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Many of my post may be filled with typos, ignorant statements, untruths, bad English, & anything else that may make me appear to be uneducated. Please note: all of these things combined make my Blog the perfect one, because you know I have issues & I am not ashamed. With this said; enjoy, fuck mistakes & read between the lines!

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Archive for the 'On The Grind' Category

Working With A Sheroe: Alice Walker

Author: Tafari, Thursday, November 6th, 2014 at 7:20 PM Mindspill

Last week, I was contacted to photograph one of my favorite artists… ALICE WALKER. Needless to say, I was very excited & totally looking forward to the opportunity. Fast forward to the day of the event… I woke up feeling very bad, horrible, like death was upon me. It was strange because it just hit me out of nowhere. How could this be happening on such a big day…. It took a while to pull myself together and I rushed to get out of the door with all kinds of bags in tow only feeling slightly better…. Now..., I’m on the job setting up my camera and guess what… I left all of my memory cards at home. BUMMER… What was I going to do at the last minute other than panic. Then I noticed that I had another camera in my bag, which hadn’t been used in at least 2 years and it had a memory card ready to go for… A much needed surprise!!!! After all of this Ms. Walker entered the room and I was awestruck but composed… I introduced myself & sucked in as much as I could from her. Mindspill I’ll cherish this exchange forever: Me: Ms. Walker, give me a little more leg. Ms. Walker: Just one moment. (Positions leg and lifts skirt a little) In response to her creative process... "I don't allow anything into my mental and spiritual space that I don't want." In response to what she thinks the Black community needs... “The Black community needs more imagination.” “Turn off your TV and the images that tell you who you are and what you should be.” “Hang on to your books. All of your books.” Interesting Alice Walker Fact: The first thing Alice Walker saw on television was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. being arrested. Yesterday was everything I needed as a person & as an artist! And I got my book signed. Ha! The little things in life. Mindspill

All Things Artsy, Beautiful, & Fab

Author: Tafari, Wednesday, March 6th, 2013 at 8:55 PM Mindspill

A few weeks ago, my friend and birch jewelry designer, Heather Fagan of Bettula hit me up because she had a very exciting opportunity to work with My job? To get great photos for her portfolio to make this happen! I own some of Heather's birch cuffs that I rock during the summer months that I totally love so this was a no brainer. Mindspill

I love when my artist friends find ways to keep their passions alive and active. Here are a few moody shots from our time together with 1st time model, Amelia White. The Bettula sale on will run through March 9, 2013, so check it out fast! Mindspill Mindspill

I Got Published!

Author: Tafari, Saturday, February 16th, 2013 at 2:03 PM Mindspill Mindspill

It’s always exciting to see your work out and about in the wild, highlighted online or in publications. When “Popular Photography” made contact to request permission to use my work I was ecstatic! Looking at the finished product was even better. I took the photo about 4 years ago of a dogwood flower with a Lens Baby (macro kit). It’s been a favorite of mine. If you’re interested in photography or a novice wanting to pick up skills “The Complete Photo Manual: 300+ Skills and Tips for Making Great Pictures” is a good book to have nearby! The photos are all amazing and the tips really are good! And my work is in it….. so……….. 2013 just continues to be great! Mindspill

Go DJ, That’s My DJ

Author: Tafari, Sunday, November 18th, 2012 at 3:49 PM Mindspill

Last night, DJ Jazzy Jeff saved my life with a set that blew the spot UP! Mindspill Mindspill

On Location With WordPlay Tees

Author: Tafari, Tuesday, September 11th, 2012 at 9:28 PM Mindspill

A few months ago, my great friend and creative muse, Jasmin Deforrest hit me up to collaborate on the relaunch of her t-shirt line, WordPlay Tees.  You may recall some of our past work together from 2009 (The Remix | The Remix 2.0)… It’s always great working with Jasmin and this time was no different. Actually, it was HYPE. We worked with new Detroit talent, who embodied the positive energy and spirit that Jasmin's products are all about. The photo above with model Brandi Keeler is one of my favorites from the day. That face. That body. That slink inky pose.... Mindspill

The Background: In 2007, WordPlay, a t-shirt line was created based on the duality and clever use of words.  The owner's goal was to create a unisex line of t-shirts with positive, witty and sometimes edgy messaging.  Its tagline, "what does it mean to you?" represents the brand's voice that speaks to individualism and the wearer's perception of the design displayed. In June 2012, the brand relaunched with fresh designs that represent the brand's identity and playfulness.  Twisting the popular saying, F*ck My Life (FML) one of the most popular designs is Love My Life (LML).  WordPlay also has a design that has fun with one of Jay Z's popular songs, "99 Problems but a B*tch Ain't One" and through joking with a friend that she should create a design for fans of the tan, she created the concept, "99 Problems but a Tan Ain't One".  This design is for those who are naturally tanned and anyone who spends hours in the tanning booth. Mindspill

One of WordPlay's most popular design, "Chosen" is coming soon and will be launched as a brand under the company's umbrella.  The definition for "Chosen" is, selected from a number of possibilities; picked by preference and that's how the owner wants everyone to feel when rocking a WordPlay tee. Their blog is set to feature, Word Player's", hip hop artists, singers, musicians, songwriters, producers...anyone who honors the art of word play and who's passion is to create things the evoke words.  The blog will highlight up and coming artists, groups and popular artists. For more WordPlay, visit Mindspill

You can see a snippet from the day in the video below.

I Got My Education, I Got My Education, I Got My Education

Author: Tafari, Monday, April 30th, 2012 at 10:11 PM Mindspill

It's been 19 years in the making and the day finally arrived. The day that I thought would never come. After each statistic class. After every accounting class, After every crazy business math class, I grew stronger, yet wondered if this path would ever end. Yesterday meant the world to me and all I could think about was how I kept pushing despite the forces that were against me weather they were real or simply perceived. I'm happy that I stuck it out for the long haul. Tafari Stevenson-Howard, Eastern Michigan University GRADUATE!!! I am thankful for the Black spirits of my grandparents Essie/Edward Stevenson & Mary/Daniel Howard and most importantly my father Robert Howard that guide me through life. For you, I pour this libation of love, pride and triumph. I am thank for my daughters Olivia and Amelia who made this hard work necessary as I HAD to show them that it’s never too late to make great things happen. I wish they could have been there for this special moment. I am thankful for the countless friends who cheered me on after every semester and endured my non-stop complaining about papers and test etc. To my long time readers, I am thankful for you being there laughing with me as I made my way on this journey. And to the Black boys out there who were told that they couldn't, I stand here in testimony telling you that you can. You can! Mindspill

My next move???? Grad school! Last year I said that I was not going to go but now, I'm feeling invincible! I feel like I can make anything happen no matter how difficult the goal is.

See photos from my Graduation Sip & See Super Jump Off here...

Falguni and Shane Peacock

Author: Tafari, Friday, February 17th, 2012 at 10:51 PM Mindspill

One of the more interesting shows I photographed at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week last season was Falguni and Shane Peacock. They presented some interesting cuts, patterns & embroidery but most interesting was the make up. I was not sure what to make of the super exaggerated eyebrows. Kinda like some type of Joan Crawford-esque, kinda alien-esque situation. After the show wrapped, I left feeling a little pumped (thanks to the music) and excited to look at my photos to see if they were as good as I had hoped. Of course they were though. I’m just saying. You can view photographs from the show here.

Done With New York Fashion Week

Author: Tafari, Monday, February 13th, 2012 at 11:19 PM Mindspill

I made it back home safely from New York & survived another Mercedes Benz Fashion Week!!!! I arrived in the city with a twisted ankle (again) & suffered for a few days then everything was all good. This damned ankle of mine. There was no drama in the pits, had no fights & met some new friends. I switched it up a bit this season & had an assistant who was a total life saver. Thank you so much Cousin Dee. I am very proud of the photos that Cousin Dee & I were able to capture at the 28 fashion shows & presentations that we covered. We really put that work in & snapped somewhere around 8,100+ photos. I did some GREAT dining, met up with many of my NYC/DMV/Detroit friends & just had a damn good time. I’m a little exhausted now but still riding on high with how my trip ended. I bumped into Eva Pigford (America’s Next Top Model), Korto Momolu (Project Runway), Kwame Jackson (The Apprentice), Angela Laws (Concrete Loop), Dwight (Housewives of Atlanta), Diane von Furstenburg, Celia aKa Blue Nefertiti (Les Nubians), Harriette Cole (The Today Show) & many more. Hopefully, you were following me on Facebook & Twitter and were able to keep up my adventure. Stay tuned for show reviews, street styles & the wrap up of my New York Analog series. Lots of hot shit on the way. And sadly, this was my last Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. I’ve worked it 4 seasons, got the t-shirt & ready to move on. Everyone that I told this to swears that I’ll be back for more. They just don’t know. My bum ankle needs a rest!!! Photo Credit: Verlisa Allen

A Winter Wedding

Author: Tafari, Thursday, January 19th, 2012 at 3:28 PM Mindspill

A couple months ago, I received a referral from a friend (Thanks Bethany!!!) to photograph a small wedding reception that occurred last week. When I say small, I’m talking about really small. Nice. Intimate. Non-intense. Just nice…. The event was at The Whitney Restaurant, a favorite old Detroit establishment and one of the oldest mansions in the city. The place is huge!  I have been to The Whitney before but mostly for events where I was not able to take in the venue and appreciate the architecture. Last week, I did have that time before my clients arrived & I was in awe of how beautiful this  100+ year old building was. But that’s not the story, my clients Jeff & Kim are the story…. Mindspill

When Jeff contacted me about the event I was looking forward to it because I had not experienced a winter wedding. Jeff & Kim arrived at the Whitney after their civil ceremony with family & friends a little before the start of the event so that we could capture some photos. Time was of the essence because it was COLD & the sun was setting fast. We did some traditional poses then transitioned into the venue where we completed a mix of formal and fun photographs with their guests. This portion of the job was pretty fun and hectic. Fun because we were in the middle of the first floor where other events were taking place as other restaurant guests walked in. It was hectic because I had to move my clients around a fair amount to accommodate others. Then…. The lighting in the Whitney is BAD so I used my Nikon Speedlights in Strobist fashion to light my subjects. Mindspill

Crazy trying to light subjects, move lights and reposition myself while working around restaurant goers & staff. Eventually, I was shut down by the host staff but I was able to get all of my shots accomplished. By the time this was all over, I was a sweaty mess. I was working hard for the money. So hard for the money. Jeff & Kim were super cool to work with, which is no surprise because I seem to get lucky that way. Mindspill

While we made our way around the Whitney, I asked Jeff & Kim how they met. Kim gave a small laughed and told me that they met on Last.FM. AND she was in Toronto, while Jeff lived in the Detroit area. The rest is history. I love how social media makes the world smaller & brings people together. Jeff & Kim are a good example of that.

2011Holiday Baar Bazaar

Author: Tafari, Thursday, December 15th, 2011 at 8:04 PM Mindspill

Detroit: Join me Saturday at the Majestic for the Holiday Baar Bazaar. I'll have deep discounts on Quench Essentials products (my other hustle)! And...... There will be great music and other artsy hustlers peddling their wares for the masses!

Meeting Kevin R. Free

Author: Tafari, Monday, December 12th, 2011 at 11:41 PM Mindspill

I met Kevin maybe a little over a year ago on Twitter through a mutual connection. Maybe it has been longer. I don’t know but time on Twitter flies. Earlier this summer Kevin visited Detroit but we were not able to link up, unfortunately… But we were able to catch each other in NYC a few days after Hurricane Irene rocked the Northeast coast. He introduced me to a new favorite eatery in the East Village named La Palapa. The great thing about this eatery was that it was not like a dancer with hateration and there was plenty of good food and drink. I have to say that I have been VERY lucky meeting people in real life whom I have only known online.  Everyone that I have interacted with in real life has been cool as hell & totally someone who I would have long-term friendships with. And this goes for Kevin. A cool funny brother who loves to chop it up. Kevin like most of my friends is a right brain thinker and artist.  In addition to being a regular social commentator via Twitter, Kevin is a voice, stage & screen actor. He has been seen in Law & Order and Law & Order: SVU and more.  He has also served as the audio book voice for authors such as Charles W. Chesnutt, Touré & Hill Harper. After I captured this image of Kevin, we parted ways & he headed to his first meeting as one of the playwrights of The Fire This Time Festival, which opens January 19 in NYC and it features his new play, “The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual.” Me, not being as fancy or reknown, headed to Washington Square Park where I enjoyed the sights and sounds my most favorite place on earth. Check here to view more of my NYC Analog Street Portrait series.

Getting Ready for the Show…

Author: Tafari, Thursday, December 8th, 2011 at 12:10 AM Mindspill

Been running around all evening getting some last minute framing done. Got off work later than I wanted to, had to deal with rush hour and make it to two frame shops before 7pm. I was able to make it all happen but I was wiped out of energy big time. Since I've been home, I realized two mistakes with my framing that I made, which have to corrected by tomorrow evening when I go to Detroit to hang the art. I really wish, I could just have someone do this stuff for me. Being an artist, semi-perfectionist & having little time to fit everything in is way too much right here, right now. And you know how sensitive about my shit I am... Hoping that all of the pieces are back in place tomorrow. I really am… Getting ready for a show, in my experience is never fun. So much to do, so little time…. And of course, I do EVERYTHING at the last minute. A good friend asked me if I was ready for the show. I told him no, not hardly but I know what I’m wearing…. Gonna pull out some Versace, just to be fancy. You know how I do… BTW, my show theme is Black Women & Food.... 2 of my favorite things. On some unrelated notes: - Yesterday, the new hygienist at my dentist office told me that she liked my Jamaican accent. Then she told me that my hair was interesting. I'm from B'ham, AL & grew up in Detroit. I don't have an accent until I go back home to AL... They all think I sound fancy & proper. - An older woman told me that I reminded her of Stevie Wonder. Not sure if it’s the hair or if she things that I make random body movements like Stevie. I'm just lost on the comparison. - I registered for my LAST CLASS at Eastern Michigan University. Graduation is just a few short months away!!! - My kids put up a Christmas tree and it is short of looking like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. Since I stopped celebrating Christmas, the tree has been looking like a mess but it makes them happy & that’s the important piece. BTW: Bet there, bitches! Date: 12.10.11 Time: 7pm Location: Woodbridge Pub | 5169 Trumbull, Detroit, MI