Updated: Aug 31, 2019
Janaya Burke-Smith, popularly known as Janaya J, is a photographer & young created located in Boston, Massachusetts. Her presentation of brilliance and quality is reflected through everything that she creates, and it also reflects through the creatives she surrounds herself around with her incredible docu-series, “MEET THE CREATORS”. Her passion for lighting & angles was brewed at the innocent age of 14 and she has grown & developed into the creator that she is today with the love and support from friends, family, and inspiration from critically acclaimed names.
“I have been into photography since I was 14 years old.” Janaya begins to explain. “When I was in high school, we had something called 'project week' where students had a whole week to choose a specific activity to do instead of going to class. Because this was the year that Instagram had just become popular, I chose photography. I went into the project week with little to no knowledge about photography, but of course, I tried my best. My school provided me with a camera and Adobe Lightroom. Every time my friends saw the pictures that I took of them, they loved them which made me want to consider taking photography seriously.”
Receiving genuine love from close friends will push you to do anything imaginable. It is fueling to hear positive feedback from those who you are close with. Looking up to those who have acquired much notoriety and success in your passion is also another element of motivation.
“If it wasn't for [my friends], I wouldn't have even considered photography as my career. I am also truly inspired by photographers such as Chi Modu and Gunner Stahl because they capture the essence of rap culture. Rap culture played a big role in my photography career because when I first started taking pictures, my favorite thing to shoot was street photography. After a while, I started becoming more fascinated with editorial and commercial photography.”
Modu & Stahl are known for capturing timeless still moments of hip hop culture from two different generations. Their work is unlimited and so diverse in its uniqueness.
The creative process is so vital to a creative’s artistry and it is something you must pay close attention to and work to develop and increase. Ironically, Janaya knows how to pay very careful attention to detail.
“When it comes to creating something new, I always base my work off of feeling and emotion,” Janaya says. “My process always starts off with me writing down my feelings in a notebook and then coming up with a photoshoot concept based off of what I have written down. If I'm feeling sad, I may want to shoot my muse in an isolated location with a monochromatic outfit. If I'm feeling energetic, I may want to shoot candids with my muse during the day time when the sun is out. It really all depends on my mood.”
Janaya J was introduced to