Q+A: Joshua Reynolds, V-Tech Visual PhotoGraffix

Joshua Reynolds is a DUMBO-based photographer and videographer with a strong point of view and a unique style he calls "PhotoGraffix." It's a style that dialogues well with visual and hip hop artists – he's worked with Craig Anthony Miller (CAM), Kurious Jorge (Hip Hop Mcee), Laolu Senbanjo, Prince Paul and Tim Okamura – but that also reaches far. Noteworthy clients include Tom Ford, Forbes Magazine, Tommy Hilfiger, Elizabeth Gilbert (Author of Eat, Pray, Love), Chef and TV personality David Chang and the Domino Sugar Factory.

We sat down with Josh to learn more about the inspiration behind his creative work as well as his circuitous artistic journey. 

I am so inspired by this neighborhood’s scenery and energy, by the iconic bridges and the Brooklyn waterfront.

Joshua Reynolds

Tell us about yourself and how you came to be interested in photography? What has been your career trajectory?

I believe that we are all creators by nature; we are created in the likeness of some bigger being who is also a creator. Variations of creativity have been with me since day one: I grew up dancing, DJing/making music and writing poetry. I also cooked professionally for a decade.

I moved to New York in 2007. I had a job in this building {20 Jay}. I walked up the street, during my first week here, and I got a job at a place called Turntable Labs. I never even thought about practicing photography or videography before that job.

I had a Motorola Razr: it was an older kind of flip phone that had a camera. That was my first experience having a camera with me on a regular basis. I was so inspired by this neighborhood’s scenery and energy, by the iconic bridges and the Brooklyn waterfront. I realized that looking through my phone's viewfinder was like having a bit of canvas or paper. Instead of having to sketch out a composition- all I had to do was angle my hands. I built off of that revelation. My career just kind of started. I was never like, “I want to be a photographer.” My style started to develop once I played around more with the cellphone camera.

I then worked at Adorama Rental Co - a production house in Manhattan - for four and a half years. I learned about the technical aspects of photography while working there.

It just felt right to get in that zone; I feel kind of like a superhero when I am out shooting. It’s like a zen-type thing when you let go- you’re in the moment, you know?

Now you are a freelance photographer. When did you decide to stop working at a production company and develop your hobby into a trade?

CAM (Craig Anthony Miller) inspired me to start selling my work on Front Street. He was like, “You should try this.” That was around 2011 or ‘12. I did that for a few years. Then, in 2015, CAM had a shop at 145 Front St. across from CHASE bank. There are a lot of small businesses located there- artists and barbershops and this and that.

In 2015, I quit the rental house and opened up a shop. I had the shop for a year. There were ups and downs - it was kind of a struggle. I was more of a creator than a businessman. I am working on and still making that transition. I worked for Mark Jupiter for around six months. Then, I did set design and fabrication to make ends meet. I’ve been doing more for me in the last year or so.

Any especially memorable photography shoots here in DUMBO?

I had the biggest job that I’ve ever had in this neighborhood at the end of April. I shot a twenty-year anniversary campaign for Acid Cigars. Have you ever heard of Acid Cigars? They started in DUMBO about twenty years ago.

It’s funny that I had heard of them before: I lived in the Virgin Islands before I moved here and worked at a high-end cigar and sunglasses shop. I didn’t really have a desire to smoke cigars though.

I had a connection with the company since CAM created art for the Acid Cigars spirit label. He introduced me to a guy named Jonathan. It was a two day shoot: we did live art form in a few different spots. Artists decorated the water towers. Twenty cigars signified the company’s twenty-year anniversary. We shot at the top of 68 Jay St., at Bridge Fresh and on Washington Street.

Joshua Reynolds at ACID Cigars photoshoot with five legendary graffiti artists
Joshua Reynolds at ACID Cigars photoshoot with five legendary graffiti artists

How would you describe your photography style?

I call my style “PhotoGraffix,” a graphic style of photography. PhotoGraffix is a science: symmetry, reflections and low angles are my signature style.

Art & OCD are parts of my photographic techniques. I shared a room with someone who was a little messy growing up. I kept things in a precise order, so I knew when something was moved. My OCD and artistic tendencies mixed to create my style of meticulous photography.

How is the DUMBO neighborhood a source of inspiration?

DUMBO birthed my photography; the neighborhood has inspired me since I moved here in 2007. The energy that this beautiful place evokes pulled something out of me that I never knew was there.

Left to right: CAM, legendary hip hop photographer Martha Cooper and Joshua Reynolds at Superfine in Dumbo
Left to right: CAM, legendary hip hop photographer Martha Cooper and Joshua Reynolds at Superfine in Dumbo

I call my style “PhotoGraffix,” a graphic style of photography. PhotoGraffix is a science: symmetry, reflections and low angles are my signature style.

Can you explain the meaning behind your (old) logo design?

I’m rebranding now. I’ve been going by “V-tech Visual.” I used to DJ, and my DJ name was “V-tech.” I was in a crew called “Phonographics” - like a phonograph record.

There was an evolution. I turned VTech Visual because I went from audio to visual. I then changed PhonoGraffix to PhotoGraffix. But people get confused because there are VTech engines and VTech toys.

My old logo design also has a cool backstory. It showed a forty-five adaptor. Old records were called “forty-fives;” a forty-five adaptor went into the central wider hole of a record. There is an “F-stop” on turntables. The F-stop is like the aperture or the ring of the camera. It’s like your iris; it opens up to allow light in for the exposure when you take a picture.

The logo and design combined my mixing, DJing and photography.

What will your new logo and design look like?

Now, I’m going to go by “Joshua Reynolds’ Photographics.” I want the name to be more personal: “Joshua Reynolds” is more me than “V-tech Visual.” I am a business, but I am also a person.

I want my new logo to incorporate sacred geometry. I learned more about sacred geometry as I got older. Certain shapes and patterns make up the foundation of everything in the world; they are the building blocks of nature. The Fibonacci sequence, the Phi ratio, the golden ratio, the golden spiral, the third eye and all that. It’s amazing, fascinating. So, with that being said, I want to create a design that relates to spirituality, energy and consciousness.

I believe that we are all connected: energy cannot be destroyed, only changed. I am all about turning negativity into positivity. I want to show people the potential they have to create. I’ve had ups and downs. Creating helped me build my confidence; it’s easier to love the world when you can love yourself. Part of my mission is to show that, regardless of what you are going through, you can be your own superhero by creating in some way or another. The more you love yourself- the more you can love the world around you.

My new logo will have something to do with sacred geometry: energy shooting from the heart and soul.

What are some of your favorite places or locations in DUMBO?

I used to go sit by the rocks over by the water. There is a nice little spot, by the benches, under the Manhattan Bridge. Walk over the path where there is the construction and scaffolding. Then veer to the right towards Brooklyn Bridge Park, and you will get there.

Anything you’d like to add?

It’s cool that people are starting to see all of the things that I do - I have my own unique style of videography and photography. Those who need content can reach out: I can shoot a promotional video, take pictures at an event or do a photoshoot for somebody. I look forward to working with people and businesses in the DUMBO neighborhood!

Where can we see examples of your past work and contact you?

Instagram: VTECHVISUAL

Website: https://www.v-techvisual.com (subject to change)

Facebook: Joshua Reynolds

Twitter: V_TECH78

Mentioned in this article

Superfine