Sometimes you meet people who are electric. Who are rare and doing things that are not only cool, but important. South side native Desmond Tutu Owusu (Des for short) is building and if you’re smart, you’re paying attention. Des has been lending his fresh perspectives to photography for two years now with a portfolio including Nike, Complex and recently, a children’s book called Too Fly Not To Fly.
“I was messing around with the iPhone and I was getting better, getting good and Trash (Trashhand) was telling me “Yo, you should make this a serious hobby”. I came by his crib and he let me borrow his (Canon) Mark III for 3-4 weeks and after he saw the shots he told me to really think about getting a camera. I bought my first camera July 2014, a Canon Rebel T5i”.
Des’ photography centers around human interaction and urban settings. He gravitates towards anything concerning life and works at becoming better at his craft constantly. In the two years I’ve seen Des grow as a photographer what he’s gained the most is a confidence in himself.
“I trust my ideas more” he says, “I’m not afraid to make mistakes right now. I’m comfortable with myself and my ideas”.
Through his lens you see an honest and somewhat softer side of Chicago. This can be seen in his work for Too Fly Not To Fly, an alphabet book created by him and writer/teacher Briana McLean. The book is meant to spark discussions for children and help them critically examine issues affecting their lives. Since the release in early June the book has done extremely well, selling out within a few days.
“The reaction we got from a lot of people was that the book was a breath of fresh air,” says Des “the kids felt like stars. We wanted to give them something to be a part of and feel proud of”.
Des explores the city with his camera and a purpose; unifying a city that is constantly being torn apart.
“We got so much culture here but it’s so fucking segregated. The segregation within the city affects how Chicagoans treat each other. With my photography I want to show people that we’re the same”.
This idea of unification and love shows up not only in his photography, but in his clothing campaigns, including the “Chicago Girls Do It Better” tee that drops today online and in store. Des has worked with his friends Vic, Joe and Terrell in clothing design for quite some time now, each one with their own projects that are unified by the store Fat Tiger Workshop. Since an image of the shirt was posted on social media earlier this week the demand for it has an been insurmountable.
“Chicago women don’t get no love and I feel like we got some dope ass ladies here. This is something to encourage our women. I love them and want them to be the best”.