Featured Artist: D'Angelo Williams


D’Angelo Williams is a junior photography major attending the Memphis College of Art from Jackson,MS. Much of the work he’s produced in sc...

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D Williams Main Image

D’Angelo Williams is a junior photography major attending the Memphis College of Art from Jackson,MS. Much of the work he’s produced in school derives from his challenges with body image, conformity and identity.It is inspired by his interest in the fashion and entertainment industries. His work takes on the looks associated with these industries, but focuses on the challenges that the average male, like himself, may face when there is only one type of male figure being praised in these industries. Outside of his school work he has begun photographing members of the African American community in Memphis. He sees this as a way to get closer to the culture he was raised in, but doesn’t identify with. Besides the fashion and entertainment industries he’s inspired by many photographers, both established and contemporary. Ranging from artists such as Richard Avedon to up-and-coming photographers, like Whitten Sabbatini. His work often emphasizes architecture and cinematography. He recently had his first solo show in Memphis at an abandoned Sanctuary. The show was a great success and has the young photographer more inspired than ever.


I got the chance to ask D’Angelo a few questions about his works, here’s what he had to say:

1. Me: What do you consider the perfect photo?

DW: The perfect photo, for me, is one that makes you think, laugh, informs you, challenges you. It’s one that appears to be effortless and has the potential to be timeless.

2. Me: What artists outside of photography have inspired you to be unique and push boundaries?
DW: Recently, Director, Spike Jonze and Performance Artist, Marina Abromovic. They’re both very talented artist with amazing bodies of work that are mentally stimulating.
3. Me: What is your greatest achievement as an artist?
DW: I had my first solo photography show in April. I got to curate this show of my own work and have people in Memphis view it. It was great.
4. Me: What message do you hope people receive through your photography?
DW: Much of my work deals with changing body image, challenging conformity, and obscuring identiy. I focus on the challenges that I have faced growing up having to deal with these issues. I want people to understand that we shouldn’t judge each other for our differences. We should embrace those differences. I think that as a modern society, we’re being introduced to so many new lifestyles and personalities, but aren’t willing to acknowledge that they do exist or understand why they exist.
5. Me:  Are you currently working on any projects?
DW: Currently I’m making work about identity in Southern culture. I’m going to different areas in, mostly, Memphis and some of North Mississippi, making portraits and photographing the area.
Here’s a gallery of some of those pics below:
6. Me: Once you graduate from school do you plan on entering the fashion/entertainment industry with a different perspective for people to see?
DW:  Honestly, it’s difficult for me, but yes. I love photographs of fashion, celebrities, models, movie scenes, and what not. However, being a photographer, who conforms to the standards that already exist in those careers is not my goal. I want to make work that has the aesthetic of those photographs, and in the end, present it as fine art. Working in advertising is a dream of mine though. I haven’t really made work that would help me advance in that area but I would like to soon.
7. Me: In what ways do you hope to help people be more confident with their body image through your photography?
DW: I think my work helps people accept that they are not the only ones dealing with these issues that I’m making work about. At the end of the day, the bigger challenge is to get others, who aren’t like us, to accept us.
D Williams Secondary
8. Me: What is one person or thing that you hope to capture on film in your lifetime?
DW: I really can’t say! I’ve always wanted to photograph famous people but, everyone wants to do that. I guess I would like to make portraits of people on the moon one day. First, I’d have to get over my fear of flying!
9. Me: What does the word success mean to you?
DW: Success is an inside thing for me. I can feel successful after going out and taking photos, even when I know that hardly anyone will see them after I’ve edited and posted them online. I like getting things done and knowing that something i’ve done exists for people to see. Also, the work you put into getting where you want to be is all on you. If you believe in the work you do, someone else will believe in you and that work. Hopefully, that someone will end up giving you a job or a check.
If want to check out more of D’Angelo’s photography and stay updated on his projects, check out the following links:
Instagram: dangelintheoutfield
Facebook: D’Angelo Lovell Williams
Twitter: Smangablejammr