Hailing from New Jersey and now based in Los Angeles, Cheryl Fox is an amazing emerging photographer that has captured the likes of many A-list celebrities. Passionate about photography and the art itself, her images speak volumes and invoke thought. Fox's photographs have been featured in InStyle Magazine, US Weekly, PRESTIGE Hong Kong, Vibe and even on American Idol with Diddy and Conan O'Brien with Floyd Mayweather just to mention a few! With work featured at the Mouche Gallery in Beverly Hills, this single mother of two has made her passion into a working reality. We caught up with Fox to ask her about her next projects, memorable experiences and her go-to gear.
TH: You’ve photographed many celebrities, which are your three most memorable experiences?
Diddy is first and far most. We’ve been friends for many years, much more like family. The notorious White Parties in the Hamptons and trips away were backdrops for many of both of our favorite captures. One year, Puff invited us to St. Barth’s for the holiday. When we arrived, Puff’s boat was full and he had arranged for us to stay on Naomi Campbell’s boat. I was meeting her for the first time and she was just sensational! As usual, I was shooting. I love to give the images as gifts to celebrity friends on their birthdays and holidays! It was on this trip, that the incredible Steven Klein himself, who was also staying on Naomi’s boat, told me to take as many pictures as I can. He said, he couldn’t point his camera at everyone, as I was doing and I should never stop. It was then I realized what made my photography unique. That, I shoot from inside of a lifestyle that is my own, where as, most people capture these very same people/celebrities only from the outside. It’s how I’m able to capture the spirit of my subjects so effortlessly. I grew as photographer on that trip and captured a multitude of timeless moments too!
Floyd Mayweather is next up. We met on set. I was commissioned to shoot him for the cover of a magazine. We were shooting at the Palms Casino & Resort in Las Vegas. My team and I came in from LA, rented a great penthouse and got to work. About 2 hours in, Floyd’s manager Leonard Ellerbee came over to me and said, “he’s never done this before.” I was like, done what? Had a photo shoot!? He said, “He’s never stayed this long, or listened to any direction from a photographer.” Not only did we shoot for hours at the Palms, he invited us to come to his home afterwards. We connected that day like long lost cousins. The magazine never used the images. When I saw him sometime later, he asked about them and I just gave them to him at no cost. His team used those images for everything for years. Eventually, he asked me to shoot his promo shots for an upcoming fight. The rest is history. I shot Floyd’s promos for years after that. Showtime still uses my images from our last shoot to this day.
Snoop makes every set a good time. His energy is totally chill. We too, met on set and connected instantly. I lived in NY at the time and was commissioned to shoot him for a cover in Los Angeles. We took over a friends club in Hollywood and began our first of many shoots to come. Shooting Snoop was effortless. When my creative director suggested he lay down for one of the shots, he said, “I’ve never laid down in a photo before.” Well we made history that day. That image in particular hangs in my home today. From there, I shot his album cover and most recently set images for his explosive new VH-1 show with Martha Stewart.
TH: Do you have a perfect location/set where you like to shoot?
CF: My perfect location to shoot is my photo lounge. It’s a studio gallery, which also exhibits my fine art work. The energy is electric and every shoot is unforgettable! Although, until that’s up and running :) I rent studios, shoot at hotels, private homes, and natural back drops like the mountains and the beach.
TH: Where do you find your inspiration?
CF: Personally, I find my inspiration in children. I have two of my own who are beautiful and brilliant examples of how powerful I am as a woman and a mother. They’re my light and my magic. In addition, my connection to all children and their innocence, honesty and joy inspire endless possibilities within me.
Photography that inspires me comes from great editorials and ad campaigns. I love to work with other creative people with artistic minds. Brands that are photography driven have always intrigued me. When we’re bringing concepts to life by creating images that visually communicate a message to their targeted audience, it literally gets me high.
TH: When did you discover your passion for photography?
CF: I went around a few times before I realized it was the photography all along. In college, I loved the photography in VOGUE and ELLE Magazines, and collected them. I purchased one at a time, so I could select, no subscriptions. They were stacked along the wall of my apartment as high as my waist. I loved looking at the pictures and the ads. I thought it was the fashion I loved.
By my senior year, I decided to take a class on developing film in the dark room. The class requirement was to take pictures to develop. I loved it all! It wasn’t until I started giving the images away as gifts that I realized I had an eye for photography. Everyone I gifted was elated with the images. That’s when I discovered that I had a thing going on with photography. The power to capture a moment that brought so much joy to another in one instant, a moment frozen in time was the ultimate feeling of bliss.
TH: How did you start your career? What were some of the hurdles when you encountered in the beginning?
CF: My career started with fine art photography, given my unique and never seen before celebrity images. My first exhibit was hosted by my dear friend, Sean “Diddy” Combs. He was the first to acknowledge my talent and be in full support of it. With him on board, I was able to secure Diageo as a sponsor because they wanted to affiliate themselves with him for one of their brands. Which turned out to be Ciroc! My fine art work is now represented at Mouche Gallery in Beverly Hills.
The biggest hurdles have been marketing myself commercially to potential clients and acquiring proper representation. I’ve always been very social and connected in my personal life. Separating myself from friends that always ask me to bring my camera and building my business has been equally challenging. I use to do marketing and entertainment publicity as well, so lots of people know me from that world. You’d think it would be a lay up for me, but it’s just the opposite. I’m still very much establishing career as a commercial photographer.
TH: Why did you decide to become a photographer?
CF: After my divorce, I decided it was time to start everything over and do something I really loved. I was a publicist for many years and it just wasn’t as fulfilling after my children were born. Photography was always a personal and gratifying outlet since college. It was now the only thing that made me truly happy outside of my children.
TH: Who are your favorite photographers?
CF: I’m extremely fond of a few, from Andy Warhol and the Factory era, Terry O’Neil,’s on set captures of Hollywood in the late 60’s. To Annie Leibovitz ‘s celebrity walk from Rolling Stone to Vanity Fair and American Express, and Peter Lindberg’s black and whites. My new favorites are Carter Smith with his Elle editorials and Austin Hargrave who shoots extensively for The Hollywood Reporter.
TH: What DSLR and lenses do you like to shoot with?
CF: I’m a Canon Girl! I shoot with 5D Mark II and walk with the 7D. I like a portrait and adjustable lens. The 24-70mm is my fav for in studio fashion and if I had to choose one portrait lens, it would be the 135mm
TH: What advice would you give to a young photographer who is just starting out?
CF: Shoot, Shoot, Shoot and intern and assist where you want to shoot in the future! Make sure you build your social media platforms just as much or even more than your website.
TH: Are you working on anything at the moment, either for a client or personal?
CF: I was just pitched the opportunity of a lifetime to create a national advertising campaign for an exciting and innovative digital transportation brand! In addition, I’m putting the final touches on a new book of my private music collection that features everyone from Diddy, Jay Z, Kanye West, Madonna, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, A$AP and so many more. The working title is, “ISEEMUSIC.”