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 jumpstarted 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, to name a few. 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/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].
Is 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 photoshoots 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.
Some of the best photos are captured when least expected. Can you share one of your favorite photo moments?
My best photo moments are the photos I capture on my film camera. I get to capture the daily adventures of my life without perfection. My favorite moments I have captured were the images of my Cam Kirk Studios family and … [a] fan crowd surfing N.E.R.D. performance at AFROPUNK 2018.
What is one passion project that you are hoping to pursue in the future?
A passion project I am hoping to pursue is a documentary highlighting concert photographers and how the pit in which we shoot is the parallel between heaven and hell. Also, looking to venture into the journalistic side of photography and managing photographers to get them into the spaces to help their careers.
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