On a sunny, breezy day in Atlanta, I was getting out of my car when I saw him. The man, the myth, Cam Kirk. For the past few months, I had been trying to lock him down for a interview. We would often see each other walking in and out of the office building our companies have space in and exchange pleasantries. But on this day, I finally slowed him down to chop it up with me and this is what he had to say.
WHO IS CAM KIRK?
"Cam Kirk is a guy from Prince George's County, Maryland that moved to Atlanta and found a passion for impacting the world through his creative vision, his marketing eye and his photography."
Cam has documented the growth of some of the biggest artists of today such as Young Scooter, Gucci Mane, Migos, Young Thug and 21 Savage. The billboards that he created can be seen on the streets of Atl from midtown to downtown. He collaborated with Lil Yachty, Bank Roll Fresh and rising comedian DC Young Fly. These and many other influential artists and producers have allowed him to capture video and photographic images of their rise to fame. From the tour buses, trap houses and studios sessions, Cam Kirk has been there. As a young man growing up Prince George's County, Maryland, he never dreamed of doing the things he's done to this day. His early childhood was spent assisting his father in the high stakes wedding photography business. He was able to learn the craft and create a little income for himself to buy all those things he wanted like candy or toys.
Cam states how important this was in his growth. "You don't have a lot of room for mistakes. There's a lot of emotion involved and professionalism in that business and you have to be mindful that every shot and moment matters to the client, so you have to make sure it is near perfect."
Cam credits documenting those moments today for his clients and friends for his success. He learned the importance of getting those images correct and understanding the importance of locking those precious moments in time in each person's life. Cam believes growing up assisting his father is what gave him the tools and vision for what he's doing today.
"I started my career documenting candid and precious moments with people, so in a way it built me for my job today."
He moved to Atlanta to attend the prestigious Morehouse University and majored in marketing. But he was always known to create and build outside of the norm to lay his own path. I ask what the energy was like at the AUC at the time. He spoke on meeting Metro Boomin in the dorms and how he has friends now working with producer Mike Will, but the majority of his classmates have regular jobs and live pretty normal lives.
"I knew early on at Morehouse I was not going to have a 9-5. I was heading to something creative."
Cam told me he got his feet wet on the business side making mistakes or by dumb luck. While running around the AUC attending classes and being presented with the occasional opportunity to document the likes of artists such as MGK and School Boy Q, when both artists first touched the city before they became famous. Soon after these experiences, he was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.
"Wiz Khalifa saves the day. I was just a fan and wanted to see him perform so I reached out to his people and asked. It would be dope if you came to Morehouse."
The person who returned his call said they were planning a 50-city tour and no one in Atlanta
had reached out to them yet. He asked Cam what he wanted to do. Cam had no idea because he didn't expect them to respond but in true Cam Kirk fashion, always willing to bet on himself, he and his roommate took out loans and booked a show with Wiz Khalifa. The show was sold out and that was his first taste of the business side of music.
THE BRAND AND LEGACY!
"Cam Kirk is an innovative visual leader, someone that doesn't follow the traditional norms, that's breaking barriers and making a way for himself and others, a person that keeps the community and other people involved with everything he's doing, he's ever evolving. It's not just one thing, it's fresh and forward thinking."
He wants his legacy and brand to be synonymous with photography. The same way someone may mention Jordan, Lebron or Kobe in relation to basketball, is how he wants people to think of him when they pick up or mention a camera. He wants people to think 'Ok you're trying to be like Cam Kirk. How did you shoot that?' As an overall creative, marketer and entrepreneur, he wants to be known as one of the most innovative thinkers in his industry. He's looking to build an empire and have a brand that translates globally. WHAT'S NEXT?
He is currently shooting images with a few actors, comedians, the Atlanta United soccer team, Members of the Atlanta Hawks and projects with YouTube. He is also closing out his Billboards project, which he feels has played a big part in growing his brand to the level it's at now.
"I am planning a big event for Art Basel 2017 in Miami."
He won't give any details but shares he will present the event to Atlanta first. After our interview, he was leaving the next day to work in Jamaica for three days with Pop Con, followed by projects for Nike and Red Bull. After that, it is back to documenting the journey of his clients and friends and he will be jumping on the road with Metro Boomin to promote his upcoming project. Cam is embracing the challenge of moving his brand from shooting trap artists to shooting superstars from the sports world. He has no regrets of being associated with the trap era of music.
"The guys I came up with and set my foundation with are running the world musically right now."
He believes that there shouldn't be labels on music or artists. "Regardless of if it's scooter, Young Thug or Katie Perry, just call it great music."
He's all about growth and reinventing yourself. Cam Kirk is the eye of the new culture.