Tae wanted to shoot with me to create some content for his social media page in order to promote his work, so we set up this shoot together at his place.
For this shoot, Tae brought me into his garage to use as an indoor studio. It was pretty dark in there, but luckily, I always keep my photography lights in the trunk of my car. I used a one light strobe setup with an octagon softbox. It’s a huge light modifier that casts a very soft light on the subject. I felt like this would a good match for Tae’s vibe as an artist.
If I had to describe Tae’s music, I would say it focuses heavily on storytelling and his philosophy of life. He talks about staying true to himself, remaining loyal to his family, not trusting others who don’t align with his vision, and focusing on his goals. All of these stem from someone who is very strong and may be often seen as a lone wolf. I resonate with these values as an artist myself, so I wanted my photography to reflect them in the same way.
His main purpose for this shoot was to create content for social media, but in all honesty, Tae isn’t the kind of person who cares too much about that, and I don’t blame him. With all of these new artists using social media as a way to gain clout, it doesn’t take much to realize that this is the new exploit for “15 seconds of fame.” Artists are more focused on attention rather than producing substantial work.
Tae’s strategy is to invest in himself and his music first and foremost. Allowing the music to speak for itself is a clear representation of his values as an artist. He doesn’t care for the fake attention, he only wants people who will genuinely appreciate his music to support him. If you want to learn more about Tae, make sure to follow him on Instagram for updates on his latest projects. Make sure to check out his music on all streaming platforms under 301 Jah.
Enjoy the photos below and let me know what you think!