This is true.
Having a strong willingness to strive for his own attainment; a strong desire for some type of achievement or distinction, a one Cameron Kirkland aka Cam Kirk told his mom and dad that he wanted to become a doctor and wanted to leave their home in DC, Maryland to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Convincing them that Morehouse graduated the most black doctors per year (at the time), he had a desire to study sports medicine at one of the most prestigious HBCU’s in the United States.
The pictorial image on graduation day, leaving college with that piece of paper in hand, that stamp of approval every black parent, let alone any parent would pay money to see, their offspring and that doctorate degree, doesn’t need much coercing. So in 2007, with the resonances of becoming a future-doctor rolling off his tongue, and hopes of making his family exceedingly proud, Cam packed his bags and moved to Atlanta as a Freshman at Morehouse.
As a 17 or 18 year old though, and those first few months of study hall trying to understand biology can be quite disheartening, as Cam would change the course of his destiny after just one semester.
“I changed my major without even consulting my parents or anything. I just picked something that sounded cool. I know I didn’t want to do Management because it wasn’t specific enough, nor Accounting. But Marketing just sounded cool. I just picked it on the whim, and as I got involved in it and saw the opportunity and ways where I could display creativity with it, I kind of fell in love with it.”
Someone also once said, ‘A man without ambition is dead. A man with ambition but no love is dead. A man with ambition and love is ever so alive.’
And this, we find to be true too.
It’s not everyone that can say they always knew their calling or their gift. That they knew they would be this or have to make a shift. But when you pay close attention, the confirmations of one’s capacity to make something happen is hardly ever too far from home. As Cam graduated from Morehouse with a Marketing degree, he parlayed the skill into photography. And unbeknownst to him, he would become a staple in Atlanta Hip Hop, the culture overall.
“The first person to put a camera in my hand was my dad. My dad is a photographer, he’s been a photographer for about 30 years.”
As a means to add an extra fifty dollars of allowance money to his bank as a kid, Cam would help his dad out with shoots from time to time. Later on, with attending Morehouse and getting into the Atlanta social scene of throwing events, he would use his marketing background when drumming up an idea to chronicle his efforts and purchased his first camera as a way to document his affairs. And after some time behind the camera, his love for photography would turn him into a master of sorts for his now specialty.
That genius way of thinking led Cam to conducting small shoots with local talent and such at the small price of fifty to seventy-five dollars a shoot, leading to an opportunity with Schoolboy Q in 2012, a rapper from Cali, who was headlining his first major concert in Atlanta at the time. With an idea to document Q’s trip, a friend of Cam’s plugged him with the TDE signee and things took off from there. Building onto his ‘labor of love’, waiting for the opportune time to release each great idea, he meticulously framed his legacy one image at a time as there is no rush when it comes to purpose. His catalog now including notables like Gucci Mane, Rae Sremmurd, Migos, Lil Yachty, Metro Boomin, Future, Sonny Digital, Young Thug, DJ Khaled and tons more; a well thought out concept coupled with fate.
“Something that I’m blessed to be able to work with and experience, and live pretty much; music & photography.”
Totally conscious of his blessings, currently Cam moves to create a way for those coming up after him. Ready to do his part for the next generation, he is enamored with the fact that those 18 and 19 year old’s today are actually changing the world with their visions as we speak. Waiting for the day where photography is up their with being a doctor, as it too can change lives.
Sacrificing many things to get him to this point, his time with family and loved one’s, a salary position paying him straight out of college what he might only just now be bringing in financially, Cam is on a track to teach those aspiring with a love for photography too how to maneuver the business and industry, turning their passion into a career move.
“My dream is for a first grader to get asked, ‘who do they want to be when they grow up?’ And they’ll say, ‘a photographer’ and it not be crazy.”
Launching his first series of lectures as a photographer and videographer in 2016 entitled “Classes With Cam”, he is at it again with his 9-week summer school program “Collective Gallery” kicking off next month through August. Days away from the application deadline on May 30th, students at the High School and College level are welcome to sign up for an interactive experience with a full curriculum covering all areas of entertainment photography. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply here for the in-depth walk through of pointers and tips orchestrated to help cultivate dreams.
“I’ve been blessed to experience a little bit of success in this industry, and I’m just starting so I feel like I’ve got a long way to go. Just through this journey I’ve met so many people who have reached out and are inspired by some of the moves that I’ve made. And I just think that it is important for me at this point to kind of give back and set up some type of foundation for me to kind of nurture and foster like the next generation of people to come.
It’s just time for me to kind of do my part and make sure that I can be there to mentor and guide them, and be a presence that I never had.”
In the heavy Instagram world that we live in, many things are evolving in the industry, especially with photography, Cam’s ambition begins to seep out as he explains his aim in making such a difference. “There are no books on how to navigate this thing; no books on how to get around a celebrity; no books on how to build your brand in photography and things like that,” he explained. Creating a blueprint to his best ability, his passion will live on with every path he is able to facilitate.
And while honing a lane for himself, growing his respect amongst his peers as a photographer who strictly shoots for Hip Hop acts and those heavily delved in the culture, Cam focuses his lens on the impact of it all.
“Every move I make is about sustaining a legacy and a name for myself, my family and my family to come. Being able to walk into a room, I want when it hits you of who I am, it means something like, “oh sh–“. That’s what I’m in it for.”
Going back to his passion for marketing, his brand remains set apart from others due to it’s extension and ability of bridging the two together. Always steps ahead in his thinking of how to present his work, his love for the culture and music coupled with what he learned in school made him quite a key. And with that, he is always taking it another step further.
His present and most fun project to date he says is his Day 4 Exhibit. Cam is putting new artists from Atlanta on billboards every month across the city. Bringing a new vibe to things and collaborating directly with artists on photoshoots, and as a way to get people off their phones and digital, step outside and and look up, Cam will premiere each shoot on billboards plastered in the sky.
Just the type of impact he’s been dreaming of, indeed.
Cam Kirk, photographer & videographer, a prime example of what a little vision can render. While aiming high and falling somewhere just beneath is still above the standard. Trying new things and opening one’s mind to what can happen is not only a thing for the dreamer, it’s an even better thing for the believer.