Meet LaMica Carter

LaMica Carter is a photographer, designer and creative director. She  finds herself playing lots of roles within the creative process. Some days she’s focused on creating concepts, some days, she’s sewing garments and hot gluing pearls and crystals on accessories. There are times when she’s also designing props, doing set design or hair and make up. If she had to sum it up in one word, she’d call herself an artist. The medium frequently changes but the need for creative expression remains. Photographs only capture a small part of what she does. From start to finish, she has to be creative, precise, and patient, it requires a tremendous amount of presence. She notes that no two days are alike.

Carter has been creating her entire life. From drawing, dancing, painting, braiding, doing nail designs, to cutting up old clothes; she was fortunate enough to be able to explore so many ways to create. She has had a camera since she was about five years old. She recalls her mother also loved taking pictures and wanted to be just like her. Growing up, she’d watch her while she worked and sometimes she would sneak into the dining room and read the photography books she borrowed from the library. She wasn’t allowed to touch her expensive camera unless she was handing it to her. She remembers owning her own Kodak digital camera which she loved, she was convinced she was the only one who used the family camera.

After college, Carter ended up with her mothers camera and a few of her tulle fabric. She fell in love immediately.

Carter formally chose photography in 2012. She would take pictures of everything from her nieces to cereal boxes. At first, she admits she did not know how to turn on the camera. It was months before she figured out how to stop her pictures from not focusing. Her love for photography shows her the possibility of bringing her ideas to life exactly how she envisioned them. She is passionate about every aspect of her process and hopes it is recognizable through her work. She loves tending to the details,  the feeling of coming up with a new idea, and even the anxiety she sometimes feels when it’s time to share what she has created. She knows she’s passionate about it because she has tried to walk away several times, and only comes back better and more excited to work. She loves being able to share her point of view with the world through the lens of a camera. 

Carter is passionate about creative direction, she enjoys curating hair styles, make up, props, lighting and wardrobe. Each piece is special to her because they work hard to add to the story that she is telling in her  work. She is able to collect different skills over time and each one has proven to be useful on her journey. Carter creates because she is passionate about self expression. It’s helped her heal. Through photography, she has the freedom to express who she is and decide who she wants to be. She is  not always the most verbally expressive person, she found that it is easier for her to show how she feels or felt about something through photography...it is her way of communication and escape, as well as a safe place.

Carter has dealt with plenty of obstacles, some have come in the form of doubts and criticism from people who were close to her, questioning why she’s striving so hard for her passion. She has had to block out the loud negative noises over the years. Above all, she has found that the biggest obstacle has been herself. She has held herself back more than any other obstacle she’s encountered. She dealt with the internal battle of not allowing herself to grow, the resistance of investing in equipment, hesitation when it comes to learning more technical aspects, and every once in a while, allowing self doubt to creep in.

Meditation has helped her to recognize her own voice and to recognize when she’s being influenced by someone else’s fears. Learning to be mindful of who she has around her, especially during her creative phases, being able to  recognize when she’s being fearful, and learning to move past those fears quickly. 

One other outlet she utilizes is journaling as a way of reflecting on previous photoshoots, emotions and plans going forward. Writing has been the most helpful throughout her life. Writing also challenges her to be aware of her perspective and to change her outlook on how her work will be received. Changing gears from her thought processes of  “what if they don’t like it?” to “what if they love it and want to collect art pieces?” She admits It's been a challenge to fully embrace her differences but is grateful that she has. 

Carter expressed that she has a few people in her life that keep her together, reminding her that it's okay to be herself. Oftentimes, also reminding her to sometimes eat, because when working diligently she tends to skip meals due to being hyper focused, excited or stressed. Her friends and family tend to be her gauge of when she needs to recharge and take a break.

Her community also inspires her to keep going. She’s grateful for the memes, comments, jokes, and stories that they share with her. For Carter, It’s humbling and sometimes surreal, being able to get the many messages encouraging her to keep going. 

Her dream is to create a legacy that inspires people to take action. To build something for themselves, a unique expression of who they are and their perspective. Her goal is to have several successful businesses going, while still taking the time to create art. Being able to have her work featured in magazines, in her favorite stores, and in galleries would be an accomplishment she hopes to achieve. 

We asked LaMica Carter what Valiance means to her, 

“To me, Valiance resonates as tenacity. Intentional rebellion. It takes a certain level of tenacity to create from a place of vulnerability, and I challenge myself to tell my story in a way that doesn’t leave me feeling powerless. In a world that is hesitant to freely share their authentic selves, it is bold to create from the heart and share it with people who may or may not get it.” 

Check out more creative works by LaMica Carter @luhmykuh