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  • Writer's pictureSam Rasmin

PAYING HOMAGE: Pharaoh Draws

We're paying homage to another inspiring creative, and this time round we're shining a light on Birmingham native Johnathan Williams, a.k.a Pharaoh Draws. An incredibly gifted individual who I have had the pleasure of working with since the launch of CGuk, and someone who has gone on to build a strong reputation as one of the UK's most gifted photographers.

Having worked with the likes of Netflix, Paramount, MOBO Awards and GRM Daily, Johnathan has been in the room with most of your favourite artists and influencers. If you take the time to browse his socials you'll see his shots of Maya Jama, Cardi B, M Huncho, Nella Rose, Dave and so many more, and it was only right that we featured him on the series.

I had the honour of catching up with Pharaoh to reflect on what has been an inspirational journey, whilst also exploring whats next for the multi-faceted creative. I hope you enjoy it, and please do connect with him right here.

So, I want to start off by going right back to the beginning. When did you discover your creative ability, and how did you get into photography?

"I started doing photography in secondary school during my GCSEs. I would've been around 15 or 16 years old at the time. There was no particular reason other than that my art teacher (Mr Daniels), who I got along with well, would be my photography teacher. He played a significant role in helping me find and develop my artistic voice as an illustrator, so I thought he'd do the same with photography. But I found my creative ability when I re-discovered photography at university. I started to get burnt out with illustration, and photography seemed like a great medium to transition into.”

How did you first break into the music scene? Who were you shooting for when you got started?

"Being around the right people with good intentions at the right time helped me break into the industry. I was fortunate enough to make friends with film directors, photographers, musicians and fashion designers who always brought me to events and introduced me to right people. I'd meet one person at a gig who introduced me to another person at a recording studio. It was a domino effect. Before I knew it, I was in the industry."

Did you have any inspirations when you were first starting out?

"There were loads, but the two significant ones were Ashley Verse and Jamie Drew. I absolutely loved their work and still do to this day. Ashley captured some of the most iconic music photography shots of the 2010s, and Jamie is arguably the best music photographer in Birmingham. They are both legends in my eyes."

I have no doubt that you're now an inspiration to upcoming creatives across the UK. For those that are reading the feature, can you share some key achievements from your career so far.

"Photographing the MOBOs is a significant career achievement. To go from watching it as a kid to photographing the winners is surreal. Working alongside big companies like Paramount, Netflix, and Shutterstock is cool, too. They're all companies I didn't plan on working with this early in my career.”

It really has been an inspiring journey, but you've got still got your prime years ahead of you. What’s next for Pharaoh Draws? Do you have any goals for 2024 and beyond?

"I'd love to transition into videography for a year and see what kind of work I'd produce. So many people have told me to start making videos, and this might be the year. Apart from that, my goals stay the same from year to year. I want to keep improving and expanding my network."

The team here at CGuk are truly honoured to have the opportunity to get some insight into the journeys and mindset of two incredibly hard working industry professionals, and we would like to take this opportunity to say...we appreciate you and the amazing work you do. Stay creative!


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