Share with us what the RUL ( Real Urban Lifestyle) brand represents and how you came about developing it?
The brand represents community and the people it’scomprised of, It essentially highlights those who are thriving within city life. Shedding light on its fast pace, the success etc. is a priority within my brand. I document and share the city life experience through my on lense through the likes of my camera. I created R.U.L.E in 2008 (Real Urban Lifestyle experience) while I was in Art School, and my graphic designer (shout out to Matthew Jones) designed my logo, and it honestly looked better without the E so I scrapped it. Since 2009, we’ve gone at RUL.
As a photographer, how have you been able to utilize social media to grow your following? Talk to us about your evolution over the years and how you developed your passion for photography.
Honestly, I am still finding footing in social media, and using it as a tool to leverage and provide a more in depth experience as opposed to it consuming myself and the brand as social media tends to do. My goal is that the brand acts as a direct reflection of the brand which is folks being successfully thriving in city living. As a visual person (photographer), representation is key. I find that with a lot of DC natives, they feel as though they have to leave to acclaim success when it is show daily right here.
In regards to my evolution as a photographer — I won several art awards as a child, which led me toward finding my niche. I took film and photography class and won an award show with a photo of my niece called “I wonder why”, then it created a lane for me thrive. It was a sense of therapy through some of my life experiences which is how I fell in love with photography. I got my first camera in 2007 as a high school graduation gift, which was a Nikon 40 x ( I think). In college 2009-2011, there was a high focus on high fashion portraits so many people around me had a high interest in white woman in fashion. Being a DC native who grew up seeing people from all walks of life, this was a culture shock because that wasn’t my idea of beauty. This immediately which turned me off, so I sought out my portfolio to be blackity black black purposely and intentionally. Down tomy brand logo’s colors, it is purposely black and gold because of the strength associated with the colors. My portfolio was the only of the sort to be 99.9% black. My technical skills have been developed through experience, trial and error and in the field. Right after college I got a gig with an event company, were there was intense diversity and I thrived there. Leaning continues, and it’s important to listen.
In addition to your freelance work as a photographer, you are also an educator. How important is it for students to have access to the arts, whether that means elective art courses or access to art within schools? In addition, how influential was having access to the arts to you growing up?
As an art teacher, access to the arts is very important for kids to have at a young age, because art is everywhere. Call and response to my students was “ART HAS” and they’d respond “NO LIMITS” and it began forming their brains and minds that both art and themselves are limitless. This is essential in child development and to expose them early as possible. In regards to myself, I had an art teacher but I don’t recall there being major influential because I didn’t find art as influential that young which is the disconnect. The importance of arts is influential andthere needs to be more a streamline.
Being a Washington Dc native, what were some of your major influences as far as art and photography are concerned? How do you stay true to your authentic self while being inspired?
Gordan Parks language and story resonated with me as a renaissance man, he captured black life in a different light and that attracted and influenced my view. My overall experiences growing up in DC (the hardship, the violence we know all about) has impacted my viewpoint and has developed aresponsibility within me to display this city in a different light because we are more than just that.
What advice can you give to upcoming photographers that are looking to grow their brand and hone in on their craft?
Keep shooting and maximize on opportunities, you never know what may come from it.
Viral moments happen every day! The camera has opened so many opportunities for me and opened so many doors for me. Keep creating, empty the whole clip.
You do a lot of philanthropy work in the area, and your mission statement is rooted in giving back to the community — share with us your current initiatives and how people can support your cause.
Apparel, portfolio and outreach www.realurbanlife.com
Some of our initiatives include, 25% of the profit from our apparel goes back to several causes within the city. We provide December winter essentials including over one hundred bags to the homeless population right here in DC and every January to the children of Ward 8 – so when you are making a purchase this is what you are helping to fund. Our hope is to merge the merchwith doing something good, by wearing something good and overall feeling good about that! RUL as a package is focused on an effort to empowering the community by providing affordable photography, premium apparel as you’re developing your own business so that you can change your life. RUL is a nationwidecommunity of cultured individuals, bringing awareness to real urban life.
Follow Princeton Tymus at @RULphotos on IG for more details!