We had the good fortune of connecting with Bryan Nwami and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bryan, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I’ve come to learn that having peace, balance, and rhythm internally, might require moving before or behind the pace of one’s surroundings—connected, but out of sync. Choosing yourself in these instances is a risk. You risk relationships, loosing your audience, not stepping into potentially lucrative scenarios. But you have to stay true to your work. You have to stay true to who you are—your creative energy. This doesn’t have to echo sacrifice and heaviness. I’ve learned that I can very much look like exploration and play. There came a point where I decided I was willing to risk losing at my old ideas and markers of success, if it meant freedom, authenticity, and remaining human, in my life and in my work.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I began with a blog I ran with iPhone photos of times and memories my friends and I would make around the city. I felt like we were coming into ourselves and were beginning to segue out of the night-life scene into places that could potentially match our energy. We didn’t want to worry about what we were wearing, standing in lines, or spending an unreasonable amount of money to enjoy each other in public spaces. I always took photos. I was that guy–the one with his phone out. After long, they didn’t mind. Soon, they wouldn’t even notice me, and that worked out perfect—candid photos of my friends loving, laughing, eating, talking, and enjoying one another. I’d post them to a blog, a Tumblr, more so to save storage space on my phone. I would have friends (and sometimes friends of friends) share how much they enjoyed the energy behind the photos–how they’d routinely check the blog Monday morning to see where we went and what we were doing. They all felt that I should consider photography. I later bought a used film camera, a Minolta SRT-202. I wanted to respect the craft. I wanted to actually learn how things worked and how to take a solid photo. Following six months of failure and successes, I was ready to go digital. I posted a “go fund me” and my friends covered the entirety of the digital camera, plus some, in a matter of weeks. I haven’t slowed down since. Not merely because I love to take photos, but I also feel compelled to include and appease everyone who’s loved and supported me. I’ve held events, I’ve traveled to satisfy creative agendas, and I presently run an email based newsletter, filled with update and giveaways exclusive to my investors and supporters. I’m excited to see where things go next.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’d definitely put them in rooms and around people that …feel like them. I have friends visit, and the things we do typically differ based on who they are, and what kind of fun I understand them to need from their visit/that season of their life. I love Camerata at Paulie’s for conversation and intimate group gatherings. Walks through Rice Village, or down 19th Street, typically lend to good “catch up” time when the weather is appropriate. Catching a show at Station Theatre is a guaranteed night of laughter. Ordering takeout from Jinya and staying in to listen to music, could be what they might want most after landing, or right before a departure.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Definitely my family and friends. They are my audience and my subjects. The things we do, the way we are, I appreciate what they’ve allowed and what they’ve been open to. I don’t undervalue the privilege of being able to express our shared moments and stories.
photo credit: Klejdi Saliaj, Christina Pena and Meryim Poursheykhi