The children are leading!
17-year-old Sterling Chandler just made history as the youngest photographer to have their work featured in British GQ, CelebMix reports.
Chandler’s parents encouraged him to pursue photography, eventually getting the co-sign from a family friend that motivated the teen to keep going and save up money for a camera. Last year, he purchased that camera and began running social media for a music initiative called Love Record Stores. The initiative brought in more than 1 million euros for record shops in the UK. It helped Sterling parlay his career into even more broad avenues. His work featured in publications such as The Independent, BBC News, an assistant director credit for a mini film series with Gucci for Dazed and now, GQ Magazine.
“I started off experimenting taking photos with an old iPhone I was given, and my mum and dad encouraged me to pursue it after seeing some things I’d done, and it just grew from there. Then a few years ago, family friend photographer Lawrence Watson saw some of my pictures and was very encouraging, and since then, I continued exploring it, investing time and energy,” Chandler told reporters.
That time and energy led the London native to secure gigs with popular musicians, including The Specials, Che Lingo, and Universal Music Group artists specializing in photography and digital marketing. Now, Chandler’s work has been included in the January/February 2021 issue of British GQ Magazine and the GQ Men of The Year Awards virtual ceremony. Just 16 during the shoot, Chandler’s images sit alongside other award-winning photographers, including Misan Harriman, the first Black man to shoot a British Vogue cover.
Chandler photographed Patrick Hutchinson, who received the GQ Men of The Year “Humanitarian Award” after being photographed this summer during a Black Lives Matter rally in London, holding a counter-protester over his shoulder to keep him from harm. His heroic actions became a national symbol for equality.
Photo Courtesy of @SterlingChandler/Instagram
In addition to his photographic work, Chandler is also an ambassador for People Dem Collective (PDC), an initiative focused on media inclusion for Black, brown, and diaspora communities. Chandler’s opportunity with GQ came after director Tom Dream and People Dem Collective noticed his work with The Specials from a gig they did in 2019.
“I’m very pleased to be a People Dem Collective ambassador. It’s fantastic because it brings you into contact with professionals from all the creative industries. Just to have the experience of spending time and working with them is enlightening and informative and has helped me to grow. It’s exciting PDC have set up here in the UK, and the collaborative opportunities and experiences they are opening up for young talent, particularly for under-represented Black talent and young people, is extremely valuable,” Chandler said.
To follow Sterling Chandler’s work, click here.