Dwight “Shootrr” Elder. is a celebrity photographer and creative genius from Oakland, CA. He serves as the Road Manager and Digital Content Curator for Grammy-winning artist, Future. Throughout his career, Elder has shot A-List clients including Beyoncé, LeBron James, Giorgio Armani, Jay-Z, Meek Mill, P-Diddy, The Brooklyn Circus, Kanye West, Nipsey Hussle, Drake, Estlelle, James Harden and many more. His work has been featured in major publications like Rolling Stone Magazine, Buzzfeed and Complex.
Although Elder has etched a place for himself in the entertainment industry, photography was not his initial endgame. Happenstance and the encouragement of friends and family guided him to this passion. In 2014, betting on himself, Elder acted on the uplifting words from loved ones and posted a photoshoot of a model on social media to gage the reaction of followers. With that post which included a $100 holiday special photoshoot, he was booked for an entire month with clients. The start of a lucrative career began which has opened other doors for directing and inspiring others.
Devoted to stimulating positivity, Elder is the vision-filled CEO of The Shootrr Program. Through this venture, he has influenced 30 at-risk Oakland youth with gun felony charges to pick up a camera and capture moments rather than using a gun. Highlighting the essence of accountability, Elder and his team are committed to generating options and avenues for youth to change the trajectory of their paths despite their previous decisions. Guided by other renowned photographers and creatives, upon completing the program, youth are equipped to direct their own music videos and share footage which tell a story through their lens.
What does the future of concert photography look like post quarantine life?
Hmmm, well I would love for it to go back to the way it was. I am share holder in Live Nation (LYV) which is the world's leading live entertainment company. There is something about the traditional, organic sound of fans screaming at the top of their lungs to see a live show in which you are apart of. Though I think social media and VR technology will be the new wave in adding entirely new dimensions to the technology and the way fans experience live performances. Also with drones and social events it will be a heavy adjustment to those who have experienced a traditional live concert. It will feel a lot like when DSLR cameras hit the market and film photographers lost the true essence of the way they captured the moment and produced the images. With high artist cost and low marketing budgets, I find it hard to believe it will be a lucrative business to bet on fans taking the risk to be in large groups of people in the future. Then again this is America.
Were you a big music fan who wanted to document the culture? Or did music find your photography?
Ive always been a huge fan of music ever since since I was a child. I had no idea I had the potential to be a photographer until my adulthood. Then I realized that my love for them both went hand and hand. The music I listen to influences the photos that I take. Ive always wanted to work in the music industry as an A&R. I felt like I knew music, I knew brand imaging, I knew how to market an artist. Once I became a photographer my primary demographic would be artist in the music industry. Just like anything else, if you put the energy out there it’ll attract to you. A year later, I moved from California to Atlanta and the music found me.
Browsing your feed, there is a sense of joy, excitement, humility and moments of I worked and deserve this. Elaborate on that for us.
I live Joy, Excitement, Humility, Moments. I feel like aside from anything those are some characteristics every human should possess, also be entirely familiar with. When I chose to quit an amazing job working for Apple to move 3000 miles away to Atlanta with no vision as to where photography would take me. All I had was my joy when times got hard, my excitement when I walked the streets looking for the next moment to capture, and to stay humbled through it all. So I never looked at my current circumstance as this where I would remain. It was only a faze that laid the foundation to reap the benefits and how I wanted to experience them. Right now is the time where I am reaping those benefits I put in the work for. Here I am being interviewed by the very first company that gave me an opportunity to showcase my work, over 7 years later. God is good!
“Live for the moment” is the caption in your IG bio. Do you live and find more joy in capturing a moment or creating a moment?
I believe living in the moment is only experienced in one way. There are no other options, simply because you are only 100% in that one at that time. So I have no choice but to capture the moment that I see, and create the ones that I want to create as well. We were given the greatest blessing of all, the opportunity to create the life we desire. I just always remember the only way that I can truly live and take control of my destiny is to live 100% in that one moment and the next one will take care of it self when it comes.
Care to share any wild or unbelievable moments you’ve captured or have witnessed as a traveling photographer.
I've always wanted to travel to Milan Italy. Theres just something about the Italian culture that I feel is elegantly-gangster. From the architecture to the homemade bolognese pasta, and impeccable accents. A few summers ago I had the opportunity to not only visit this beautiful city. I was also blessed with the opportunity to photograph Giorgio Armani and Bugatti in his palace. He housed me in his Armani hotel not far from his home, and I shopped at his flagship store in the hotel. This was an individual who Id never thought id meet. Let alone take portraits of him in the his home for Italian GQ and Bugatti. We had to speak to him through his translator because of the language barrier, after the 88 year old mogul arrived from finishing his second workout of the day. He mentioned how he started Armani at 40 year old after being a nurse at a hospital. He currently has 100% ownership of his companies and influences every towel they place in his hotel and shoe they put on his shelf. He’s worth over 7 billion dollars today. That inspired me on so many levels, It's never too late to chase your dreams.
Share and plug some interesting creatives or people, places and things we should be keeping an eye on.
Aside from Music and Photography I have a hand in energy efficiency that reduces your operating expenses through energy and water efficiency retrofits for commercial and residential properties. We also have a prototype application developed to allow auditors to track business more efficiently and accurately. This is a game changer especially with our worlds current conditions, it will employ so many Americans not only take care of their families but also make our planet a safer place to live.