Spanish Swagga Music interview the photographer.
SWAGGA MUSIC: How was the photoshoot with Lil Kim?
MICHAEL ANTONIO: The photoshoot was in Manhattan. It was a long day with a lot of different looks. She looked different every set change. I love Kim, she is a sweetheart and looks out for everyone around her. We had a lot of Rihanna playing and random techno. It was a very “fashion” shoot.
SWAGGA MUSIC: Did she contact you and requested you the photoshoot?
MICHAEL-ANTONIO: We were in contact for a while before working with each other.
SWAGGA MUSIC: Do you already know if those pictures will be used as the cover of an album or so?
MICHAEL-ANTONIO: I am not allowed to answer that at the moment. But expect a lot of surprises.
SWAGGA MUSIC: You must be aware about the bad relationship between Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj. Would you take pictures of Nicki Minaj if she asked you?
MICHAEL-ANTONIO: This is business and at the end of the day, my brand is a mutual party.
SWAGGA MUSIC: What do you think about the beef between them?
MICHAEL-ANTONIO: I am a Kim fan. Period. I wish the beef were over and I think a lot of their fans feel the same way. If Nas and Jay can keep it moving, they can too. They may be more powerful together than I think they realize. I always condone peace. But…this is hip hop. It gets gritty. The visionary in me really wants to shoot them together in some epic moment. It would be…legendary. Now, hopefully no one steals my idea. (Laugh)
SWAGGA MUSIC: How was the photoshoot with Amber Rose?
MICHAEL-ANTONIO: It was fun, easy and we had a fun day. I adore my darling Amber.
SWAGGA MUSIC: She wore very sexy clothes. Did the models decide what clothes to wear or you are the one who tell them how to do it?
MICHAEL_ANTONIO: Amber is her own boss. But I am the director…I have a say so in almost everything. But, people make their own decisions. And we have wardrobe stylist and all that good stuff.
SWAGGA MUSIC: How much is the price of this kind of photoshoots with you?
MICHAEL-ANTONIO: Prices are provided upon request via firstname.lastname@example.org
SWAGGA MUSIC: You are 24 years old, right? How did you achieve to get where you are?
MICHAEL-ANTONIO: It’s not a how-to on how to do this “stuff.” If you ask most people in this industry how they got where they are…they’d say “a lot of hard work” and I agree. I stayed persistent and worked hard and worked SMART. A lot of sacrifice and doing things you don’t feel like doing, but you have to. Its gratifying though. One tip, be kind. People respond to positive people positively. Being an asshole is a rumor.
SWAGGA MUSIC: I read, in your childhood, you never thought you would be a photographer. What did you want to be by then?
MICHAEL-ANTONIO: I love what I do. Its a passion of mine. I love art and movies and Hollywood. I still have these dreams, but I wanted to be an actor and a director as a child; I never seen myself as a photographer. My 1st passion though is music and it still is a major factor in my life. You’ll all see what I mean soon. hahaha.
SWAGGA MUSIC: Let me know a little bit else about your bio. Where did you grow up, school, family…
MICHAEL ANTONIO: In a nutshell, I’m a boy from the Bronx whose family was always traveling and I was exposed to art and that manifested this love I have for beautiful places, people and things.
SWAGGA MUSIC: We were able to interview famous photographer of Brooklyn, Jamel Shabazz. He told us how hip hop fashion had changed during the years. How would you describe the hip hop fashion nowadays?
MICHAEL-ANTONIO: Hip hop fashion is mainstream… so much that I don’t know if “hip-hop fashion” exist. People in hi hop wear the same high-fashion labels as the people at Vogue, they wear them differently though. Swag. I think hip hop has become more conscious of (and has greatly influenced and been influenced by) fashion as it grows.
SWAGGA MUSIC: Nowadays, because of the Internet, many photographers see how some people post their pictures without any permission. Did you have a problem of this kind?
MICHAEL-ANTONIO: I hate that. I hate seeing my photos somewhere with a story and I am not given proper photo credit. I want to send cease and desist letters to everyone who does that. Photography is a craft that is taken for granted…everyone wants beautiful photos, but people realize its more than just clicking away. Its an art…and like music artist…photographers need to be credited (and payed) every-time their photos are used ANYWHERE.
SWAGGA MUSIC: Could we tell the Photoshop is to the photography as the auto-tune is to the music?
MICHAEL-ANTONIO: I use Photoshop a lot and for different projects and for different reasons and at different degrees. It really varies for me. Sometimes its absolutely NO Photoshop or very little at all and sometimes its excessive. Depends on what my client and I think is appropriate. Photoshop is to me what special effects are to movies. Its a necessary tool in today’s world. The day all movies use NO special effects or CGI…I will no longer use Photoshop. I wonder how people would like Transformers, Twilight or Harry Potter without their special effects. I’m not sure they’d appreciate it.
SWAGGA MUSIC: What is your advice for other young photographers who are starting now?
MICHAEL_ANTONIO: Sometimes giving up seems like the best thing…but if you stop believing in yourself, everyone else will too. Stay focused on growing and making what you do better. An image can change the world…you have power!