Malik Davis is a photographer and videographer from Indianapolis, IN. He graduated from Anderson University and currently working at IU: Kelley School of Business as a Learning Media Producer & Videographer and also Freelance Concert, Wedding, and Landscape Photographer & Videographer.
“I never thought that I would be labeled as an artist until quarantine happened. Before I started my deep dive into photography and self-portrait work, video was my first love – and the only reason I started to get into photography more was because at my first job with the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps. I would make bi-weekly videos highlighting their weeks of training and give the fans updates on what the band was doing. And while I would be on the field shooting with the band members they would joke and say “Malik take my picture!” and I would remind them every time that that I was specifically video based and they should talk to the actual photographer for action shots. It was all fun and games until one day it dawned on me that maybe I should try and be versatile with my skill set, which is what helped get me to where I am today in the photography world.
When I shoot self-portraits I usually have a song or a concept in my head that I, personally, think would be cool to see while scrolling on Instagram. My approach to shooting self-portraits is “what is it that I want to make clear to the audience?” Or “How can I express how I’m feeling while I’m looking at this photograph?” And usually while I’m editing them – I do the coloring first and once I’m done, put them away, and then after a day or so of not looking at them, I pull them into Photoshop and see what other element or elements could add to sort of amplify the shot in a unique way.
I never really got into the self-portrait thing until I found a handful of self-portrait photographers on Twitter and Instagram and sort of studied how they posed and everything — and then during the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer — I, as a black man, have faced racism a number of times and I wanted to get my message of frustration, sadness, and anger out in a healthy way, but also pushed that narrative of “We Black people want equality.” And after seeing that people’s lives could be put in danger if I went out and took photos at a protest, I took it among myself to use myself as the subject and voice all of those things through my artwork.
And once the protests slowed down and things were beginning to settle a little bit, I started experimenting with different concepts for self-portraits and landed on this space theme that I seem to be stuck on and I’m the type of person who welcomes trial and error as an approach to a creative piece of work because it’s helped me learn and get better at my craft.”