By Imani Wj Wright
Special to AFRO
Deciding your career path isn’t always the easiest thing. In our early years, there are several occupations we hear about so often that they almost become cliches. Some of those occupations include being a doctor, lawyer, or an athlete. So, when I see people who succeed in somewhat avant-garde mediums, I tend to wonder what made them decide to pursue that line of work, and, essentially, that way of life?
Dominique Fiteu, better known as Domfits, is a 21-year-old film photographer from Maryland, and a prime example of someone going out on a limb and creating their own lane. Domfits already boasts an impressive portfolio including work with Grammy-nominated artists like Brent Faiyaz and GoldLink, along with international respected models like Aweng Chuol.
Washington D.C. native and Grammy nominated artist, Gold Link backstage at Jimmy Kimmel (Photo by Domfits)
When asked whether or not film photography was ever spoken about in his household, Domfits responded: “Growing up, my house was mainly soccer and music. Photography wasn’t spoken about at all. There was a manual film camera in my house that I played with once a week, but I never had any passion to pursue photography as a child.”
Ironically Domfits enrolled in a film photography class at Dematha high school, where he also played high-level soccer, but dropped the class after three days, describing it as “too much.” He later went on to play soccer at Lycoming University, but broke his ankle the first day of practice. It left him with an abundance of free time, and eventually leading him to pick up the film camera from his home and begin photography.
Lucas Ballard, a contributing AFRO photographer described Domfits’ work as “movie like,” and that it “creates the mood of a soirée.”
“If I’m in the studio, I typically have on chill music. I talk a lot. So, after about 20 minutes of preparing for the shoot, you feel like you’ve known me for some time. I break the ice, we’re cool. That’s step one. I always direct the poses I like, but I pay attention to everyone’s body language. I like nostalgic, nonchalant photos and postures. If you’re messing around with your hair while you’re waiting for me to do something, or moving your body in a certain way and I see that it’s nice- I’ll stop you right there.” Domfits explained.
Influential men and figures in my life, like my father, James Baldwin and Sean Yoes have all emphasized the importance of traveling and seeing the world. That is something I’ve always gravitated to, so I wanted to know how experiencing life in other states and other countries has influenced Domfits.
“Working in different countries has definitely opened my eyes in regards to style, different cameras, and culture, of course. Going to other countries especially helped how I view beauty, and how I pick my models.” Domfits expressed.
He also shared some advice for young entrepreneurs and creators, “…Until I was 18 was all I knew. I got injured, found another passion, and I went full out with it. A lot of people told me it wouldn’t work out. Three to four months in, I was shooting shows for fashion week. I couldn’t even name 10 brands at that time. I haven’t stopped since, it’s been two years.”
Domfits continued saying, “Anything is possible, it’s just not possible for everyone of course. What you want to do is possible, so do it. Don’t worry about family judging you or any of that. Especially if you manifest, whoa, it’s going to work out.” You can follow Domfits on Instagram @Domfits, but, in the meantime, stay virtuous, stay idealistic, and stay progressive.
Imani Wj Wright is a journalist, musician, and designer from Baltimore, Md.