Giovonni Dodd is a photographer living and working in Greenville, South Carolina. His work focuses on the lesser-known streets, alleys, and communities of the area around him as in his District 25 series that focuses on the people of South Greenville.
How did your interest in your medium begin and how did you arrive at your current style?
I was trying to start a style and menswear blog, and I had my two friends who would take pictures for me. The two photographers Will Crooks and Justin Nix. Will was running a street style blog at the time and Justin was exclusively shooting film. I was trying to emulate stylistically what Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs were doing with Street Etiquette creating photo stories that involved fashion. One night Will and I were shooting at a little place on North Main named The Soda Shop, we were outside using the window light from the store connected to it to take portraits. Will's focus started to act up because of the low light, and I asked if I could hold the camera. This was the moment that changed my life, I took my first portrait with a DSLR and began my journey as a photographer.
How do you feel about the relationship of an artist to their city or surroundings?
Our surroundings make up our community. Our community directly and indirectly affects our person molding and shaping us. We are our surroundings.
How do you choose your subjects?
Some invisible connection that you can't see but can feel.
Who have been some of your biggest influences or your best teachers?
Of course Will and Justin. Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs with their Street Etiquette movement influenced my early work. My instructor Zane Logan definitely helped me perfect my skills, and most importantly taught me how to print. Todd Hido and Edward Weston have work that inspire me. Joey L, Ken Herman, and Nick Fancher are kings of lighting. Katie Fenske's use of light and composition in her landscapes and environmental portraits are on another level. Then I get a lot of inspiration from the Baroque, Renaissance, and Byzantine art movements. Last bust not least, music is the number one inspiration.
Do you have a creative or artistic peer group in your area that you're a part of?
Yeah, the city of Greenville has a great collective of artist of all types. I don't exclude myself to one group though. I'm an introvert that happens to know a lot of people so that causes an interesting mix of interactions.
Where do you go to draw inspiration?
Music. The energy it gives inspires most of my creation.
Do you feel creatively satisfied?
This is the one question you should never ask any artist.
Tell me about a recent, current, or upcoming project or exhibition.
Last year I made a book consisting of photos from my Heat of the Night series. By the end of the summer I want to have a second book done made of my D-25 work that I will be showing on the account. Along with the book, I'd like to have a show that let people experience the photos and community that's documented in them. D-25, District 25, or South Greenville is the community I was raised in. The series starts off documenting my family and branches off into the surrounding places that mold and shape me as a person and artist.