What’s up everyone, my name is Cole Schwartz. I am 21 years old from Dallas, Texas, now living in Chicago. I am a Director of Photography and photographer.
As artists or creative people in general, we all have that one thing we saw that made us want to begin our career in that medium. For you being a DP after you saw “Enter The Void” that’s what made you want to get started in your career. What was it about Enter The Void that made you want to pick up a camera?
While I had already picked up a camera, it wasn’t until I saw that movie when I realized I want to do something with cameras professionally and take it extremely seriously. The biggest thing that stood out to me in ‘Enter The Void’ was the camera movement. It was super floaty and the lighting, man, I just loved it. It was shot in Downtown Tokyo, mostly at night, so all the neon lights were eye-catching. I just thought it was great cinematography and after seeing it, I was hooked.
Since a little kid you were playing guitar and into music, as you got older and started picking up a camera, was the goal to always shoot for the music industry?
Actually no, but it all kind of just fell together beautifully. It felt right being able to be apart of the music scene and industry because music has always been such a huge part of my life. I started shooting music stuff but then transitioned into video. As I was experimenting with video, I began to work at a Food production company where we shot commercials. I did that for a little while but quickly realized I didn’t want to shoot food commercials much longer. Back in high-school, I remember the love I had for shooting my friend’s bands music videos and wanted to get that feeling back.
For a year or so now you’ve been working with Lyrical Lemonade. What led you to want to work with them?
I was brought on by a really good friend of mine, Lil Jake. I had known Jake for a couple of years, prior to doing anything with LL. I would shoot some photos for him every now and then when he needed them. One day he called me up and wanted me to come out and shoot some BTS footage of the Yung Bans – Dresser video. I went over to Jake’s place and they were shooting the video in his bedroom and the day was super cool. I vibed with everyone really well. After that, things just kind of escalated and now almost a year later here we are.
What’s it like being able to work for Lyrical Lemonade which, as a platform has continued to gain notoriety?
It’s really great, honestly. Everybody who works there, we are all close friends and extremely motivated. We understand what we are doing and the stakes, but we are always looking for new and innovative ways to do things. I think anybody will tell you that we are all students of the game. As a group, we all realize that we can never stop learning and improving and that’s what continues to keep us hungry.
RIP to Mac Miller, earlier this year you and Cole worked on a video for Mac. What was it like being on set with Mac and working with him?
That was a crazy video. It was the first time I had worked with an artist that big and influential. That video was a big deal for Cole and me because Mac was somebody that we both looked up to growing up. Cole and I were the only two on set, no production crew. We shot the video in Mac’s backyard and some random pizza parlor. Mac was such a nice guy. Super positive vibes, he was super open and welcoming. That video definitely is a special memory for me. I think I can speak for Cole and I when I say this, but that shoot was one of the most memorable ones we’ve been on.
Outside of that video, what has been your favorite set to be on in the past year?
I think my favorite video that I’ve been able to work on is one that is coming out very soon. It’s for Wiz Khalifa ft Lil Skies – Fr Fr. Expect that to drop soon. Outside of that, I think my favorite artist to work with is Lil Skies. He was one of the first artists I started to shoot with LL. We’ve done a handful of videos and seen him live numerous times. He and his whole crew have always been top notch people. On set, he works his ass off and never complains.
Thoughts on the older rap heads/critics who criticize the artists LL work with?
It’s kind of interesting. I’m a huge fan of ‘old-school’ hip-hop, but I also like a lot of the new stuff as well. Most times, people are just stubborn. They’ve been doing things their way their entire life, so they’re not really too interested in change. I try not to get too involved and consumed in media beef or anything like that. I really don’t care about any of that stuff. I like the music I like and the people I like. If someone is a good person, that’s really all that matters to me.
It looks like over this past year you’ve grown into the artist you’ve been wanting to be. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned over this past year?
I’d probably say one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to be confident in myself and my capabilities or at least pretending to be. I always loved the quote, “Fake it, until you make it.” I think it’s just so true. A lot of times I might not know how to do something, but I have to figure it out because it has to get done. There’s always a way to problem solve, especially with a good team behind you supporting. Be confident and knowing your ability, that no matter the obstacle that’s in front of you, you’ll be able to get through it. Anything you want to do, you can do.
It’s always interesting seeing that one person, photographers would love to take portraits of. A few weeks ago you said your goal was to shoot portraits of Nas, why Nas?
I love Nas so much. I listen to him every single day, no exaggeration. There’s always been something about his music, his flow, and his swagger. I just love it. I would love to be able to make a movie to, “It Was Written”. I already have it all planned out, every song.
We are quickly approaching the last quarter of the year, what are some goals you’d like to accomplish by end of the year?
I want to focus on my lighting more. I think that’s my area of least strength. I love lighting, but I need to get it to where I think it needs to be in my mind. Other people might say, my lighting is fine, but there’s always room for improvement. I also want to get more efficient in my color grading. I usually color all of the footage that I shoot before it goes off to Cole for editing. I really just want to focus on those two things and fine tune them.
Written by: Nico Rud