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Life & Work with Naomi Ivy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Naomi Ivy.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My interest in photography started as a little girl. My grandfather was a photographer and took most of our family’s portraits and he kept obituaries of deceased relatives.

I would look through those albums for hours and be fascinated by the ability to freeze time and capture a moment.

From then on, I took pictures with whatever I could: disposable cameras, my Nintendo DSi, my mama’s old Motorola Razr, whatever. I didn’t get my hands on an actual camera on my eighth-grade trip.

My close friend and damn near mentor, Arie Bagsby (RIP, I miss you), let me use his Nikon D3200, and ever since then, I fell completely in love with the art of photography. I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew it fulfilled me.

Fast forward to about a sophomore year of high school, I had a dilemma: I was BROKE AS HELL. At that same time, Arie was selling that D3200, and I had to get it.

I started doing peoples’ finals for money and I didn’t sleep for days on end. I finally got the bread to get the camera and he tells me: “fam, just do my finals and it’s yours”. A few days later, the camera was (and still is) mine. I took it everywhere with me. I joined the yearbook and overall, I started developing a reputation for being cold with a camera.

That reputation followed me from high school to Tuskegee and back to St. Louis where I began collaborating with other talented creatives. I have been blessed to have built a small but expanding network and that’s how I got to where I am today.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has been far from smooth but it was to be expected. Nothing worthwhile comes easy. I’ve encountered many struggles simply by existing as a Black woman who stands at several intersections of identity.

Another struggle was gaining the confidence to stand in my truth and pursue photography as a career. Going to school for something STEM-related was something that was always drilled into my brain by society and the education system.

My creativity was not nurtured so once I got to the point of wanting to be creative, I was lost. I didn’t have any direction and I didn’t have any confidence.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a photographer who specializes in portraits, photojournalism, and editorial photography. I coined myself “the ghetto archivist” and I find that fitting because I’m known for capturing moments that I feel are historical.

Kind of a modern, fashionable twist to photojournalism. What I am most proud of is the photo series I did during the Cherokee Cinco de Mayo Street Fest. I feel like what sets me apart from others is my ability to spot the beauty in every human that graces my lens.

I don’t see imperfections, only unique features. Crooked smiles, lazy eyes, freckles, hyperpigmentation, scars. All that stuff is beautiful to me.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
I feel like my integrity has been and will continue to be most important to my success. Integrity and maintaining sincerity in my interactions with people have gotten me to places and spaces that my skills alone would not have.

There’s no shortage of talent here but there’s definitely a shortage of talent that’s humble and ethical. I’m a firm believer that your name is your collateral.

You can have all the talent in the world but if nobody can vouch for your character, what good does that talent do?

You can only get so far being just talented. That integrity is what gives people, clients, or whoever a glimpse of your soul and who you really are as a person.


  • $50 Friday Shoots
  • $100 Studio Shoots
  • $75 Regular Portrait Shoots

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