Humans of Hofstra: Patrick Avognon Jr.
Art and humanity have always been enticing for Patrick 'Maverick' Avognon Jr. Avognon, a junior public relations major, enjoys creating visuals, writing music, making films and any other artistic outlet he finds himself drawn to. One of his favorite ways to showcase his love for art is through his photography.
Avognon began photography while editing for his school newspaper. One of his advisors noticed he had a creative eye, so she encouraged him to pick up a camera and shoot photos to compliment his stories in the paper. “The funny thing is, when I did that, the photos were pretty terrible. Maybe only once or twice did the photos I took actually make it into the paper, but that's when I developed an interest in photography,” Avognon said.
Avognon has studied the art of photography ever since. His love for photography blossomed during his sophomore year of college. While working on the speech team at Bradley University, he was able to capture photos that ultimately made him think of photography from a storytelling aspect. “I always want to not only show people through their best light, but also their honest light – this is what drove my passion. I just started doing photography for myself.”
Avognon enjoys shooting people who capture his attention. “I’m always thinking about people who I can see an audience for. Back in Illinois when I photographed fitness gurus, that's how I got into physique photography, and already I could see what the audience was there,” he said. “When I moved back to L.A., I did not shoot fitness models nearly as much because everyone in L.A. [is] not doing fitness modeling. I met a few really cool models and I started to branch out to other types of photography. I enjoy photographing people with very unique features – people who don't look like anyone else. When I see someone and they catch my eye, I like to study them for a while and figure out what has caught my eye about this person specifically.”
Avognon’s curiosity about human features and the art he can make from them is shown throughout his work. He pays attention to detail and captures whomever may be in front of his lens in an artistic and raw light.
As Avognon’s photography became more in-depth, he realized the photos he takes do not have a specific photography style, which he greatly appreciates. “You can see on my Instagram, or my portfolio, that my work is very inconsistent – it's always good, but [with] a lot of photographers you can look at their photos and tell that they shot that; I sort of found a sense of pride in none of my work looking exactly like something else I've done and it's sort of cool to me. When I pick up a camera, I am not thinking what I was thinking the last time I picked up this camera,” he said.
Avognon stated that as a photographer he’s accepted he cannot achieve his full potential of work on his own, so he collaborates with many different stylists and visual artists for his shoots. “As I start[ed] to get more into fashion photography, I realized that you have to work with people who understand fashion. I’ve been working with [a] stylist since last spring, and almost all of my shoots have had some sort of stylist or outside help,” he said. “Honestly, it's become more helpful for the visual aspect. Collaboration has always been super important to me.”
Avognon’s photography displays an appealing story and sense of excitement about his models, and with the help of many collaborations, he believes his work can escalate to a place it has never been before. In sight of this, his many inspirations, ranging from Gregory Prescott, an L.A.-based photographer, to his mentors who he holds close to his heart – Dae Howerton and Dallas Logan – inspiration can spark from anywhere. He mentions that besides his artistic inspirations, his mentors have helped him become the artist he is today.
Avognon finally spoke about an upcoming motion editorial he is producing. “I am hoping to continue to showcase people in their best light. I'm really excited about it because it's one of my first direct editorial debuts, and it allows me to tell a different kind of story – one that's not just still.”