We had the good fortune of connecting with Braiden Wade and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Braiden, what matters most to you?
Being geuinue to others is a neccessity because a lot of people in life don’t come from the same background as you. Most people are just looking for a person or friend who is there for them and listens. I value being there for others and showing that I care because some people may have grown up around people who didn’t.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I first got into photography because of a moment involving my great-grandmother in my sophomore year of high school. My uncle handed me his camera at a family reunion and said “Take pictures of everybody.” I have never held a camera before this so I was a novice at taking pictures. However, I caught a rare moment of my great-grandmother smiling, gums, and all. The sunlight was hitting directly on her as she was surrounded by family. As a photographer, I want to connect with the people and genuinely get to know them as I take their photos. Connecting with someone outside of business leads to more genuine emotions and photos. Plus, I like to meet new people and get to know them. I got to where I am today because of asking if people needed their photos taken, people mentioning my name, and putting myself out there. It wasn’t easy at first because people didn’t see me as a great photographer to hire because of my age and how young I am. Compared to an older photographer who’s done photography for two years, they’re more likely to be chosen over me even though I have four years of experience. Now my work speaks for itself and people find me to speak to. What I’ve learned is that doing your research is important because natural talent can’t get you everywhere. I’m a natural at taking photos and being creative, however as I did more research on what tools to use and lenses, my work became even better. I want the world to know that I am a young black male, it is not many people that look like me that are professionally doing this. People I know do this as a side job or hobby. I am always looking to meet and connect with people first or as we do business.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
‘I woudl first take them to the downtown area to see the various coffee shops and places to see. On Monday we would head to this shop where this sweet elderly lady sells parogis and we would dine there. Then we would go thrift shopping in the downtown area. Tuesday we would go to Mizzou’s gym to work out and play basketball. Wednesday we would head to this place called Panchiro’s where you can make your own burritos. Thursday we would travel to The Big Tree and take photos and then head to Andy’s ice cream. Friday we would head to the Devil’s Icebox, which is a cave in Columbia. Saturday, we would rest and relax before their drive back home. Sunday they would leave.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I dedicate my success to everyone who has let me take photos of them or has supported me in my journey. I may not remember all the organizations however, I thank The Abolitionist Pledge for buying a photo from me and using it on their website. As well as Imprint news for giving me the exposure I needed in the Photojournalism field. I dedicate this shoutout to my great-grandmother, uncle, mom, brother, friends, and mentors alike. They have been supportive and have given me a lot of the practice that I needed. Thank you, Tre’von Williams for showing up and driving to every photoshoot I had, even when you were the only model. Thank you Nyla Green for being supportive from the beginning and continuing to push me forward. Thank you to the people at Mizzou I’ve met and have taken photos for. I also dedicate this to The Maneater photography team and the Missourian team. Lastly, I want to thank my cousin Kenneth Reed for putting my name out there and giving me this opportunity to give shoutouts.
Lianna Johnson David Bihomara Rosetta Hobson(Great Grandmother) Nyla Green