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MALIK H. SAYEED

Whoa!!! This site business is crazy.  I am glad I finally finished.  When I started I did not realize what a project this would be.  For me this was primarily because of two reasons. The first is due to the volume of work that I have done.  I just realized that it has been 20 years since I started shooting so going back through things and trying to identify what I wanted to put on the site was a dense undertaking.  Also getting the material from the physical world (analog and digital tape based media) to the virtual world (file based media) was in and of itself an endeavor.  Most companies do not have many of these machines anymore so I had to find who had what.  A couple of times machines broke down and there would be no buying another one from that company so I would have to find another place.  We are talking 2inch, D2, D1, ¾, beta, ect.  The second, and more challenging reason this was a project was because I had been storing my media for many years kind of wondering when I would ever need it and not long before this major paradigm shift that is the digital revolution took place there was a fire at the storage facility that burned most of my masters; thus the arduous process of tracking down what I could and creating this site. It has been an interesting process.  I am not used to revisiting the work that I have done and I was kind of forced to really review it.  Let me say that I am also not into self-promotion but the movement in which the way things have shifted has made it a kind of necessity for me to create this site and speak about it.  I am happy that I did because it has been an interesting process.  At some point I realized that I also would have to include a bio. I was trying to figure out what this would be and who would do it. At some point I realized that it would be easiest if I just wrote it myself so here I am.  Again as I said I am not into self-promotion so this is a bit tricky for me.  What I want to do is first discuss my background and then talk about the way I structured the site. If you would like you can just skip all of this and go to the end section of this page to see a listing of the work.   

My Story

Many who I have worked with already know my background but for those who don’t here it goes: I was born in New York City and raised primarily is Los Angeles, California.  My mother is from New York City (Harlem and the Bronx) and my father is from LA (Compton).  My mother was an actress and worked in film and television when I was a child.  Being around this environment was my first introduction to anything entertainment related.  Both of my parents were quite active in the arts scene within Los Angeles, and NY, in the late 60’s, 70’s, and early 80’s. The scene was very fresh and alive at the time.  There was a lot of theater, music, poetry sessions, and independent films being made among that community.  The community of talent during this time was quite tight and my brother and myself were able to witness a lot.  I never had an interest to be in front of the camera and every time I was in a production environment I was immediately drawn (on purely a style and visceral level) to the guys who worked behind the camera.  My mother and father both had good friends they went to school with (at Howard and UCLA) who worked more on the technical side as dp’s, gaffers, electrics, and grips.  I was drawn to the mystique of what they were doing pointing and putting things in front of the lights, constantly in a frenzy to get ready to shoot.  This got registered in my memory and nothing else at this point.  My first interest in photography came when my father took me into the darkroom at Compton College, where he was doing some printing, and I saw the image materialize on the paper for the first time.  It was really like magic to me.  I could not believe this was possible.  Photography had entered my bloodstream at that moment. My father was an avid photographer and took his camera everywhere, always on the lookout for a good shot. The first camera I got was a Polaroid camera for my birthday.  This was my first time exercising any kind of creative muscle I had as it related to image making.  The immediacy of it I think was very beneficial in the learning curve.  My first and primary passion at the time was drums, which I played religiously.  Unfortunately the fact that we moved frequently prevented me from continuing due to restrictions regarding live music in apartments.  

A friend of mine recently described being a free-lance worker as a person who “eats what they kill”.  As alive as the time was for us it was definitely tough for us as the work for both my mother and my father, who were exercising their talents and pursuing their creative interests, was spotty at best.  To say it was a dance of survival would be describing it diplomatically. For this reason I think it was my mother’s interest to have both my brother and myself pursue interests that were more solid.  She now says that it is not the case but I feel there was an unspoken maneuvering for both of us to become doctors (it worked in part because my brother is actually a surgeon).  Around the time I was in Junior High School I looked up and there were several doctors around us.  These were mostly family friends from people my mother went to school with.   Both my brother and I got jobs in these doctor’s offices I think in an effort to both get some change in our pocket and first hand examine a profession that had some stability.  We both got the hint thus when I went to Howard University in 1985 I went in as a pre-med major.  Let me say that before I went to college, in my senior year in high school at Long Beach Polytechnic, I had a film class with a teacher by the name of Keith Fancher (I cannot believe I still remember his name).  It was a film theory class which I would have to say was quite key in my pursuit and passion for film.  He introduced me to looking at the structure of the creation of a film and how a filmmaker exercises his creativity within the building of it, primarily on a subtle psychological level.  I was completely fascinated by this and I would have to say that this was the most intriguing class I took prior to college, period.  My mother is an artist and her artistic recognition would have her taking us to see many films as kids, which I would have to say we did not want to see at first, but ones we ended up really liking and I now know are some of the most important films in the pantheon of film history.  With this as a foundation I had a good base from which to appreciate the class and these two things serve are the foundations for my real love and appreciation for the art of cinema.   

Now as I am going to college I am saying I am pre-med but I really did not know what that meant until school actually started.  What I wanted to be was a psychiatrist in an effort to study the function of our behavior and work to help those who had problems in these areas.  This was a strong interest for me.  Once I am in microbiology and chemistry (which was as far from what I was interested in as the moon is from the sun) I realized the discipline, desire, and interest that would be needed to be successful and carry this through to the end.  What I did know is that my real passion was film, photography, and light so after a moment of purgatory I said let me go down this road. Once I decided to declare film as my major I worked very hard, fuelled by my desire and interest in what I was studying.  I spent many of my free hours doing further study to really gain in knowledge as much as I could.   

Now I have to say that I do recognize that I have had many blessings in my life and a confluence of them began to manifest them at this time.  I recognize them and I am eternally grateful.  A lot of these blessings have manifest themselves in the form of people who were present in my life.  Each one of these people and blessings has been crucial in my development. A primary one is my “uncle” who really looked out for me when I was in college.  His name is Ralph Dines.  He was quite older when I was there (he’s my grandfather’s age) but really put an effort into forging a way for me.  Once he could see that I had the desire and motivation to “take the ball and run with it” he put me in the positions to do that.  He was a master electrician in the IATSE union in D.C., and had been for many, many years (he used to be the head of the local when it was actually segregated which worked primarily out of the Howard Theater).  While I was still a pre-med major he created an opportunity for me to work part time in the union to primarily help with my tuition.  This would prove to be tremendously fortuitous for me because once I redirected my interests in school this was an invaluable place to learn the trade from a practical position.  See at the time, due to the volume of work, the union in D.C. was multi-function in that the same local (22) did both film and theater (they later broke it up into two locals: 22 and 487).  That allowed me the opportunity to work on many major productions at places like The Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap Opera, the Capital Center sports arena, Constitution Hall, Warner Theater, ect., along with any film and television production that came to town: “Avalon”, “White Squall”, “A Man called Hawk”, ect.   You had to know how to do all of it to work as an electrician and I was taught both by my uncle and many other members of local 22 who were very helpful.  Over a period of time I was a union electrician and paying attention to all the details where it related to lighting.  At the same time while in school I was going hard with my studies staying as close as I could to the graduate film program and it’s students (under the leadership of filmmaker emeritus Haile Gerima) who had full access to all of the 16mm equipment.  I also recognized that what intrigued me the most in film production was cinematography and this was now the natural direction I was heading in.  This was quite an exciting time for me due to the saturation of information I was engaging.   I worked on several productions and the range was tremendous: things like American Ballet Theater, Bolshoi Ballet, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Cats, AC/DC, ect.  If it came to town I was trying to get on it.  I made myself valuable as an electrician and the local would call.  But whenever there was downtime or I would actually work the show, and not just the load in, I would take the time to further my study by reading what I deemed crucial related to film, photography, and cinematography.   

Around my third year (I was in school for five years due to my shift in majors) I began to work closely with a still photographer in town by the name of Andre Richardson.  Now I go back again and recognize him as one of those people related to the blessings I have received who has proven instrumental in my development.  From the time I watched that picture develop, and subsequently many others, with my father in the darkroom I had a quiet but insatiable desire to engage photography on an intimate level.  Andre taught me the nuts and bolts of photography.  What he taught me is the foundation of how I understand the science of photography today.  He is a steadfast Ansel Adams zone system student.  He was very meticulous about his process and took the time to make sure I understood sensitometry (the scientific study of how film emulsion reads light) and densitometry (the quantitive measurement of optical density in light-sensitive materials like film emulsion, photographic paper, ect).  We would constantly be running tests in the darkroom to pretty much keep the overall running system of the darkroom, and what part of it we could control, consistently calibrated.  He had a densitometer and we would read the emulsion as often as we could to make sure we were always in the proper place.  Thermometers had to be carefully examined, equipment had to be meticulously cleaned, ect.  And we shot a lot of film, primarily black and white.  We worked within “the zone system” (which is a systematic way of understanding the film tonal range so that a creative application can be applied to this understanding).  Obviously a lot has changed since then in the way images are captured and manipulated but this process was invaluable to my understanding of photography.  I have internalized all of this information, constantly referencing it thus serving as the foundation in which I work on the set today.  Andre is a crucial part of that.  He also introduced me to many of the black and white photographic masters like Cartier Bresson, Brassai, Jeanloup Sieff, Ralph Gibson, and many many others.   

I continued along this path until I graduated in 1990 and immediately hit the ground running. While I was in school I had been asked to go on the road and do lighting and rigging for many different groups.  This happened due to the contacts I made while working on shows that came in town.  The first thing I did upon graduation was move forward on one of these opportunities.  I went on the road doing lighting and rigging for Bell, Biv, Devoe, Johnny Gill, Keith Sweat, and Monie Love.  I did this for nearly a year and once that was done I had done it.  It was an experience that I said I wanted to do but not a direction I was interested in continuing.  I moved back to NY with my grandparents in the Bronx and began to make my way within the NY film community pursuing my real passion: film and cinematography. Prior to going on the road I had applied to a few graduate programs, including NYU, but did not get accepted to any.  This I again feel worked out in my favor because it fueled me and presented a situation where I had to organize for myself a path to pursue.  I kind of hit the ground running utilizing the experience I had behind me.  The first thing I did was to begin to pay the bills by working as an electrician and then a gaffer on several music videos and other productions.  I worked frequently as a gaffer for Arthur Jafa (AJ), Jim Fealy, Lance Acord, Bill Dill, Johnny Simmons, and others.  Music videos were pretty much just getting out of the blocks at this time and many conventions in this area had not firmly taken root.  So it was kind of wide open and free.  At the same time I bought two cameras, an Arri 2C and a bolex, with the intention of shooting whatever I could. I put ads up at film schools in the area that I was an available d.p. who had a camera and was ready to shoot.  The purpose here was to get my chops up and begin to build a reel.  I did a few of these which was quite fun.  At the same time Spike was shooting “Malcolm X” and I was able to get on as a day player.  This was my first time meeting Spike.  Also around this time I worked a lot on several of Lionel Martin’s videos, who was pretty much the de-facto music video director in NYC at the time.  There were others but I think Lionel did the lion’s share.  His company Classic Concepts was a factory and had multiple staff producing back-to-back projects.  Primary to Lionel’s team was Hype who worked in the art department.  Talking on set was a great networking area and people who had pursuits beyond the role they were functioning in could quickly be found. Of course this was the natural area where Hype and myself met and discussed our interests.  He wanted to direct and I wanted to shoot. The first music video I shot was not for Hype but a $5000.00 video for a cool fourteen-year-old kid by the name of Chi Ali, for a song called “Funky Lemonade” directed by Craig Henry.  After that Hype called me for a job and we did “Hitting Switches” for Eric Sermon.  This began a very good and long collaboration and friendship with Hype.  We recognized that we both had similar aesthetic interests as it relates to photography and film.  Hype is very talented, quite resilient, and has a tremendous work ethic.  He has tremendous drive and was quickly able to construct a space for himself within the music video environment.   

This was an incredible time in the history of music videos.  We came in at a great moment.  This is what I would say was beginning of the golden era of music videos.  We were focused on people who were doing tremendous work in the medium and desired to do work on that level.  People we really liked were Matt Mahurin,

Mark Romanek, Kier McFarlane, Anton Corbin, and many other amazing directors who’s worked would be seen on MTV.  This is a time before they put people’s names on the videos so you have to kind of be plugged in to know who did what.  After a while you could recognize style and it became fun at guessing who did this or that.  We were looking for our work to hit that visceral mark the same way in which the names I just mentioned were doing with some of their work.  I remember when we saw Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way “ by Mark Romanek we said this is where we have to get.  The work has to resonate in the brain and on the senses in that manner. We also studied a lot of photography, both classic and contemporary really pinpointing and identifying style.  Some of the fashion photographers we liked at the time were Nick Knight, Mondino, Paolo Roversi, ect.  All of this, including several films, was very influential on us as we were exercising our feelings within this new medium.  We lived within these images.   

A few things were very different back then, which really allowed the medium to flourish as an art.  First of all it was new and there were not many things people recognized as conventions.  It was very free and people who were in the positions to commission videos were just into what was fly.  The only thing people really knew at the time was that a visual was important to accompany the song.  There were also a lot more outlets for videos to be played (multiple shows on mtv, vh1, the box, bet, video music box, and others).  This gave the record companies a lot more flexibility and dexterity as to having value in a product that they could do more with.  Also there were a lot more record companies around.  The conglomeration of media companies had not really happened yet so there were so many labels out there that were producing music and needed videos.  This climate made it very ripe for the medium to grow and flourish as an art form and it gave us a playground to exercise many creative photographic ideas.  Hype and myself moved hard on this and the challenge for us became figuring out the process by which we would reach the intended visceral and photographic goal.  For me success would be when the video looked like the way the music sounded.  I personally like more moody sounding music so naturally I had more potential efficacy in execution when the music had more atmosphere and mood.  (Chris Cunningham became the person for me who really kind of mastered this.  My favorite is his Portishead video and Bjork

“All is Full of Love”.  I am including a section on this site titled “vintage video” which is where I am putting the projects that I am happy in the place we landed where this is concerned).   It was all very raw back then and we liked it that way.  We would travel anywhere to do a video often sleeping on someone’s couch, doing things on a shoot I would never due today like hanging full-body out of a helicopter supported only by the seatbelt with a non-safetyed camera in hand, following people who were running on the ground.  It was a fun and exciting time and we lived for the visual.  Hype had great talent and vision for the concept and overall visual and I had the ability to see the light and photography a certain way, again another blessing. 

Of course after lots of this I was able to build a decent reel.  I had been still gaffing at this point.  I kind of did whatever presented itself.  I had gaffed some projects for Spike and Ernest Dickerson along with some projects that AJ had shot for Spike.  I had also worked as best boy on “Crooklyn” which AJ shot.  There was an upcoming ESPN commercial project that Robert Richardson was meant to shoot for Spike.  The dates shifted on the commercial and Spike needed a cinematographer.  The producer on the commercial, Lee Davis, also worked on the scene doing music videos so he knew that I was out there shooting a lot at this point.  Fortunately for me he suggested to Spike that he take a look at my reel.  I was able to get it over to him and he called me in for a meeting.  He asked if I wanted to shoot a commercial for him and of course I was very excited.   I was a bit nervous but I was quite full of confidence and zeal so I made sure I was good and prepared based on the requirements of the job.  We did it and I carried it all the way through completion.  Spike was obviously pleased because he asked me to do another project for him.  It was the main song from the “Crooklyn” soundtrack.  I was very excited about that and again went all the way in working on the project all the way through completion.  We did several more short-form projects during this period. I was now his de-facto guy and he had been asking me if I was ready to shoot a feature.

It was not long after that I heard he was working on his next film.  I heard it involved

Martin Scorcese among others.  It turned out to be “Clockers”.  One day after one of the recently completed jobs he said he wanted to talk to me about something.  I could not imagine that he would ask me to do the film.  I thought he was going to ask me to maybe operate or shoot second unit or something but right there at The Tape House he asked me to shoot “Clockers”.  It was an incredible moment. Of course I said yes and he asked what I would need to do to get ready.  The first thing I said is I need to test.  He gave me the script and I began working on it right away.  I approached the script in the manner I had been taught to breakdown a script identifying the emotional markers that were important to me and creating a visual approach that influenced the movement of this arc.  I learned this in school in both my theatre directing classes and lighting design as I was taught by another uncle Ron Pruitt (a repertory theater lighting designer in D.C.). I knew I wanted to have a shift in realities between the different worlds that could be felt on the film.  The place for this to exist for me was within the film texture.  Coming from the world where we half created the look in the camera and completed the look within the telecine process I was forced to figure out how to do this one hundred percent photo chemically.  This is way before D.I. and I used to playfully chide the people at the lab, Beverly Wood and Joey Violante among others that they had to catch up to my world because they were still in medieval times.  I was shooting and experimenting with a lot of stills as well at the time and I have a good friend, photographer Barron Claiborne, who was doing a lot of cross processing with reversal stocks, primarily Fuji Velvia.  As I looked at the standard motion picture film stocks I did not recognize a big enough shift in texture to adequately communicate the shift in textural tone that I was feeling.  The look of cross-processed film at the time felt like a place that I wanted some of the film to live.  I knew some people had been experimenting with this in music videos but they were taking 100ft. loads of still film and having this processed at special industrial still labs that would process it for them.  Of course this would not be feasible for a feature film due to the volume of film that needed to be shot and processed.  It is said at the time that Kodak would make whatever you wanted so long as you order enough of it for Kodak to financially justify it going into production.  While we were having these conversations I discovered that Kodak still made a reversal stock (5239) that was only still in production because NASA’s film equipment and processing had not developed past using this technology.  I immediately shot a test both processed normal and cross-processed.  It became a challenge to find a lab to process it because they immediately were not very receptive of the idea.  I am thankful to Joey Violante at Techinicolor because this was the beginning of him going above and beyond to push these kinds of thing forward.  Once I shot several test pinpointing which textures to use and where to use them Spike was both excited and reticent.  Makes sense because this was all quite new and this is all going to have to be co-signed by the studio.  One thing that helped is that we discovered that Elliot Davis had just used some it, processed the same way, on Sorderberg’s “Underneath”.  We were able to set up a screening the film and learned a bit how they handled it on the back end with the dupes and finishing.  This really helped our cause.   

Now this is where I have to say something about Spike and Hype.  They have very different styles of work but where they have symmetry is that they are both very courageous.  It is said “blessed are those who forge a way for others”.  This goes back again to where I recognize blessings manifested through people who have been involved in my life. Both Spike and Hype have gone to bat for me in a major way.  Hype has done it with frequency and Spike and had done it on the biggest stage with a tremendous amount of money at stake.  This is not lost on me in the least bit.  I am extremely grateful to them for having the desire and fortitude to move in this manner.  I have seen several other people shy away from their instincts and the people they wanted to use in an effort to make sure that they were “secure”, even though their hearts wanted to go with the person they really intended to go with.  They both clearly liked the way I saw their projects and trusted me with the execution.  Knowing that they were doing that for me it became my responsibility to make sure I did what I was there for in the best way I could.  I have internalized this whereby I try to make sure I am attentive to where I can do this for others as well.  It is that old saying about opportunity meets preparation….. I did not know it at the time but it was for moments like this that I was spending so many hours studying and dedicating myself to learning and understanding this craft.  I guess I just innately knew that these seeds would germinate somehow but I do recognize the blessing and I am thankful to both of them for all the times they have done this on my behalf.  I still see Hype doing this a lot for many people as well as Spike.  On “Clockers” not only was he going with a young cinematographer who had not shot a feature before he was co-signing a photographic approach that was aggressive and unprecedented for the bulk of the film. Yikes!!!!  Thank you. 

Well we shot over 1 million feet of film and really got our hands dirty making sure we maintained the integrity of the look throughout post-production.  We had to react to a couple of things that materialized during the shoot but again Spike was helpful there.  The film came out and we were successful.   

After that I again was shooting a lot of short form projects, mostly music videos with some commercials beginning to get sprinkled in there.  I worked with several different directors around this period, but also still working with Hype and Spike.  With Hype we did a lot of memorable videos including “Big Poppa” and “Warning” for Biggie.  I did about six videos for Tupac during this time, mostly with Swaino directing (Kevin Swain, where you at????????)  It was very crazy during this time.  I did a video with Blackstreet one week in NY and I did the same exact song with a group that involved Tupac, Aaron Hall, K.C and JoJo on the beach at night in L.A.  two weeks later.  Kevin was doing a lot of work for Death Row at this time, which included us traveling to Paris to do a job with Suge Knight and Michel’le (completely worth the price of admission).   

I will do what I can as it relates to a filmography at the end of this document but from here I did “Girl 6” with Spike and many other unique projects, which involved

Michael Jackson in Rio and Bahia, John Thompson and Allen Iverson fresh out of high school in his only year at Georgetown, Michael Jordan in spring training playing baseball, Mike Tyson in jail in Indianapolis, Albert Belle, Curt Flood, “Freak” with John Leguizamo on Broadway and others.  I did a film with John Ridley in LA that starred David Carusso, Kelly Lynch, and Stacey Dash called “Cold Around the Heart”.  From there I got an interesting call from a very good friend of mine, Lisa Leone, who is a photographer (and now a filmmaker as well).  She had been back and forth several times between New York, where she lived, and London.  What she was doing was serving as the eyes of New York for Stanley Kubrick while in pre-production on “Eyes Wide Shut”.  She said he needed someone to shoot several scenes in New York that they were going to be using in the film and she wanted to give him my reel.  This developed into me shooting several of these scenes over a two-winter period in New York.  I am extremely grateful to have worked with him and am thankful to both him and Lisa for making this possible.  It was quite cold those winter nights but I was very happy to be participating in his process.  I got another interesting call around this time to shoot the opening title sequence for a very interesting movie, “Gattaca” with Andrew Niccol.  I then did further work on the project with the visual effects team.  I really enjoyed that experience.  In the summer of 1997 we shot “He Got Game” with Denzel Washington, Ray Allen, and Milla Jovovich in Coney Island.  That was a lot of fun to do and then in 1998 Hype and myself did “Belly” both in NY and in Kingston, Jamaica (my second home) in which I was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for cinematography.   

Over these years I had met with and been asked by a few people that wanted to rep me as a director.  None of these meetings materialized into anything because I was having fun shooting and no one was saying anything that would steer me otherwise.  Around 1999 I met with Rhea Scott (then Rhea Rupert) who I really hit it off well with because there was strong symmetry in creative interests and this was what I was looking for in terms of representation.  So from there I began directing, still also shooting, doing mostly music videos and getting my feet wet in commercials.  This began a pretty lengthy commercial directing career, with Ridley Scott’s production company RSA that has pretty much taken me around the world and has found me working with some of the biggest brands.   I have also worked with some amazing talent, which include, but not limited to, Ryuchi Sakamoto, Matt Damon, 

Michael Jordan, Jeff Goldblum, Jeniffer Lopez, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Gregory Hines, Molly Sims, Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas, Terry Hatcher, Queen Latifah, Deangelo, Lauren Hill, Jay-Z, and the list goes on.  I have done a quite a range of styles of commercials and I will include a listing of clients at the end of this. The most rewarding of these projects and the ones I am the most proud of definitely are ones that are designed to generate action in people to help other people in need or to promote action to a cause that is great.  I have done several of these.  It is always amazing to me that people are able to organize funds to make these projects possible because I know these are not the most popular ways companies like to spend their money.  Some of the ones I have worked on are Artist’s Against Aids, which I co-directed with Jake Scott, One.Org, which is designed to fight poverty world wide, and Character’s Unite, an organization designed to persuade the diverse groups and individuals within America to recognize our differences as attributes towards a necessary unity needed to move America in a progressive direction. The project that I would have to say has had the most impact on me is a project I did for an organization called The Family Center in New York.  The function of the organization is to assist mother’s, who are infected HIV and dying from AIDS, in making sure that their children are secure prior to the mother’s making their transition.  This was tough and sad but the organization serving an important purpose. For me working within these kinds of realities puts a humbling perspective on our life and priorities. 
 

In closing clearly there is a major paradigm shift taking place, which is this digital revolution, making it a very exciting time in which to be present.  What it boils down to for me is still the same.  It is either light and emulsion or light and digital capture media. And where it relates to these new developments is the efficacy and immediacy in which I can produce how I feel on this new capture media.   

Site Breakdown

In creating this site I pulled material (in which I had access) that I thought best reflects the body and range of the work that I have done.  On the site is both work I have done solely as a cinematographer and as a director/cinematographer.  I have included a key next to each clip that denotes my participation on that particular project.  Where there is a “D/C” next to the clip title denotes where I have served both as the Director/Cinematographer on that project.   “C” denotes where I serve the function of solely as the cinematographer for that project and I have also included the director’s name for that project next to that clip title.   This site by no means would contain everything.  The site is broken down into the areas and sections in which I have done most of my work: 

Narrative

Commercials

Music Videos

Photography   

By creating these sections I have tried to make viewing the work and clear and simple as possible.   

Some of the areas serve multi purposes like the Commercial Main Reel which is just that and reflective of functioning as a current reel.  

This site is definitely still a work in progress because as I mentioned I am still trying to get my hands on many elements that were lost in the fire.  I will be adding and updating things as I get them.  There are many things I would like to include which I have not gotten access to yet. I have my fingers crossed.  It will also be reflective of many projects that I am currently working on. 

In terms of sections this is how they are broken down.  In Commercial you have Commercial and a Commercial Archive.  Commercial is my current reel and Commercial archive contains spots that speak to the range of work I have done in the past, which was probably on my reel at one point or another.  I have done a lot of beauty work in commercials so I have included some of these spots within it’s own section.  People who call me for beauty work sometimes come to just look at that so this is why I put it in it’s own place.  Music Video is the area where I am hurting the most in terms of elements.  The way it is broken down at the moment is Music Video Main, which serves as the main reel.  Music Video Archive will include several videos that are not on the main reel but not deemed as qualifying for the next section, which is Vintage Videos.  As mentioned above Vintage Videos are those mostly older videos that have some special resonance for landing in a place that I was quite happy with at the time.  I have several others that I really want to include in this section and I am working to get access to those clips.  This section will definitely be fun to continue to do.  I included two of my older reels in here, which are the first two things in this section.  I wanted to include these because these were the first things that I edited myself and come the closest to executing feelings that are very familiar to me.  I was very happy with this when I finished these, way back then, and they are consistent with being efficate in reflecting my style today.  The first one is from my 1994 reel and the only source I could find for this is a vhs copy, thus the poor sound.  I am hoping to somehow come across a better copy of this but I am happy to have at least found this one.  The second is from my 1998 reel, which is a bit short for my taste but I remember that I had to fit a lot on that ¾ tape stock and usually people only liked to look at reels of not over a certain length.  Times have changed.  Scarface and Mic Geronimo I loved for the vibe that was around when we shot it and also how they both eventually feel.  Mic Geronimo and also Naughty by Nature are both from vhs copies so excuse the poor quality and sound please.  I am looking for better elements for these.  Snow was also a good time.  As things have changed so has yard (Jamaica).  I had a lot of fun in Jamaica back then and we shot that video at The House of Leo, which is a legendary dance hall venue (Fab Five Freddy and myself, who was my road-dog and still is, have been to some amazing dances there in what was clearly the golden age of dance hall.  We went religiously every year around X-mas and many times throughout the year).  We also shot the remix of that song in the studio while they were recording it, which included Beenie, Buju, Terror Fabulous, Nadine Sutherland, and Louis Culture.  It was a good look.  I am looking for a better copy of this as well.  More videos are definitely going into this section including Biggie, Usher’s first video, and others.  In the narrative section I have thus far included what I have access to.  I am awaiting some elements for this section now and I will include those once I get them.   Now over the years I have shot stills within many different formats: 35mm, 6x6, 6x7, 4x5, digital, ect. (I often time also use my bolex as a still camera because I like the texture it produces in a still).  I kind of compiled a grouping of them that gives an accurate picture of my style.  I have so many more portfolios but I feel this will suffice for now.  Just like the video material the still images have to as well move from the virtual world to the digital world via a nice hi-rez scan.  Then the color might have to be tweaked a bit to match the original.  A project in an of itself so as more get scanned I will include more along with current shoots that I am doing.  There is some work, which I have done for a few magazines I am looking to include in here as well. I really do love to shoot stills and I have again begun exercise this muscle.  
 
 

Narrative

I am using the word narrative to denote “long-form” projects I have shot.  This includes feature films, short film, documentary, television, and other unique longer format projects. I have included a project that I did for Rhea and Jake’s wedding, which I am happy how it turned out.  It was shot by my self and Chris Soos and was edited my good friend Carlos Arias.  It is more like a poem but has a tenor I really like.  Anyway here is the list (in as chronological an order as I can remember): 

Clockers (1994)  dir. Spike Lee

HBO Real Sports “John Thompson”  (1995) dir. Spike Lee

Girl 6 (1996) dir. Spike Lee

HBO Real Sports “Albert Belle”  (1996) dir. Spike Lee

Cold Around the Heart (1997) dir. John Ridley

The Player’s Club (1997) dir. Ice Cube

HBO Real Sports “Curt Flood”  (1997) dir. Spike Lee

He Got Game (1998) dir. Spike Lee

John Leguizamo’s Freak (1998) dir. Spike Lee

Belly (1998) dir. Hype

The Original Kings of Comedy (1999) dir. Spike Lee

Life and Debt (2001) dir. Stephanie Black

Africa Unite: Bob Marley (2008 one of a few dp’s) dir. Stephanie Black

Deshotten aka Little Minx Exquisite Corpse Project (2008)

Cagefighter (2008) dir. Derek Cianfrance 

 
Commercials

Over the years I have directed several commercials and shot others.  Here is a partial listing of some of the clients and brands: 

Nike, Adidas, American Express, Sony, Nintendo, Gatorade, Boeing, Canon, Toyota, Puma, EA Games, Coke, Hewlett Packard, Nissan, Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY, Escada, Hugo Boss, Gap, LL Bean, Jaguar, Pantene, Fuji, Polaroid, Reebok, Samsung, Coke, Budweiser, Miller, Grey Goose, Kia, LG, Yamaha, Harley Davidson, Brand Jordan, Clariol, Pepsi, One. Org, USA Networks,  

Music Videos

I have done so many music videos over the years I have not been able to keep count.  As I have started to work on this site I am constantly remembering shoots that I did in which I had forgotten about.  Here are some of the artist’s I have worked with: 

Michael Jackson, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Lauryn Hill, De’angelo, Beyonce, Ciara, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez, Nelly Furtado, Kanye West, Youssou N’ Dour, Tricky, Outkast, Aaliyah, Usher, Nas DMX, Q-tip, Gwen Stephanie, Jay-Z, Biggie, Tupac, Dixie Chicks, R. Kelly, Gerald Levert, Blackstreet, Hoobastank, DMX, Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Dr. Dre, Queen Latifah, Naughty by Nature, Scarface, Jamie Foxx, Shelby Lynn, Brandy, etc….. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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