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RAW Talent with Vincent Alban

With a blend of curiosity and family legacy, Vincent has been navigating the world of photography for most of his life. Hailing from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), this recent photojournalism graduate has been joined by his camera since early childhood. Since exploring the countless possibilities photography and storytelling can bring, Vincent has been all about capturing the deep essence of the people he photographs.

His moving project “Absence and Presencehighlights the relationship between gun violence, segregation, and poverty. He dives into the human connections that shape these communities. In this interview, we talk about the emotional landscape of his work, the importance of empathy in his approach, the process of finding his artistic voice, and the future.

Devon Reynolds feeds his son, Elijah, while watching the movie “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” with sons, Devon Jr. and Karter at Greece Ridge Mall in Greece, N.Y. on April 26, 2022.

When did your photo journey start?

I traveled a lot when I was younger and always had a camera with me. My grandparents on my father’s side ran a small-town newspaper for over 50 years, inspiring my love for journalism. I was also a part of my student newspaper in high school, which progressed to studying photojournalism in college. The combination of these engrained my love for photojournalism.

Jasmin and her daughter, Za’Ryah Hernandez-Ruffin, 11, visit the gravesite of Za’Ryah’s father at Riverside Cemetery in Rochester, N.Y., on Oct. 23, 2022. Deavoghn Hernandez-Ruffin was shot and killed on June 18, 2012, when Za’Ryah was only eight months old. The pair visited Deavoghn’s grave to mark Za’Ryah’s 11th birthday.

Why did you decide to go for photojournalism?

I remember joining my high school newspaper to improve my photography. At that point, I spent my Saturdays making street portraits in New York City. Soon, I discovered Sebastião Salgado and Lynsey Addario. I was amazed by how photojournalism could combine the art of photography and the facts of journalism to tell a deep story.

How did RIT support your vision and help you grow as a photographer?

RIT gave me the opportunity to be surrounded by inspiring peers and supportive professors whom I hold close to my heart. Most importantly though, it allowed me to immerse myself in the City of Rochester which I have grown to love. The university set an incredible foundation for me to photograph in Rochester that I hope to continue throughout my career.

Friends of Trent Davis hang out at his shrine on Mohawk St. in Rochester, N.Y., on Feb. 12, 2022. Trent was shot on the street in 2017 and succumbed to his injuries in 2020. New research from the Cornell ILR Buffalo Co-Lab finds a correlation between eviction filings and crime rates, saying the two “are related in ways that cannot be explained by chance alone; but surface-level patterns in these variables are products of deeper structural variables, such as poverty and inequality.

Congrats on your Absence and Presence project. The storytelling is delicate and sensitive. How did you come up with the idea for it?

Thank you. I saw a news story about how the city of Rochester, where I was attending college, was on track to surpass the per capita murder rate of Chicago. It made me think about the cities defined by violence which I saw as an overreported stereotype. At the start of that following semester, I was given a class assignment entitled Make it Local. We had to find a national news trend and make it a local story. At the time, gun violence was rising everywhere. I wanted to tell this story more layered than through numbers and rates that create stereotypes about specific neighborhoods and demographics.

How did you showcase this layered story and organize your documentation?

I worked with many people in Rochester, but two people, Devon and Jasmin, are the main characters of Absence and Presence. I focused on them because their stories were solid visual representations of the issues I was focusing on. Education, food insecurity, poverty, and segregation are intertwined with gun violence as root causes but are not always reported in that way. The common thread connecting them is their desire to create a better life for their children.

Titiana Bogar, the mother of Ly’Saun Curry, cries out after a balloon release honoring Ly’Saun on the second anniversary of his death in Rochester, N.Y. on Oct. 2, 2022. Ly’Saun, who was 18, was killed while walking home from work on Oct. 2, 2020. Orange was his favorite color, and his friends and family use it to honor him in their everyday life. Bogar has become a mentor to Ly’Saun’s friends, as they all deal with his passing. Jonathan Spinks, the man who shot and killed Ly’Saun was sentenced to 90 years to life in prison on Dec. 22, 2022.

How did you first come to understand the correlation between segregation, poverty, and gun violence?

Rochester is a city that shares many of the same issues as other American cities despite being relatively small. It did not take long to notice how neighborhoods experiencing high shootings were also experiencing high levels of food insecurity, amongst other issues. I worked closely with researchers at The Center for Public Safety Initiatives, a research center at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where I went to school, to find studies of these correlations to include in my project.

Zhyon Stewart poses for a portrait with his 1-year-old son, Zhyon Jr., at their home in Rochester, N.Y. on Nov. 13, 2021. Zhyon was shot in the chest on June 23, 2021, after he was caught in the crossfire of a shooting. “It was stressful, honestly, because it’s like, ‘Why did I get shot? Why me? Why do I have to deal with this pain?’” says Zhyon. “I couldn’t even hold my son for two months.

Can you share your experience of documenting people exposed to traumatic events?

To make people more comfortable, I did not change my style of photography much. But I made sure to tell and remind them that I wanted it to be a collaboration. I did not want to take my photos and leave. I often spent time with them, not photographing, hanging out, talking about our life experiences, their hobbies, or anything. This approach helped me to understand how they see themselves and their community. It helped me represent them and their community more accurately in my photographs. Being able to photograph someone in their home for many months is a privilege, and I wanted to make sure they felt perceived in the right way.

Jamma, 8, the son of Jamen Balkum, who was killed in a shooting on Aug. 30, 2021, tries on one of the many pairs of shoes that once belonged to his father, at his aunt’s home in Rochester, N.Y., on Oct. 3, 2021.

Did your captures of the raw and intimate family moments happen naturally?

It happened naturally, but, of course, it was not right away. It took a lot of time with the families beyond just getting the safe; photos and calling it a day. That is when the collaboration I mentioned earlier comes into play. Having empathy for their situation is vital to capture true and raw emotion. In the beginning, it’s important to discuss with whoever you photograph that you will be there to document both the good and bad moments. That is critical to telling a well-rounded story.

Jamma dances while surrounded by friends and family at the 30th birthday celebration for his late father in Rochester, N.Y., on Jan. 14, 2023. During the two years since Balkum’s passing, his mother, Michele Balkum, has hosted birthday parties to celebrate the legacy of her late son.

What information shocked you the most, and what was the most challenging part of working on “Absence and Presence”?

The information that surprised me the most was how much youth-involved shootings have risen and continue to rise. According to data from the Pew Research Center, gun deaths among U.S. children rose 50% from 2019 to 2021. 

The most challenging moments were not in the peak moments of emotion, like a funeral or a shooting scene, but rather when I was not working. I felt I was not doing justice to the stories I was working on. That pushed me to continue telling these stories long beyond the initial moments of grieving to go deeper beneath the story’s surface.

Have you found your photographic voice?

This project has helped me develop my voice greatly, but my voice is constantly evolving. It is a process. We are always learning no matter how long we have been photographing, and I want to continue down that track. If I were done learning, I would be quite bored.

Follow along with Vincent as he edits his photos to bring out the details of the scenes.

Youve just graduated. What are your plans for the near future?

Now, I am interning at Boston Globe for the summer. Following that, I will be working for National Geographic. By the end of the year, I plan to move to Chicago to begin my freelance career. I want to be centrally located for 2024 election coverage, and there are a few stories I would like to pursue there. 

What do you wish someone told you when you decided on your career?

I wish someone would tell me about the importance of pacing oneself throughout one’s work. I have found the idea of this career being a marathon, not a sprint, very fitting.

See more of Vincent’s work on his Instagram and website.


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Beyond the lens: unfolding the vision of Dariane Sanche

Step into the exciting world of Dariane Sanche, a Montreal-based photographer known for her fashion, beauty, and portrait photography. Her unique style brings out true emotion and moves beyond regular photography by breathing life into her characters.

Join us in a chat with Dariane as she gives us a sneak peek at her art creation and visual journey, diving deep into her inspiration and storytelling. During her recent trip around southern France and Sicily, Dariane captured breathtaking landscapes while testing our mobile app. She highlights the ease of working with less gear and the natural freedom to move that it allows.

Dariane, how would you describe your style as a fashion, portrait, and beauty photographer? 

For me, photography is a vehicle for capturing emotions and telling stories. My photographs are characterized by a cinematic style. I love contextualizing my photoshoots and immersing my models in characters – like playing a part in a film. Whoever my models are and their status, I like to create a universe around them and capture the essence of the individual before me. I draw much inspiration from nature and materials for my photo shoots. I love adding texture to my images. Whether shooting or in post-production, there’s always some material that adds a form of texture, I love that.  

Finally, I’d say my style is one of contrasts. I like to explore softness, minimalism, and realism – while I also like creating surreal scenes.

Follow along with Dariane as she uses our mobile app on her recent trip.

What inspires your work? 

Everyday objects and elements can be a source of inspiration for my photographs. For example, I was doing artistic research for a project one day. I came across a photo of a mushroom-shaped reading lamp. I was inspired and knew I had to develop a concept around this little reading lamp. The idea matured, and I finally made a human-sized fantasy world. With my team, we created a giant mushroom about 10 feet high, illuminated along with all the surrounding scenery. This photoshoot can be found on my site and on my social networks.

Are there any parts of your process that could be improved?  

I always work with a team – in the studio or on location. This can be a small, medium, or large team, but communication and sharing is always key. On all my sets – important criteria, is the weight of my gear, speed of execution, and the technological ease of my tools.

Location shoots are more challenging, as we often can’t have the same equipment as in the studio due to travel constraints, portability, and access to a power source. For me, having a rental workflow without big compromises that are as efficient as in the studio would be the best improvement – and you [Capture One] have developed a solution. 

Tell us about your recent road trip to southern France and Sicily, Italy. 

My team and I were there to produce photo and video advertising campaigns for various brands. We mainly shot in Aix-en-Provence & Marseille (France), Syracuse & the Monte Cofano Nature Reserve (Sicily). We wanted a variety of landscapes: mountains, cities, seas, rocks, and cliffs.   

Were there any challenging experiences on the trip that affected your work? 

This trip involved a lot of air travel and several car journeys. Given that we were a small team and sometimes worked at several locations per day, our number one criterion was to be light on equipment, able to set up quickly without mobilizing a fixed space and be ready to leave easily. For example, on a single day, we shot in downtown Syracuse in Sicily, took a Tuctuc ride, and shot while on the move. We then had a shoot in a villa and by the sea at sunset. None of this would have been possible if we’d been shooting connected to a laptop with hard drives, several batteries to carry with us, and our cameras and lenses. To do this, we chose to shoot connected to our iPhone using the brand-new mobile app – and it was a real revelation. 

You shared some beautiful images with us. Can you guide us through the process of your shoots during the road trip?   

I’m super happy you liked the images I captured during this trip! For the part of the shoot in Sicily in the Monte Cofano Nature Reserve, we rented a superb stone house typical for the area. The region was so rich in beautiful architecture and landscapes that we decided to carry out the project as a road trip with friends. It’s the story of two friends who love fashion and go on a vacation together. Like any good road trip, the camera is often in hand to capture the best moments, create memories and tell stories. From a more technological aspect, we shot with the camera connected to an iPhone, enabling instant editing of photos, sharing them with each other, selecting them together or separately, and publishing them directly to social networks. 

You’ve used our new mobile app during your trip – how was the experience? 

I was lucky enough to be able to test the Beta version and shoot with the final version at launch. It’s an absolute charm – I love it. It’s intuitive, easy, simple but powerful, fast, and efficient. Photos are displayed instantly, edits are precise, and it responds as quickly as on my usual work computer. The ‘Share Online’ option allowed me to share the images I took in Sicily on my phone with my clients in Montreal. They could rate the photos from 1 to 5 stars and leave comments. While the pics were taken, we completely forgot the distance between us and the customer since we were connected live. 

Usually, you shoot a lot in the studio. What were the biggest challenges during outdoor and on-the-go shoots?   

In Montreal, we’re used to shooting more in the studio. Here, we don’t have the temperatures of Italy and the south of France, which often pushes us to shoot indoors. In the studio, I’m used to previewing my photos on my laptop and/or on a 32-inch 4k screen. I was wondering whether my iPhone screen would allow me to see the images correctly – I quickly realized that it would be no problem at all, whatever the outdoor conditions.  

After the shooting, I exported my files in EIP format to keep all my adjustments made on mobile. I imported them into Capture One Pro on my laptop and left them at our HQ to continue editing. It’s the best solution for cross-platform work – you offer a highly adaptive solution that perfectly meets all needs and situations. 

When do you think you’d use the new mobile app most?  

I can think of several uses for mobile. All shoots in location in Montreal can be done with the mobile application without any problem. The ability to share the session online with 25 people makes for excellent collaboration between all team members. I plan another trip like this for winter 2023-24 to produce our customers’ next advertising campaigns. Also, any shoots made at the destination (while traveling) can be made using mobile.  

It’s also not uncommon to do a photoshoot in the studio, while the client might want to have a few quick looks outside or further away from the set. Without having to move all the equipment into the studio, mobile is so fast to prepare that I can see it being combined with my studio equipment.  

For a recent production, I had to take photos of a model inside a taxi while sharing the images with the rest of the team. It was a perfect fit, enabling me to be more agile and flexible. 

See more of Dariane’s work on her Instagram and website.


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RAW Talent with Mary Ashokeji 

Meet Mary, an accomplished photographer specializing in documentary and portrait photography – and shortlisted for the 2023 Student Photographer of the Year for the Sony World Photography Awards.

As a person of Nigerian heritage and a devout Christian, Mary’s work always bears a piece of her identity, diversity, and faith. Having dedicated six years to honing her craft, Mary understands the importance of discovering one’s purpose and embracing personal passions – and bringing those to life via her imagery and stories.

We had a chat with Mary about how she turned an essential part of herself into an impressive shortlist submission for the SONY World Photography Awards and her experiences in the medium.

You’ve recently been shortlisted for the SONY World Photography Awards with your project “Expressions of Worship.” What was your brief?

The series was created in response to Sony’s brief, ‘In a Changing World,’ which asked for positive stories motivated by topics such as the environment, technology, and how we work and live. We were told to create work for this as part of a module brief and asked to interpret it mindfully but creatively. When coming up with an idea, I had to consider how I would respond to all kinds of situations, particularly those from the last few years, both good and bad.

How did being in the spotlight at one of photography’s most influential events feel?

I’m still surprised by the whole thing as I had no expectations after completing my work. I was pleased to have produced something that honestly represents myself and is as essential to me as it is to others. I am thankful for the experience, and others may resonate as well. I was very nervous and did not expect love, encouragement, or criticism.

Getting back to your project, can you tell us more about its idea? What motivated it?

I usually shoot for my church’s social media and see how I could use this. My friend runs a ministry called ‘Expressions of Worship,’ and I started shooting for it, where the name and idea originated. This was a wonderful visual representation of ‘the triumph over adversity.’ Because I am a Christian, I spend much time in prayer, communing with God, even when I doubted my faith and beliefs. Worshipping under challenging circumstances is where I find peace, joy, and solace. Worship is a way of self-expression that presents itself in several ways.

Your photography captures emotions in a very unfiltered way. How did you develop this approach?

I want to think this is because of how passionate the people are and because of the environment. I usually take the lead during praise and worship at church, and I wanted the experience to feel real for the viewer. The atmosphere is amazing and so immersive. I love negative space and rules because they draw you in and enhance the main focus of the picture. I used a lot of cropping and chose black and white to limit distractions.

How do you work with subjects when capturing such intimate moments?

It’s important to be considerate of who or what you’re capturing. These moments are intimate and sacred. They mean much more to those in them than you. You are ‘just’ capturing it for art or work. I was grateful that my church and the body allowed me to do this.

On a different note, how has studying at Ravensbourne University helped you become a better photographer?

I am immensely grateful to the tutors on my course because they have pushed me to explore exciting opportunities, such as Sony and the publishing industry. Ravensbourne offers a great learning environment that encourages trial and error, where I can learn from the talented individuals around me. The freedom to experiment and receive constructive criticism has done wonders for my growth and progress. Ravensbourne’s SEEDS program has been a fantastic source of my professional and personal development. It helped widen my perspective by showing everything possible in freelancing, networking, self-confidence, and entrepreneurship. One of the greatest benefits of this program was the opportunity to work with a mentor of my choice and all-time favorite photographer. Their advice and insight have had a big impact on my journey.

Follow along with Mary as she edits one of her photos to bring out the detail of the scene. 


Back to your roots, what was your first experience in photography? How did you get into it?

I was a big fan of film and cinematography. I would take stills or screenshots of films with great grading and even study color theory. I’ve always struggled with education because I wasn’t aware I had ADHD. Still, after my GCSEs, I discovered a passion for art and photography. My first experience with photography came in A-levels, where I studied fine art photography and media. I didn’t do great at A level, and I didn’t receive an ADHD diagnosis until 20. Before this, I attended college for a BTEC in art design and photography. I had the opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills in photography, studio work, and film, all while gaining a better understanding of the subject.

What were some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your young career, and how did you overcome them? Any advice for other upcoming photographers?

I struggled with self-doubt and imposter syndrome. I think it’s vital to acknowledge your feelings and see precisely where they are coming from, whether it’s a comparison or doubt in your abilities and what you think you’re capable of. I think it’s crucial to remember how much you love what you do and why you are doing it. You’re doing your work for yourself. The sooner you stop comparing yourself, the better.

On a different note, when did you first come across Capture One? What role does the software play in your workflow?

I started using Capture One at Ravensbourne, and it’s impressive in functionality. Been a game-changer for me in post-production and allows me to explore and experiment with my images. It opened a world of things that I didn’t know before. I particularly like creating my own presets, allowing me to develop a unique style and aesthetic in multiple images with less going over. The software’s export and import features have also been handy, making handling multiple files and organizing them into groups using the color tab and ratings effortless.

Finally, are you working on any exciting projects you want to tell us about?

I have an extended version of the ‘Expressions of Worship’ series with 50+ images that will be published as a book. A close friend of mine, Esther-Renee Walker, a writer, poet, and actress, has also provided musings on worship. I wrote my dissertation on young black boys and if preconceptions and society have stopped them from exploring themselves and finding their passions. Whether they have been able to follow what they’re passionate about or even find out what you’re passionate about. I have pictured young black men from different walks of life for a photo book on this and have interviewed them on their current careers, childhood, and their aspirations.

See more of Mary’s work on her Instagram and website.


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Capturing the punk with Capture One Live for mobile



Explosive energy, loud shouts, authentic voices, and forces of nature converge in the untamed world of live music events. When tasked with capturing the essence of the punk band Alien Chicks, photography students Nici Eberl, Pooja Dua, and Rudresh Arora from London College of Communications (LCC London) embarked on an exciting project that froze the intensity of punk in time. Their exploration of Capture One Live on mobile revealed new dimensions to their craft, pushing boundaries and unlocking the true essence of live music photography.




Entering the final semester of their MA in Commercial Photography at LCC London, the three students were faced with an exhilarating challenge: develop a concept for an on-location shoot and experiment with the capabilities of Live on mobile. Their goal was to showcase how this innovative tool could be seamlessly integrated into their photography practice.

Nici enthusiastically shares, “We were told to show how Capture One Live could be used in our photography practice. So, I thought, in the world of live music, the promoters, bands, PR folks, and magazines would love getting those on-stage photos while the band is still playing.”



Connecting as a team, Nici, Pooja, and Rudresh embraced their individual roles, each contributing their unique expertise. Nici, the designated hero photographer, fearlessly positioned herself at the heart of the action, capturing intense scenes as the band unleashed their wild energy on stage. Pooja, an expert in behind-the-scenes photography, preserved candid and vulnerable moments that unfolded during the shoots. Rudresh, known for his skillful video documentation, embarked on creating a final cutdown that showcased the dynamic essence of Alien Chicks. “While my primary focus is on portraits, I wanted to apply the same approach to my video work,” explains Rudresh.

Live music venues are notorious for their intense working environments. Navigating pulsating crowds and harnessing the electric atmosphere presents unique challenges for photographers. Undeterred, the team embraced a whirlwind of unpredictable moments. Rudresh, mostly experienced in staged shots, boldly dove into the spontaneity of live music with a hint of nervousness.

“Filming in that environment was intense. It’s dark, you know? But somehow, luck was on our side. The lighting magically fell into place, and it was just perfect,” he recalls.

Nici, a seasoned pro when it comes to live gigs, thrived in the electrifying atmosphere. Every challenge was an opportunity for her to capture vivid moments. She beams, “It was a wild, fun gig! I loved feeding off that energy.”

Pooja sheds light on the initial stress of tight deadlines and the crucial need for seamless teamwork. But through their unwavering support, they formed a bond that turned challenges into triumphs. Pooja reflects, “We kept telling each other, ‘You’ve got this.’ It became our mantra, and it helped us power through.”

One of the most exciting aspects of the project was the ability to hand the iPad to the band during the shoot. This allowed them to view the images live, providing immediate inspiration. Nici expressed her excitement about the iPhone app release, recognizing its potential as a game changer. She explained, “I think that is a game changer because everyone always has an iPhone in their pockets.”



Nici also shared a personal moment.. “I was shooting something else over the weekend in the middle of nowhere, and all I could think about was how cool it would be to have an iPad. I wanted to show the imagery immediately, but we had to wait hours until we got home. Editing in the moment is crucial because I want to bring out the captured essence and emphasize the image’s energy and emotion,” she says.

Shooting with Live on a mobile device helped enhance collaboration by enabling real-time shooting, seamless sharing, and instant feedback, all conveniently located in one place. The students could deliver the final shots more efficiently, even while on the move.

Pooja described the experience of working with the images on an iPad as astonishing. She shared, “ It was just the most insane thing watching it happen on an iPad. It’s a cool feature, and I think it will do a lot for the industry and become the new norm.”

Follow Nici, Pooja, and Rudesh on Instagram to see more of their work


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