Another quick profile piece with Arizona photographer, Tom Cly but better known as StreetKeeper. Check out the profile to see how he got started, what an average day looks like for him, what Pulp Fiction has done for him creatively and more.
What is your name and what do you do?
My name is Tom Cly and I am a photographer from Chandler, Arizona.
Where are you from and how has being there affected your creativity?
I’m originally from New Mexico, Four Corners area, but I live in Chandler, Arizona now. Honestly, living in New Mexico really didn’t inspire me at all, it wasn’t until I moved to Arizona where living in a big city motivated me to get my life going in some direction. Just the vibes from the people I met and adapting to the city life where people were a little more open and inviting, it was intriguing.
Explain what initially got you into shooting?
Well, I was getting an oil change on my car at the time and I was sitting in the lounge waiting for my car to be serviced. I looked around the room and noticed a HUGE print on the wall of a blacked out Dodge Charger burning out. The smoke from the tires and the motion blur really brought me in and I was hooked from there. I was determined to capture that such image so I picked up my brother’s camera that he wasn’t using. So automotive photography was my thing for the first year and half until I eventually transitioned into portrait work.
Explain what does an average day look like for you?
An average day, usually starts with waking up and connecting my phone to my beats pill to get ready to. I usually have my 9-5 job I work or I’m off shooting around the valley. So I’m either at work wishing I was out shooting or I’m shooting with the beautiful people of Arizona. But between all of that, there’s scheduling, emails, scouting location and most importantly, EATING! 🙂
What things do you look at or watch for inspiration?
I’ve always found my inspiration to stem from music because every song has its story which I use to translate my ideas into images. Music videos are a great source for me because I’m very particular about my music so whatever I’m watching, there’s always something to feed off of.
What is a quote or motto that you live by?
I’ve always believed in karma and being considerate, whatever you put out into the world is exactly what you’re going to get back. Love what you do and it’ll take care of you.
What camera setup do you currently use (camera, lens, other accessories, etc)?
I use my Canon 5D Mark III with a Sigma Art Series 35mm f/1.4 and Beats Pill.
What do you specialize in or what do you enjoy shooting the most and why?
I would say lifestyle portraits, meeting new people is always so exciting because you never know what’ll come out of it. I love shooting portraits because it allows us to express ourselves and for people to feel brave and beautiful in front of the camera for everyone to see. It allowed me to work with a clothing brand from New York City which fueled the desire to work with fashion brands like Stussy or Supreme.
Since we believe that music is the center around all things creative, what are your top 3 music albums, and what about those albums that gets you in a creative zone?
Californication by RHCP, Endtroducing by DJ Shadow and OPUS by Eric Prydz. Californication was the first CD I ever bought and I loved it from beginning to end. I heard the track “Midnight in a Perfect World” off of Endtroducing and I fell in love, I can’t put into words how it makes me feel but it definitely serves a great purpose. I can play that song and totally vibe out while editing and it makes the process that much smoother and fun. Eric Prydz’s music is more relaxing and progressive. The vibes from this album just help to create better images in my head because I feel more calm and in control.
Who are some shooters that you follow and what do you admire about their work?
I follow 13th witness, Van Styles, 1undred, jjudelee, trashhand, Evan James Atwood, Lear Miller and Swopes. They’re all different individuals with different flows so I heavily respect what they’re doing. I have mad love and respect for those guys, just check their work and you’ll see that they all have their own style. It teaches individuality and freedom with your work.
What is one tangible piece of advice that you would give somebody who has just started shooting? (besides shooting more)
Don’t worry about negativity and just do you because at the end of the day, you’re all you have so impress yourself. Always study your own work and try different techniques, you’d be amazed at what you can get by stepping out of your comfort zone.
Random Question: What is your favorite movie of all time?
I went 22 years without watching Pulp Fiction and I finally watched it, it’s a great film. It’s hard to narrow it down when you have Kill Bill, The Boondock Saints, the Dark Knight movies and Space Jam.
What is next for you?
What’s next is more music festivals and traveling, I should be trying to focus on my career but I’m only 23 so I’m just getting by and doing what makes me happy. But just know I’m headed in the right direction to where I’m suppose to be and I love where I’m at. What’s next is the Escape Psycho Circus which is an EDM festival in San Bernardino so it’s almost time to rave.
Where can people find you?
You can find me in good ole Arizona or social media so just look me up and reach out to me! Search “streetkreeper” and you’ll find my website or Instagram! Happy shooting! 🙂