We had the good fortune of connecting with Kaili Spear and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kaili, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
It started with a few fun videos with my siblings over the years to always being the designated photographer or videographer to my friends and family…When I first took the initiative to make my naturally skilled passion (photography and film production) into a business… my first thought was “what is the name going to be?”. Better yet, what is the message or motive behind what I’m trying to create. Eventually during the summer of 2018 before my Junior year of college I decided to give it more meaning and a more professional presentable name that would better describe me as a person and my creativity. I had family and friends describe my work as “raw” very often and I would say the same in my head because I do tend to take more organic and on the spot type of photography… I kept saying in my head its real natural and original work. The more I kept telling myself that my work is authentic and raw. I then came up with the idea to break down the word “raw” and what it meant to me. It wasn’t until the summer of 2018 in my dads garage when I came up with the meaning and name all together on the spot. It just came to me. Describing me so well as a person as well as describing my type of creativity, which is simply R.A.W. Eventually I came up with “Real Authentic Work”. In other words, I am all about Real Authentic Work where R.A.W. moments and creations are made. I like to say “R.A.W. Vibes Only” before every photoshoot or film production, because I want everyone to be on one accord to be themselves and spread love and positive energy. Coming up with the design of my logo wasn’t hard at all, I knew I wanted to incorporate a globe, because I love Earth. The main reason why my favorite colors are green and blue. I’m a humanitarian what can I say, I have an appreciation for everything living and lively which is the ultimate bigger picture completing my motive. The reason for the black and white color of my logo is to represent the Yin and Yang. The gold accent is a recent change. I wanted to add some color and I saw my logo being more complete with the touch of raw gold. Because that’s how I feel about my work, it’s rare, real, raw and authentic work. There’s more to it, but the rest will be for a future interview or documentary.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Since the beginning I did not want my creations to feel staged or forced. I wanted that sense of realness and still respectfully helping those in front of my lens to unfold a part of themselves in realtime. When it comes to my art form which is mainly photography, I love to capture real moments in time and showcase bits and pieces of the bigger picture with every visual capture. I love to tell a story with every picture captured of my muse at the time. With every photoshoot I like to unfold the real character and personality of my muse by telling a story picture by picture. Those real raw connections and moments is what I live for. Most of the time I love to create on the spot, and go with the flow of things so its not too planned. In other words, I like to keep my work R.A.W. and showcase Real Authentic Work between the subject, environment and I. This way there’s a sense of realness coming from the visual artwork being expressed. But each and every creation has an actual meaning behind it. If it wasn’t for the realness in the creations being created between subject and I, there wouldn’t be much meaning or reason to capture the moment. I don’t want to just take a picture to just take “a picture”, it has to be real and raw a visual message and guiding words to unveil the bigger picture. My business name came with ease once I understood my purpose with every moment and capture. It gave me reason to unfold and be myself. R.A.W. “Real Authentic Work” gives other creators other than myself to be expressive of themselves during the time of creation. The only challenges I faced so far is the paperwork aspect of things trying to maintain a single member LLC, Copyright and Trademark as well as trying to make this my full-time career. Its still in the works but with divine timing everything will unfold. I also just graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, December 2020 and currently find myself working a 9-5 while trying to pursue my dreams during a pandemic is hectic enough. One thing I have learned during this journey of putting myself out there for the world to see is that “many know your worth, they just hope you don’t.” Despite all the setbacks and downfalls, I kept pushing and will continue to follow through with my desires to be a full-time Creative Director of film/photography. First I need to get a vehicle to travel with and my own space to bloom in for sure.
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?
I choose quality time over anything and everything any day. If I had a best friend visiting here in Columbus, Ga we would most definitely spend most of our time outdoors walking by a body of water such as the riverwalk in uptown Columbus and spend most of the time catching up and talking about our future plans which we would work towards manifesting into reality. I know for sure I would have a variety of plans to create or express freely however whether it be photography, video, dance, music, drawing, painting, cooking, etc you name it. I cook a lot between soul food and Italian cuisine Im always experimenting in the kitchen mixing and creating R.A.W. meals haha. Truly though I have a deep love for good food due to my Black and Italian culture I was raised by. So my friend will most definitely enjoy a lot of homemade meals and picnics outdoors. And of course we would chat it out a lot about future plans and manifest our greatest desires by working towards them and writing them out of course. I love random adventures and just exploring the outdoors, so we might even end up in the woods somewhere seeking inspiration or peace in a busy crowded world. The most fun I have is in the night when just getting up and going with no plans at all… just to cruise into the night around for hours listening to good throwback R&B music until in the early A.M. But anywhere outdoorsy is my go to and I’m sure if I were to have a best friend we would travel a lot around the world carefree just waiting for the adventures to unfold after arriving to the destinations.
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?
I most definitely want to give a big shoutout to my family and friends. If it wasn’t for the support and love shown over the years since I began this journey to making my business official, it just wouldn’t exist without my family and friends who have given their time to being my muse for many of my creations. Their existence is the reason for my existence. Specifically want to give a shoutout to my baby sister Briana and brother Kristian for being my very first captures when I first received my professional camera in late December of 2017. And I want to give a big shoutout to my dad Ronald for gifting me with my first professional camera as a late birthday gift. I also want to give a shoutout to my step mom Errica for helping me in the business aspect of things in the early stages. And last but not least I give a special shoutout to my mom Nicoletta for always encouraging me to do better and pursue my dreams. And as I said before if it wasn’t for my friends at the time being my muses I wouldn’t have had any growth in my naturally given and self-taught skills.
Image Credits to Kaili Spear of Real Authentic Work Model(s): Santana Farley, Jasmine Crawford, Jennan Moughrabi, Jordyn Analiese F., Tyler West, Briana Spear, Caevin Hinton and Olivia