February is Black History Month, and I recently had the privilege to be featured on Focus Camera’s Wavelength Blog as one of 3 New York City-based African American/African Diaspora photographers, who contribute to New York’s thriving artistic community. Check out my portion of the interview below — and for the full feature, featuring me and the other incredibly talented Black photographers, check out it out, here:
William Ruben Helms
The mind behind The Joy of Violent Movement, William Ruben Helms is an independent blogger and photographer who covers, among other things, the musical “styles of Africa, hip-hop, punk rock, post punk, heavy metal, psych rock, indie rock, folk, country, Latin music, [and] soul.” A photographer for over 15 years, his eclectic tastes (partially influenced by growing up in Queens, “arguably one of the most diverse places in the entire world”) drive him to document a wide variety of artists.
After working with various editors on stories ranging from nightlife to literature, Helms went live with The Joy of Violent Movement in June 2010 to cover a greater swath of musical talent from across the U.S – and in New York’s music scene, specifically. “I had a falling out with an editor over covering someone, who I thought was worthy [of being covered] – and that the editor, for some reason, didn’t get or appreciate,” he says. “And I realized that personally, I never wanted to have that conversation or argument ever again; that it was time for me to go out on my own and cover whatever I wanted with my own take.” Full of grace, beauty, and (yes) some violent movement, Helms’ stills and video are evocative, emotive portraits of artists in motion.
Gear of Choice: “I’m currently shooting with a brand new Canon 77D, which I’m still learning, and admittedly, it’s a massive upgrade from the Canon T1i I had been shooting with for the bulk of The Joy of Violent Movement’s history. In terms of lenses, I’m shooting primarily with a Canon 28-70mm f/2.8 – and while it doesn’t give me the type of zoom of my old 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6, it’s a pretty good all purpose, all conditions lens with a decent aperture size. I’ll use a 50mm whenever I’m in some extremely dark or smoke machine-filled room. I have a beaten up 70-300mm that I’ll use to create some great close ups with a gentle blurred background – or when I’m far away from my subject for some reason.”