Maker Monday: An Aspire Exclusive Interview With Reed Davis

Lifestyle, food, and culture are what make up the basis of photographer Reed Davis’ breathtaking perspective. His sophisticated and alluring imagery has allowed him to work with household name brands like Pottery Barn, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom, while also traveling the world to Africa, Asia, Europe and beyond. Davis’ powerful eye behind the lens led him to Lagos Fashion Weeks where he was immersed in the bright and beautiful African culture. After spending much time overseas, nurturing relationships and discovering new talents, aspire design and home is excited to announce his new column “Voices of Africa,” where Reed will introduce us to African designers and give us exclusive behind-the-scenes access to his incredible photoshoots.

Andrew Joseph: What’s something you always travel with?
Reed Davis: I have this cute little heavy Herve Chapelier bag that I love to keep all my travel essentials in. I have my eye drops, my homeopathic remedies for time travel on the plane, small container of lavender water to keep me calm in case of emergency, backup aspirin, a couple of Band-Aids (of course,) an Imodium and a Benadryl, some hand sanitizer, a little homeopathic calendula gel, and tiny atomizer of cologne… Diptyque is my favorite brand and I always have a breath mint.

Andrew: Are you a good cook? If so, what’s your specialty?
Reed: I am considered a very good cook. Being vegetarian for the last 20 years, I often enjoy finding dishes from around the world. I’m currently enjoying African food and my newest obsession has been making Ewa oloyin, a Nigerian bean dish that I learned from my favorite chef in San Francisco, Simi of Eko kitchen.

Andrew: How would you describe your personal style?
Reed: I tend to think of my personal style as very graphic and colorful. I love the contrast of black and white while mixing in bright elements of color. I recently renovated my apartment in New York with concrete tile from Clay in San Francisco. They had a beautiful black and white basketweave pattern that worked out perfectly for my space. When I added my vibrant photography from Africa, along with my collection of artifacts for my travels I get to remember the wonderful times I’ve had while also being surrounded by beautiful things.

Andrew: What’s inspiring you in life (in the industry) right now?
Reed: Something that’s inspiring me right now it’s all the creativity around sustainability. The fact that we can find ways of making and doing things in an eco-conscious way is so amazing. It’s also a wonderful thing to realize and take stock of tradition in the way things are made. The traditional way of making something is usually the sustainable way of creating it. So I have to say, all of the creativity around textile production manufacturing and design are really exciting and inspiring right now.

Captured above is the bold purple dress from clothing brand Busayonyc.

Andrew: A book that everyone should read?
Reed: One of the books I love to go back to time and time again is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The amazing wanderlust and patience the story teaches never ceases to enlighten me. Every time I read it it’s a new adventure

Andrew: Favorite Youtube channel for at-home DIYs?
Reed: OMG I became obsessed during quarantine with this channel DownShiftology, the host’s meal prep and storage container game was everything and beyond.

Reed Davis encapsulated the mysterious energy of Deven Green. The details from makeup, wardrobe, and the effects of shadows all join together to create this effortless look. MU: Joseph Adivari; Fashion: Debakalis by John Sakalis and Eddie DeBarr.

Andrew: Which notorious shut-in are you identifying with more these days: Edie Bouvier from Grey Gardens (holding and disheveled) or the Beast from Beauty and the Beast (dressed up and misunderstood)?
Reed: Hahahahahaha love that question… I’m always Edie with a tiny bit of the Beast (I say the Beast mainly because I’m in dire need of a mani-pedi)

Andrew: What did you rediscover about yourself during COVID?
Reed: I guess the most positive thing I rediscovered about myself is how creative and persistent I am. When it comes to getting things done and when I put my mind to something, I can really get anything accomplished. Even if it’s just one little step at a time.

About The Maker | Reed Davis’ alluring photographic style and intuition is inspired. Over the years Reed has explored and collaborated with numerous international brands, corporations and advertisers, rejuvenating their vision while respectfully representing and bringing to light situations to our world today. Reed’s sophisticated eye has been created through years of collaborating with celebrities, actors, models, chefs, as well as photographing interiors, home decor, culinary delicacies, fashion, portraits, lifestyle, events and corporate manufacturing.

In Reed’s newest endeavor, alongside photographer and artist Aize Muhammed Paul Esq., the duo planned a trip to Kenya, and embarked on an ambitious project: travel across Africa, meet creatives, photograph local brands and create magic.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for aspire design and home magazine. See more of his work here.

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