Great energy matched with a positive outlook on life help shape the foundation for photographer and creative director Saeed Ferguson's work. If you've ever gotten the chance to meet Saeed then it goes without saying that he's one of the most vibrant upbeat people you're ever going to come in contact with. The creative director and graphic designer for P's & Q's gave us a chat about his outlook on life, inspirations and how he got into photography in the interview below.
Bran: Just breezing through your instagram account, one can tell that you are a very positive person. I mean your bio says spread love. When we met in person those assumptions were confirmed. How much does positivity play a role on what you do?
Saeed: Thats just been my approach to life as far as I can remember. I'm really fortunate to have such an awesome family who raised me to appreciate life for all it's worth. They've always been there for me and have supported me since birth - how can I be mad at anything when I have them? I'm very fortunate for this and I want to share this energy and feeling with the world, I accept and appreciate people with open arms just like my family does for me - I don't believe in being pessimistic or in hating.
I guess to follow that question, what is it that you do?
I'm the manager and creative director of the Ps & Qs shops. I'm also a photographer and graphic designer who works as a freelancer from time to time.
When did you get into photography? When did you realize it was something that you were good at? What or who were some of your early influences in it?
My older brother gave me my first camera in 2010 as a way to get outside more and
to enjoy life. Before that I was really into gaming, like professional gaming lol, and
would spend so much time playing video games. I knew this was taking a toll on my
life and I wanted to change but didn't know how until my brother bought a camera -
it was a Nikon D3000 with the starter kit lens. Photography has since played a large
role in my life but it has only been in the last 6 months that I've seen it as a career
and something I want to do for the rest of my life. It took me nearly 6 years to figure
that out haha. When I first started I would just hang out with my friends in the city and take
pictures of them. My friends were also my biggest influencers and I would attempt
to shoot and see things from their perspective, you can see a lot of that stuff on my
old tumblr and flickr.
Do you have a favorite photo?
I don't have a favorite photo. I always think I can do better and challenge myself to
grow so I never really settle in on a favorite. There will be pictures that I think are
awesome during a time, but then 3 months might go by and I'll look back and I
think - "what was I doing?".
What inspires your work?
The opportunity to create something or to tell a story that can possibly inspire or
positively impact people keeps me going. It's also super fucking awesome to wake
up and have a job that allows me to creatively work with awesome people on cool
projects, it's all a dream really.
What are your style influences?
A lot of it comes from my shoots. I always strive to style things differently each time
I'm out on a shoot, sometimes it works out really well and sometimes it doesn't
work at all. For the times it really works, I'll maybe take that idea and incorporate it
in my personal style.
I went to a pop up for the most recent Paratodo collection and was really impressed with your message. How did the brand come about?
You guys are a brand with a message, which is rare to come across these days. In addition to the knowledge you guys put into your clothes, you also make them look good. Were there any difficulties tying the two together?
The idea for Paratodo was all really Francis Young's idea. I came onboard early on
and grew Paratodo up when it was mostly just an idea. I just really loved the
concept of the brand and really wanted to see it grow. I helped create everything
from the branding, the marketing, the event planning, the website, the designs, the
production - everything that is needed to launch a brand with a consistent and
purposeful aesthetic. However, I'm no longer apart of Paratodo and have left to
focus on other things, most importantly photography. No hard feelings or anything,
I just needed to move on. There might be more fashion and streetwear things
coming from me in the future.
You’ve had your hands in a lot working with different brands. What would you say has been most memorable thus far?
Ah man, that's a hard one. Being with Ps & Qs I really get to work with some
amazing brands - there's an awesome project in the works with Only NY that I'm
super stoked to share. Being able to work with the guys over at Carrots and
appreciate the photos I shot for their Summer collection was pretty rad. There's
some other sick stuff coming that I'm excited to share but I have to keep that all
under wraps haha.
Over the course of your travels, is there any place that's had more of an impact on you as opposed to others.
Ecuador. Ecuador changed the way I now see life. I got to witness poverty at a level
I only thought existed on television commercials. I got a chance to see how other
people outside the United States live and my eyes have been wide open since. I
thought I appreciate life before that trip, but I'm now realizing how fortunate and
lucky I really am.
Ecuador is such a beautiful and vibrant country too, it was such a pleasure and
enjoyment to photograph it - I didn't want to stop lol. It was there that I realized
that I wanted to focus on photography and really grow with it.
What is your advice to up and coming photographers/designers?
Find a way to make it happen. I always hear the same excuses: "I don't have the
money", "Philly sucks", "there's no market", "I have no time", "I'm not sure where
to start", "I don't have enough followers". If you really want it, go out there and
make it happen. If you don't believe in yourself and aren't confident in your own
ideas, why should anyone else be? Believe in yourself and create something of
value, everything else will follow.