They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we strongly believe it is in the lens of our talented photographers. Who else is intellectually equipped enough to capture the lasting moments we need to capture during these times? As much as it is a powerful tool, explored by the right eyes photos can without a doubt change the course of history.
From Black Lives Matter and Police Brutality to Systemic Racism, the world is going through a revolutionary time right now. The chance to re-write/change and capture it all lies on our shoulders. On that note, meet Vonny Lorde aka LASTNAMELORDE, an ultra-talented photographer representing Toronto right now. Starting in the underground era, Vonny has photographed a plethora of maverick names. To name a few, Jorja Smith, The Weeknd, Adrianne Ho, Tory Lanez, Boi1da, Baka, Roy Woods, Jazz Cartier, Murda Beatz, Teddy Fantum, Yung Taco, Skepta, J. Scott, Ty Dolla $ign, Karrueche and the list goes on. Her knack for capturing rare angles on film solidifies her as a go-to powerful female image creator who has been getting involved for the cause to fight injustice from time. She recently raised $10,000 just off her twitter; ultimately to invest in a space for other young people that want a career in photography but are at a disadvantage. Whilst building entities and taking photos for fun, LASTNAMELORDE took the time to share her thoughts on the many concerns that are close to her heart and of course, everything photography.
RESPECT MAG.: First of all, let me just say that seeing your growth over the years Vonny, has been incredible. I’m truly inspired. I think the city needs more of yous. The world changed so much this year. From COVID19 to systemic injustice and racism getting exposed along with police brutality. The world I feel will never be the same. Do you think this change is over due? Tell us how you feel, take us to school as an important photographer from the city!
VONNY: Let me start off by saying that this year has been a wild one for sure. It’s been said online that we’re going through two pandemics right now– COVID-19 & Racism. The thing is, all of us people of colour have BEEN dealing with racism– especially black people. Though it seems like people are finally starting to wake up and listen to us for once. Change is well overdue, but my concern is that in a couple months we’re gonna see who was really about standing up for us and our rights, and who was simply using Black Lives Matter as some sorta trend. There’s a lot of work to be done.
RESPECT MAG.: Tell us about your Exposure Toronto Studio Fund project! It’s inspiring to see you from the City go that hard and you did a great job at it! What are your big plans for the Afro-Canadian kids that want to get into photography?
VONNY: Exposure Toronto is a not-for-profit initiative that aims to help amplify and fund Black photographers and videographers in the city. As a Black photographer myself, I understand how hard it is to receive funding and recognition. I’ve had the pleasure of building up my career and work with companies like Nike, Warner & Sony Music Canada, and plenty of others. Even though I’m nowhere near the end of my own career, I feel as if I have a duty to help those who may not have the resources I currently have. I always talk about how kids are the future and that we gotta feed our future. Community is all we got.
RESPECT MAG.: How can our community help change the systemic racism and injustices that have been happening for so long?
VONNY: I hope I can properly articulate what I’m feeling but we’ve been doing everything we need to be doing to help eliminate racism. It’s really up to our white allies to pick up the slack and check the fuck outta their own people. I’m actually tired that we’re expected to do all the work when we’ve BEEN doing all the work. I don’t think there’s anything else needed from us that we aren’t already doing you know?
RESPECT MAG.: Diversity is a must in power positions that a lot of public figures are in at the moment take us to the photographers world what is going on right now?
VONNY: Diversity in powerful positions are so important because it gives us a chance to bring our people up with us. In the photography world, I feel like people are starting to realize the importance of photographing Black models and not just the lightskin ones that fit their weird ass Instagram aesthetic. With everything going on at Vogue, I also feel like people are realizing that Vogue was never really for our people. Yeah sure, everyone wants to work for Vogue because it looks amazing on paper but it’s really just an elitism thing. We need to redirect our energy to magazines made by our own people and give them our coins and attention.
RESPECT MAG.: How is the photographer community helping eliminate racism and even change the narrative of our unbalanced history?
VONNY: Imagery plays such an important role in history. When you think of our history books in school, it’s only ever told from one perspective and it sure as hell ain’t ours. When Black people have the chance to capture our history, we are given the chance to control the narrative and tell our side– a side that so desperately needs to be heard. I think about when we learn about slavery in school– it’s all really from the white man’s perspective. But times have changed. Our voices are being heard. People are listening to our stories and the images that we provide with these stories leave such a great impact. Look at the Ferguson riots as an example.
RESPECT MAG.: A photographer can capture a moment and freeze it in time. When did your passion for photography become your career? Take us back to when it all started and when you first fell in love with it.
VONNY: Not a lot of people know this, but photography wasn’t my first love. I used to do graphic design and before that, I was actually an athlete. I made my transition to art after I got hit by a car. Photography really came to the foreground for me in high school when I joined our yearbook committee. I loved going around the school and taking photos of my friends in the hallways and in class. I haven’t put down a camera since and always carry at least one on me everywhere I go.
RESPECT MAG.: From when you take a photo to the end product what is your favourite stage in the whole editing process?
VONNY: My favourite process of taking a photo is actually waiting for the film to get developed. It gives me so much adrenaline. Are the shots perfect? Was the roll over or underexposed? Will I even like the outcome? These are all questions I don’t know the answer to until the roll is developed. It always has me on the edge of my seat and I absolutely love it.
RESPECT MAG.: Of the top name your favourite top 5 photographers of all timesthat have inspired you over the years.
VONNY: My top 5 photographers are Jamel Shabazz, Neva Wireko, Petra Collins, Juergen Teller, and last but certainly not least, Dana Scruggs.
RESPECT MAG.: What streetwear brands are you fucking with right now?
VONNY: When it comes to personal style, I’m definitely on the more minimalist side. I fucks with ALYX, and I’m interested to see what Matthew M. Williams is gonna do as he heads off to Givenchy. I also really love A-Cold-Wall*, but I know Samuel Ross said something about no longer making streetwear at the beginning of the year. I’m always gonna be a sucker for Bape and always make sure to cop a piece or two whenever I’m out in NYC. Oh and I can’t forget about Toronto’s very own Legend’s League.
RESPECT MAG.: What Toronto artists do you like music wise?
VONNY: When it comes to Toronto music artists, one of my faves is Teddy Fantum. Aside from rapping, he’s also a sick producer & and actually produced my fave track off of Theophilus London‘s latest track “Whoop Tang Flow” ft. Raekwon.
Sydanie is also a sick Toronto rapper from the west end of the city. She goes hard. Her track “Flirt” is a favourite and I can’t wait till people stop sleeping on her.
RESPECT MAG.: Top 5 Goals for 2020
VONNY: My top 5 goals for 2020 are to find a solid studio space for Exposure Toronto and get it up and running, find the time to start working on my third book (FILMFORFUN3), shoot more Super 8 film for my future documentary, work on my craft way more, and prioritize my health as I have a bad habit of always putting work first.
Follow LASTNAMELORDE on instagram for all her updates and ventures.
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