We had the good fortune of connecting with Cliff Robinson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cliff, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I am originally from Southeast Georgia. I was born in Augusta but spent most of my childhood 30 mins south in the rural area of Burke County. City boy gone country! Unlike most of my peers, I grew up living within walking distance of my grandparent’s farm. For most of my life, my daily schedule consisted of getting up, eating breakfast, going to school, after school activities, farm chores before sunset and eating dinner… repeat. At a young age, I could not understand what integrity and work ethic were nor the important role these characteristics would play in my future. Both of my grandfathers were their own men. My father’s father owned his own roofing company for 23 years with a 3rd grade education. My mother’s father left school in the 8th grade to help his family. He eventually became a sharecropper who bought land that’s been in our family for over 100 years. Where their lack of formal education ended, their integrity and work ethic took over. They both left some type of legacy for their grands, great grands, and great-great grandchildren to follow. The biggest contributing factor to who I am today is my mother. Being a single, working mother of 4, she reinforced daily the importance of integrity and strong work ethic, but sprinkled that love of family to move the needle a little more in my favor. Everything I do is for my wife and our future legacy. Whether I am selling bow ties and bracelets or photographing people, places, or things, everything I do is a representation of those who shoulders I stand on and those who will stand on mine.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
There is a quote that sums up the journey of a small business owner: “Entrepreneurship is a nightmare until it becomes a dream.” Everything I do has to do with being creative. I express my creativity through photography and how I present myself to the world. I launched Cliff Robinson Photography in 2004. In December of 2005 after graduating with a degree in Photography, I decided to pursue photography full time. This journey has afforded me the blessing to photograph foods from 5-star restaurants and world-renowned chefs, contribute to global commercial campaigns, capture portraits of beautiful families, and the privilege of shooting a president or two (no pun intended). In the process of expanding my business to meet the needs of my growing client list, I created The Bow Tie Photo Booth. My photo booth is an open-air photo booth concept. We customize the experience to reflect our client’s vision. Everything is customized from the 19” touch screen monitors to the digital download at our iPad kiosk. All we require is space, time, and a bunch of smiles. Outside of photography, I have always thought of myself as a style enthusiast. CLIFFORD FRANKLIN is my contribution to the stylish gentleman. This online marketplace caters to the everyday men who want to speak life into and through their style. We provide custom crafted bow ties, pocket squares, and beaded bracelets. Our motto is… Your LIFE… Your style. In all of my business ventures, I focus on 4 keys to success: • Provide professional services and quality product • Giving the client a memorable experience • Be ready and able to for-fill their changing needs • Represent the brand everyday… everywhere. I do my best not to nurture the negative stereo types surrounding black owned businesses. That starts with integrity and being a man of your word. Starting or maintaining a business is not for everyone. It requires commitment and consistency. Commitment to start and the consistency to finish. You have to be comfortable with taking risk. Risk walking out of your home… risk falling in love… risk in following your dreams. Nothing in life is worth having unless you take risk. My brand… my story is about capturing life’s moments where ever and whenever they may come, but doing it in style.
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?
Besides photographing food, I love to eat food. I would take my friends on a culinary journey of fine dining in Black Atlanta. We would start off with a breakfast experience dining at The Real Milk & Honey. For lunch, I would fill their bellies with a taste of Southern & Caribbean comfort at Ms. Icey’s Kitchen & Bar. To culminate the evening, we would finish up with diner and wine from Baltimore Crab and Seafood. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD. I found my good thing a little over a year ago, but it happened right on time. My Mom passed the Summer of 2019. My Mom had the foresight to know that LaToya would become the next leading lady during the final half of my life’s novel. Knowing this she gave her blessing a week before her passing. After her death, my wife became my lighthouse. She was a guiding presence when the waves of self-doubts and financial uncertainty began to crash over me. Consistently, she has shown me her strength, understanding, patience, and presence of being which I can only compare to my Mom. Not only does she give me constant encouragement, she gives me purpose and a stable environment to flourish in. So my ‘Shoutout’ goes to my lighthouse, my accountability partner, my forever girlfriend, my wife for life, LaToya Robinson. Every move I make, I do it with her and future family in mind.
Instagram: @thebowtiephotographer (weddings + special events) | @thekreativegent (commercial) | @clifford_franklin (accessories)
Cliff Robinson Photography