Spotlight: Justin Lamar


Justin Lamar is a photographer and filmmaker based out of Brooklyn, NY. With most of his work centered around storytelling, especially Black stories and all their nuances, Justin creates art that captures the emotion, soul and essence of his subjects. His work has been solicited by the likes of Footlocker, Complex, Puma, Macy's, Paul Stuart, Detroit is The New Black, Jordan Brand and more.

First, tell us a little about yourself. What is your background, how long have you been a photographer, and what type of photography do you specialize in?

My background is very diverse. At the age of 18 I joined the Navy so I could make it out of my hometown. Fast forward 6-8 years later, I found myself working for the FAA in HR and wanted to change careers. A friend told me that I had a good eye, and I’ve been on this incredible journey since. That was in 2017. I quit my job months later and gave photography and filmmaking my undivided attention just like I did when I played basketball as a kid in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.

Why did you get into photography, and what inspires you?

I got into photography because I was mesmerized how artists can alter/bend reality. I’m still fascinated to this day with how we can trap a moment in time and not only make it beautiful in its own right, but tell a story. For me, inspiration comes in many forms. From Gordon Parks and Andy Warhol to my peers Mark Clennon, Othello Banaci and Laurent Chevalier to name a few people. Recently, I’ve been keeping an eye out for good design and color palettes for future shoots as well.

Can you give us some insight into your shooting techniques when shooting film? What are the top 3 most important elements when you shoot film?

1. Take your time. It’s a process.

2. Know your film stock. Test and experiment. Know the limitations and how much you can push things with whatever film you’re using.

3. Practice like you play. Practice, but above all, have fun!

Why do you shoot film? Any advice to others interested in working with film?

I shoot film because I fell in love with not only the images, but the process. I become more intentional when shooting 120 film or 35mm. I’d tell anyone interested in working with film to take the dive. The dynamic range in film can be super forgiving when you’re starting out. Take your time and meter if your camera doesn’t have a built in meter.

What are your biggest influences as a creative?

My biggest influences are other creatives and art forms. I’m at the point in my journey that I’m admiring more paintings and design work. Music also heavily influences me. I’ve been finding myself listening to a lot of older soul and R&B songs recently.

Any recent photos, shoots, upcoming projects, or photography plans that you're excited about and would like to share with us? (Feel free to mention anywhere your work has been published)

I’m actually working on a project with Fuji Bikes where I’ll be shooting 120 film, 35mm film and a little bit of digital. I’ll be using Fujifilm Pro 400H for this shoot. I plan to do more filmmaking in the very near future. Mostly personal projects, but I’ll always be shooting some type of film while on assignment.

What’s your favorite photo or session you’ve ever taken on Fujifilm?

My favorite session has to be with my friend, Harvey, in East New York. We went to Shirley Chisholm State Park, which used to be a landfill, and shot in a wheat grass field. It was so much fun, and it looked liked we were in upstate, but in reality just minutes from the hustle and bustle of NYC.