Jeremy Cowart & Steph Grant Chat
Exactly a year ago this month I flew to Nashville, TN. I picked up some bagels and coffee from the Frothy Monkey and drove into Franklin, TN to Jeremy’s new studio to sit down with him and hang out. This was back when the Promote Love Movement was just an idea and all I wanted to do was meet people & hear their stories. So I had this crazy idea to email a few of my biggest inspirations, fly to them if they responded and just talk with them.
This morning I was sitting in a coffeeshop reflecting on the last year and how quickly it had flown by. I then found myself wiping away tears while watching Jeremy’s new video “I’m Possible” [posted below.] One of my favorite quotes from the video is, “Don’t aim for greatness and stop there. Greatness should serve a greater purpose.” It was so incredible to see him follow through with his idea for the Purpose Hotel…a dream he told me 1 year ago terrified him to the max. This video moved me. No matter who you are, what you do for for work or where you are in life….watch this and be inspired. Here is a quick Q&A with Jeremy from last year:
Biggest mentor and best advice you got from them:
I haven’t had many mentors but I had one early on that was more so just a friend. He told me that I should quit my job tomorrow and he was also the first guy that said I should buy a camera. I owe a lot to him. He was a huge part of the success.
Highest/lowest point in your career so far:
Highest: Right now in this moment. I have a lot of momentum. I’m doing a lot of projects that I’m passionate about. A lot of people see me as seasoned but I feel like I am just getting started. There were extreme highs with Help Portrait. Raising good children is certainly a high for me personally. The Haiti project was extremely fulfilling. The celebrity stuff is really cool but it’s not a high for me it’s just part of my job. I feel like right now I am having more fun than I’ve ever had.
Lowest: There are always lows in this career. It’s such a cliche analogy but it really is like a rollercoaster. There are times when no work is coming in. No one is calling. No money is being made and you’re doubting everything. That still happens. People think I’m slammed all the time but I actually shoot less frequently than ever now. Your confidence is always going through extreme lows but then there are the highs too that you have to look forward to.
What piece of advice would you give to a photographer/artist who was just starting out:
These days I’d say you need to stop comparing your life to everyone else’s on social media. That’s by far the most common and easiest temptation…to look at everybody else and wonder why you’re not doing what they’re doing. Put the phone down and stop comparing. Everybody has to start somewhere. If I can do this so can you. I had absolutely no confidence when I first started…it was one day at a time for me. You really have to ask yourself “what do I have to say?” versus “how can I take better pictures?” because it’s not just about good photography anymore it’s about YOUR voice. You don’t need to live in the big cities and have all of the best gear; therefore, you don’t have to have a lot of money to do this. You need a unique voice. There are endless stories about photographers and artists who did a lot with very little. Those are the people you should be looking to. Do something interesting that others would gravitate towards and connect with. Anything is possible.
Tell me about some upcoming projects.
First, an online school called See University…we filmed 100 videos on literally EVERYTHING I know. I’m in this process of documenting everything. It launches next month. I haven’t talked about it at all so it’ll definitely be a surprise.
What is a go to song while editing:
Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave (One of my brothers wrote it and my other brother performed it.) and of course, anything by TLC.
Favorite story that sticks out in your mind about someone you met in an airport.
I was on a flight and behind me was the rap group G Unit…50 cent and his whole entourage. I had my big camera on the floor next to me and he started asking me about it. We ended up doing a photoshoot right there on a flight 30K feet in the air.
How did you get back into every day life after losing your brother?
Just knowing that my brother was a happy, positive person…he’d be really down if we were all depressed about his passing. He would want us to move on. I grieved really hard for the first month…like I did nothing else but grieve. Ever since then I have been fairly stable. He left a beautiful legacy and I am doing my best to honor that.
If you weren’t a photographer what else would you be doing?
Photography has never really felt like my passion. I’m passionate about it but more so I am passionate about ideas and creativity. Photography is one of the tools to express that. I really love music…I used to play guitar a lot and just recently (after 10 years of not playing) I finally picked it up again. Fine art and painting…I think eventually I’d like to return to that. If I had 9 lives I would’ve loved to be a drummer, a hip hop dancer or a surfer. All of those things have the common element of freedom.
What is one thing on your bucket list that you have yet to do and what’s stopping you?
There is this massive idea that I have. I am usually not afraid of ideas but this is a really big one that I’d like to pursue but I am terrified of it. I have had it in my head for 2 years now but it’s a whole different world and life. It’s in the dreaming and brainstorming phase right now. The idea is to build a hotel chain. Basically where everything in the hotel is connected to non profits. Every room would be sponsoring a child.
“Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.” – Picasso
So many people just want to skip to breaking the rules like an artist but you can achieve more if you actually know how to do everything. Learn it all and then throw those rules out the window and become yourself through that process.
How do you want the world to remember you when you die?
I think about that a lot…obviously, with the passing of my brother. It’s more about how do I want my kids to remember me. I hope my kids see my love for Jesus, my passion for what I do and that fact that I am using it to do better things besides amplifying myself and shooting more celebrities. I hope that resonates with them and they do the same. Hopefully they see me leading with my life and not with my words.