As a child, Kai Tsehay was obsessed with music videos. Her mother, however, would not allow her to spend her idle time watching videos. Instead, she taught Tsehay graphic design, which inspired Tsehay to explore visual arts.
Kai Tsehay, born KaiYanna T. Washington, describes herself as a creative entrepreneur and freelance photographer. Originally from Washington, D.C. Tsehay now resides in Atlanta and frequently shoots in New York City.
The Spelman alumna jump-started her career in 2016 while capturing student-life throughout the Atlanta University Center as well as visual projects and festivals in Washington D.C., London, and New York.
Kai Tsehay’s portfolio includes Killer Mike, Trouble, 2 Chainz, Mike Will Made-It and Amiyah Scott. She has also produced work for the Chan-Zuckerberg Foundation and rolling out.
Social media handle: @kaitsehay & @kaitsehayfilm
One thing cool about you: I climbed an Egyptian pyramid
Favorite Restaurant: Busboys & Poets in Washington, D.C.
Favorite guilty pleasure: Meditation
Favorite artist on repeat: Snoh Aalegra
Did you attend art or photography school?
I did not attend art school for my whole academic career, but growing up I attended many after school activities that were centered around visual arts. In college, I took a few photography classes. Overall, I am self-taught. I have been shooting since I was in middle school. Also, this talent is passed down. I have a lot of family [in the] photography and visual arts [professions].
Was there a specific moment when you realized photography meant more to you than just taking pictures?
[It was] when I took the last photos of Peanut da Don, an artist who passed away. It made me realize and analyze the importance of my craft. Photographers are the gateway to keeping moments alive.
How do you incorporate music in your photo shoots?
I incorporate music into my photo shoots by shooting concerts and artists. When it comes to non-music photography and shooting individual people, I’ll curate a playlist that fits the theme of the shoot or play music based on the vibe of the shoot.
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