We had the good fortune of connecting with Aviel el-Shair and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Aviel, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I’m taken back to all of the obscure locations I’ve shot at, in areas some people would be scared to step Foot in. Or, getting on a plane to go to Haiti knowing I don’t know anyone but the person that hired me to go. Another memory that always makes me laugh is back In 2014, after a weekend of protests, there was a gathering of community members to historical activists on Auburn Ave at Ebenezer baptist church. I finessed my way into the conference room that had Atlanta’s senators and Governors discussing the state of black America. That was definitely a risk I had to take. Every example I just gave were definitely ALL risks I had to take. To say the least, when it comes to taking risks, that means doing whatever it takes to get what I want and need. Ultimately, those magic shots, those magic moments captured in time. As a photographer born and raised, and still living in Atlanta, I see a lot of Fads come and go in the art community. Being in such a saturated industry, being a risk taker comes with the territory, for me at least, so I know In my heart, that I will always stand out from the rest. Taking risks and betting on myself even when it may seem unpopular and oftentimes unsafe, is what has gotten me where I am as an experienced Photographer. It has taught me many valuable lessons, and it’s what will keep moving me further and further as an artist.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art is very spiritual. Be it portraits for clients or my personal collections, the photographs will always be rooted in spirituality. I am a firm believer in connectivity. I ask for guidance from my ancestors and from Spirit before I shoot, during the shoot, and in post production. Being connected to the unseen allows me to bring new energy and new ideas to any scenario that is presented to me, which allows my self and my clients to have a fresh and pleasant experience and outcome. If you ask anyone that shoots with me they will definitely tell you that the energy is high. But I want to talk more about my personal collections. The ones that you will see in galleries, the ones you will buy to decorate your sacred spaces. It can take a pretty long time for me to complete my bodies of work. A lot of the ideas I have come to me in dreams. The thing about that is, if they come to me in dreams, that means I’ve already been stewing on a concept that I haven’t settled on and God is telling me to get off my you know what and make a move! I really appreciate those messages from above because it’s been a long journey in building my confidence to actually share my personal projects. It’s been a long road and it has not been easy to say the least lol. A lot of tears cried, a lot of talks In the mirror. But I realized after a lot of work and conversation with other artists, that if I don’t act on my talents that the world is meant to see, then, what’s really the point? What’s the purpose? Walking in my light and my talents is the purpose. And when you walk, people will see and receive what they are meant to receive. So I keep walking and working at my talents ,sharpening my vision, my voice, to share with the world.
I love to include symbolism, textures, and fabrics in my photos to add different dimensions and aspects to the viewing process.
My most recent collection “ Ancestors Watchin’” is custom framed with fabrics and textures that are also included in the photographs. Fabrics like velvet, and lace. Textures like beads, and stones. It is definitely a collection you have to lay your eyes on.
My goal is to be in Fine art galleries around the world. So stay tuned!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh it’s time to have some fun! You’re in my city! Atlanta! First we’ll start with some breakfast in East Point at Breakfast Boys, literally anything in the menu is good ( try the shrimp and grits and the salmon) plus the drinks. Next stop, Walk off that delicious food on the belt line, and see some amazing graffiti art, not to mention some great drinking stops and ice cream along the way ( the belt line has many starting points throughout the city) If you want to see some culture we’ll stop at the Hammond House in the west end ( it’s beautiful and you will learn a lot not to mention get some IG worthy photos) Next! I’m taking you to get a tattoo from some of the best, Trent @votetrent on IG is one of the freshest and colorful tattoo artists right now. Another great choice is the very popular City of ink on Peter street also next door is Peter Street station ( a whole vibe) and it’s next to Two Chains restaurant Escobar., we’ll definitely hit the bar up.
Now that we’re all tatted up, exercised, and full on mixed drinks. Let’s get ready for lunch. Gotta go back to my side. To historic West End we go! Tessilis Raw Reality for a vegan Mandingo wrap, yes I said Mandingo wrap. Gotta have one to know how amazing it is. ( there’s also a Punnani wrap that’s just as good)
Before we nap we have to have dessert at Sublime donuts downtown in the GA Tech area. It’s so good, try the croissant donut and thank me later.
The sun is down and now it’s time to party. White hall street has a hidden gem called The love below. @thelovebelow and @yammsburlesque Home of the all black all female live Burlesque and variety show and so many other events like naked yoga, or squirt 101 shhhhh don’t tell, or do! But the drinks are always flowing and it is the definition of a Speak easy. They also have vegan and non vegan food options and it’s smoker friendly! To end the night right head a few blocks down the street to the world famous Magic City! Now, by now you’re probably lit! But trust me the performances and the FOOD is worth it. You won’t want to leave Atlanta after I’m done with you. That’s a promise. 😉
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Bryan “Uncle Dope” Cole for major support and encouraging me to continue to be Risky! He is the creator, owner, and designer of It’s Just Different… LTD CO. and gave me my job in lifestyle and fashion photography