GRINDING: Kwesi Abbensetts

1. Name/Alias:
Kwesi Abbensetts/Now people are calling me spaceship

2.Where are you from/ Where do you currently live?:
I live in Jersey now in my friends basement. I am from Guyana, a Guyanese with a Brooklyn mindset. I need to move back to BK, but for now this arrangement works.

3. Where did/do you go to school and your major?:
I have been on a university campus since 11yrs old. My mother took me along when she was in law school. I moved to the united states in 1995 went to college in Maryland switch majors twice, and in 2002 moved to NY for film school and somehow bought a camera in 2006 and suddenly I was a photographer, totally unconscious. I guess the camera gave me the immediacy that was missing in film.

4. What is your Grind?:
My grind now is primarily my photography. I have been fortunate. In the recent months things have been good and I want them to get bigger and better. I also want people to know that this is my work, because I think people get the impression that I just do this for free. I want to do ad’s, editorials, art and just build the Kwesi Abbensetts brand. I finally committed to embrace who I am. Too many times I defeated my own self by half selling my abilities.

5. How did you get into what your doing now?:
It found me, photography came upon me, I had no idea I would one day be a photographer. I started 3 years , yes 3 years ago and I self-taught myself everything. I am still learning. I can say America is also to be credited, because you are given the opportunity and tools here to find out what you want to do with your life and if you are confident about your path you will find your way. I laugh to myself also because I must be the only photographer that still uses the first Photoshop. That’s to show you that your ability and output is what you put into it.

6. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?:
Eh I always thought I would be an architect but I wasn’t too good at math. But the idea of creating was there.

7. What are some contributing factors that shaped the life you live now?:
My mother going to law school in Barbados and Trinidad. Traveling and living in those places while young left me quite open minded. Moving to America, where now I really could be anything in this life. I also had a quiet intuition as a child where I trusted who and what I was and never let anyone sway me. I guess it was from being an only child. Overall my mother is to be thanked(despite our little disagreements). She gave me a new world.

8. Any specific people that mentored or helped guide you to your current path?:
have always been a hard head. I have never sought out any mentors. I mean I have studied other people’s work, but no mentor.

9. What motivates you?:
Finding something in the person I am photographing that I and them didn’t know exist. It gives me a superb high. I have a tendency to photograph women and maybe it relates to my father leaving at 10yrs old and in the family I was just surrounded by women. And again I grew up around my mothers friends. I am motivated by the fact that I can elicit an emotion and its there for the record. I am motivated that in the editing I can make it then into art. I steal innocence and that digital take is immediate.

10. Your favorite author and why?:
Hmm can’t really say – John Ridley – his books read like a movie. Ahh John Steinbeck, I think he get into the way a mind functions and shapes people.

11. What are 3 goals you want to achieve within the next year?:

Become a Brand and not just a photographer.

Book bigger jobs, advertising, be a business and develop a solid clientele base
Exhibit and make art and sell sell sell.

Oh and to be able to live and be happy with myself with a winter house or a place in Jamaica

12. One person that continuously inspires you and why?:
My friend Pam. She has the ability to find the child and fantasy in her self. Its amazing to me. Many adults lose that.

13. 3 Indie brands you LOVE to rock?:
Hmm I really don’t know. I love the yeah yeah yeahs new album, bloc party has a riot of an album. I am a fan of the BLK JKS out South Africa, they look like some guys who could just be my friends and they bring the native experience to rock.

14. What annoys you the most?:
My tendency to over think – I never did when I was younger, but I guess as an adult you get that way, no second chances.

15. Your best quality?:
Non-threatening and easygoing.

Click here to visit Kwesi’s Photo Blog

You can also purchase his book “Night People” here!