a man in a striped shirt standing in front of a car

Spotlight

Creator Spotlight ft. Akash Tucker

06.17.22

Interview: Ajay Woolery

Media: Akash Tucker

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to chat with photographer and creative Akash Tucker. In our discussion he shared many anecdotes about the impacts of his childhood and early life on where he is now. Recently Akash released a photo book titled “Butterflies and Hooligan Sh*t. In it he documents his journey throughout the past few years with a variety of images made to capture his emotions at crucial moments in his life. In this feature we discuss his latest project and more.

AW:

Share a little about yourself and what you do…

AT: My name is Akash, I’m a photographer/director based in either Brampton or Toronto depending on who you ask. For work, I shoot fashion and music. For me, I document my experiences as a youth doing shit in the city. There are a lot of elements associated with my work: risk, chaos, endorphins, romance, honesty, imperfection, rough edges, vibrance, warmth, and a bunch more - so I just simplify it by saying my work feels like Butterflies and Hooligan sh*t.

AW:

What would you describe as the catalyst that led you towards photography?

AT: My parents’ divorce. I was struggling with my identity and trying to figure out how to recover from all my negative experiences with my dad. I was coping by hanging out with some bad influences and I ended up trespassing into buildings in hopes to see some beautiful skyline views. It was kind of an escape for me. I found out I had a knack for taking photos when I was up there on these rooftops trying to find cool angles and playing around with long exposures, and then I started taking photos when I was on the ground too. I noticed how happy it made me so I asked my mom, my grandma, and my aunt for a camera and they all pitched in and bought me my first camera, a Nikon d3200 with a kit lens.


AW:

Your book "Butterflies n Hooligan Shit" has just been released, what is the focus of the project? What does it mean to you?

AT: BHS is about the journey of figuring out where you belong. For me, growing up in an abusive household while moving around from country to country as a kid really messed with my head as an adolescent and as a young man. I didn’t grow up with healthy examples of relationships, love, and identity. I struggled with figuring out what to do with myself and where I belong in this world. I spent the last 6 years of my life figuring it out, my documentation with friends and family explores that journey of figuring out where I belong, and I hope that anyone else going through something similar can feel something or discover something about themselves when reading ‘Butterflies n Hooligan Sh*t’.

a man wearing a suit and tie in front of a tree
a man laying on a rug
a man wearing a yellow knitted hat

Work by: Akash Tucker

AW:

Each chapter in the book highlights a particular moment in your journey, What was your process like as you attempted to capture the feelings and mood of each period?

AT: I had to take a step back and look at all the prints laid out on the floor and see what I was feeling when I looked at the collective and I noticed 4 distinct feelings that lead me to 4 distinct names: the good old days, bye bye butterfly, just b4 dark, and gang activity. I named the chapters this way because it was just the most natural way for me to express those feelings and moments, it’s like when something clicks in your head and you don't really fully understand how you came to that conclusion but you did and you know its right.



AW:

How do you make the leap from idea to product?

AT: Step 1: Have good ideas. Step 2: test the market and see if they give a shit. Step 3: if they give a shit, study what goes into making a successful product in the niche you're looking at. Step 4: have the courage to actually make the product.


I say it like this because it really is the simplest breakdown of my process and how I made my book. Back in 2021, I did the same thing with Lightroom presets. I made a preset, posted a video on TikTok, got like 2 million views, and realized the market gave a shit. So I went and made more presets and taught people how to make them and then also gave them the opportunity to purchase them from my site if they didn't want to make the presets themselves. I think I had like 10-15 viral videos in 2021 and all of them were getting me sales on these presets. However, all of that stuff is irrelevant if you can’t commit to actually making the product. Ideas are cheap, executing those ideas is really hard and it takes a lot of time, energy, and discipline. If you don't have those traits, then your product is going to fail. Someone else who has those traits will come across the same idea and then actually go and execute it and you'll be left as one of those people that says “I could've done that too you know?”

a man sitting in a chair in front of a sign
a woman in a red jacket walking down the street

Work by: Akash Tucker

AW:

Who are some creative individuals you admire?

AT: My two favorite photographers without a doubt are Dudi Hasson and Daniel Arnold. Dudi has such an interesting perspective with the way he creates a juxtaposition with intimacy and alienation. I bought his book called “As Far As Close” and it's probably my favorite book that I own. Daniel Arnold feels like my generation’s Bruce Gilden, I relate to his fast-paced run-&-gun style shooting, it’s probably one of my favorite ways to shoot, you know? You just see something out the corner of your eye and quickly blast the flash off of your camera and move on, you have maybe 1-2 seconds to see a moment and capture it, and then it's gone forever. I like the narrative of that. Daniel Arnold’s photographs are really gripping, and if you haven't seen him or Dudi, you should go look them up.

a black and white film strip with a person in it
a black and white photo of a man sitting in a chair
a woman in a black top posing with her hand on her chin

Work by: Akash Tucker

AW:


What’s some advice you’d share with another young creative?

AT: If your goal is to be seen as an original creative: be really f**king honest, to the point where you are unapologetic to a fault about who you are. Some people will love that about you, and some people will hate that about you… but you’re not here to please everybody and make everybody like you, so you might as well attract the people that really f**k with you and leave the rest alone. When you get honest, with yourself and everyone else, it becomes really clear what kind of person you are… and understanding exactly what kind of person you are is step one in understanding what kind of artist you are, arguably the most important step.

a black and white photo of a man with a mustache

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