Reshad H. is a St. Louis-based photographer who shoots “dreamy and colorful suburban work” thanks to his color-grading work in post. Reshad, who is one of the artists on the newly-launched ArtistSourced roster, was inspired by other photographers to take a new route with his work – resulting in the beautiful, color-rich shots seen below. Take a look through the gallery of his work and read our thorough interview with Reshad below.
You recently started shooting the “dreamy and colorful suburban work” that you’ve been sharing. Could you explain your process of creating these works? How much of the work is done in post?
A substantial amount of my work is done in post. I start out with my usual warm color grading style inside Lightroom. I’ve made different presets from previous photos so I normally use them as a base rather than having to start from scratch.
I feel as though I’m able to capture a dreamy feel just from manipulating the tones of an image but with certain scenes, I try and take it a step further by actually using a brush and manually coloring in objects such as bushes, windows, cars, etc.
While there is a lot of editing involved in my work, I rely on the actual raw being properly shot to begin with, with decent lighting, shadows, and framing. Yes the editing helps make my work pop, but I tell myself that you need a good foundation to start with before all the extras in post.
When you shoot the raw images, do you have a good idea of what you want them to look like once edited? Or is it all up in the air until you start experimenting with them?
There have definitely been occasions where I am taking photos with the idea in mind. Take my “Finding Home” set for example. I remember taking the images of the houses and then separate images of the sunset that same day thinking “if I combined these two angles together, it could turn out great.” Luckily, it ended up becoming one of my favorites at the time. However, for many other pieces, they came to be from experimenting. Heck, there are even times where I have an image I’ve already finished editing, and I completely rework it weeks later.
I would say I experiment on images just as much as I do create ideas beforehand. I think experimentation makes the process quite fun, because you never know what direction you can take an image until it’s finished.
What specific artists inspired you to switch up your style? And what/who are your greatest inspirations in general?
If I recall correctly, I think what made me want to try something new originally was seeing Grade Solomon’s work. I remember the level of detail in one of his photos and just how beautiful his tones were so I became obsessed with his work since. I didn’t really start taking photos the way I do just yet though, it wasn’t until I grabbed inspiration from artists such as Joey (@ijmillz on Twitter) and Dylan (@slate49 on Twitter) to where I started giving photos of houses a go.
Joey’s work is packed with emotion and beautiful colors. I remember asking friends if they had any idea how he shot his photos or how he manipulated color. I was constantly studying his work. Not only is his work absolutely breathtaking but he’s also an extremely supportive friend. And as for Dylan, his color grading really grabbed my attention from the start. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Every set from him seems like it could have been shot on another planet or dimension. You would be surprised how humble some of these talented artists are, which is great as they encouraged me immensely.
There are other artists that I highly respect such as Gregory Crewdson, Todd Hido, etc. – but I don’t take as much influence from them as I do from the previous artists I mentioned. I find these artists with low resources for their art to be a lot more relatable than someone who has budgets as high as Crewdson does, know what I mean?
How have you utilized social media to grow your following? What are the biggest benefits of Twitter in your opinion?
Originally I was posting online pretty casually but the moment that made me consider taking things more seriously was when one of my sets (yellow days) went semi-viral. Since that day I’ve tried posting every evening. I saw the dedication other photography friends of mine such as Will (@wgm_v) and John (@johncwingfield) had so I got inspired to follow that same work ethic. I’ve missed a few days but I’ve been trying to stick to it for the most part. That consistency has not only helped garner a greater audience but has also helped me improve my work tremendously. It’s pushed me to take photos and edit constantly.
And as for twitter’s benefits, if you’ve found the right community within it, it can be a very powerful platform to spread your work. The retweet function is a complete game-changer. I love the fact that art twitter culture is all about uplifting other artists through sharing other’s work.
I also think the formatting of posts on twitter is nice as well. You get to see a crop of all the photos posted before you even click and start swiping. I think seeing all the photos of a set as a whole gives a much stronger impression than swiping individual photos like you do on Instagram.
How did you come to be one of the few artists to sell prints on the new artistsourced.com site? What positives have come from that experience?
The creator reached out to me shortly after he launched the shop. This was great timing as I was looking for a new place to sell my work. The creator wants artistsourced to have a diverse set of artists for the best possible shopping experience and since there weren’t any photographers yet he wanted to bring me on board. I think he liked my experimentation with color and the consistency in my work.
Since the shop features multiple artists, shoppers can mix and match from multiple artists even if they came to the site solely for one so this not only allows the customer to get a variety of work but it also allows other artists on there to get a potential new fan/customer. I’ve also been able to get a little closer to some of the artists on the site which I’m happy with since I really look up to their work.
And finally, what’s your end goal as a photographer? What do you hope to be doing in 5-10 years?
I haven’t thought much about tangible goals in 5-10 years but one thing I would love to do is create enough of a cohesive set of work to make a book. Seeing and feeling your work physically in person with prints is an indescribable feeling, so having a book would really give the satisfactory feeling that I want from my work.
Over time, I’d like my artwork to have more solid and consistent concepts behind it. Right now, the ideas aren’t too complex (creating dreamy, nostalgic, or otherworldly scenes, etc), and I guess they don’t have to be too complicated, but I want to find more concrete ideas and push on those. This would surely help in creating a book one day. I am however happy that I’ve been able to create my own style and I want to keep improving on it.
Aside from a concrete goal such as a book, I want to inspire others to try something new with their artistic pursuits just as I was inspired by artists I previously mentioned. Far too often do I see artists with immense talent being afraid to try new things and I think it’s a shame. Don’t be afraid to create “weird” art, it’s helped me more than anything else.
Maybe in a few months from now, I might not even be taking photos of houses anymore. Who knows, I might not even be taking photos at all by then. I’ve been wanting to try 3d renders so I might even start digitally creating scenes rather than through photographs. I’m curious to see what I would be doing in 5-10 years but whatever it may be, I hope I’m happy with it and doing it with my own unique perspective.