Photographer and Videographer Fizzel Castro shares how he changed his destiny by picking up a camera. Changing the narrative has been a focal point for Castro, curating content has enabled him to have autonomy over his destiny. Despite encountering injustice within the system, he took matters into hands and found freedom through being his own boss.
What does freedom mean to you?
“Freedom is being able to think feel and do whatever you choose without fear or constraint, without having to feel bothered about anything. I’ve been fighting for freedom mostly my whole life, freedom from oppression by people with authority; freedom from jail cells, systematic racism in school, freedom from gang culture and social environment. For me freedom means the total opposite of slavery, captivity and limitation. On a daily I am always trying to break through the limitations that’s prevents me from pursuing my dreams.”
When curating content, this must be liberating as the person behind the camera. How has being a creative helped you develop an individual?
“Yes, very liberating. Media controls the masses, right? Well, if media controls the masses and I am a media outlet; I have the power to create a message that can potentially change the way the masses feel and think. If I curate positive imagery this cause others to do the same. For example, I chose to build my portfolio mostly with people I naturally felt were appealing to the camera regardless of ‘media/society’ standards, nothing against the models that were in agencies for being astoundingly perfect.
However, I wanted to work with more everyday beautiful people to show people that they were special themselves and no different to people who they saw on billboards for Calvin Klein. It’s always a nice feeling to shoot someone and they say you made me look too good; and I’m like nah that’s all you, I literally took a picture of your image.”
How would you say freedom has played a significant part in your overcoming challenges in life?
“Not to get into too much detail, I grew up in South London, Brixton. I was incarcerated at 15 for a crime I did not commit and spent 6 months in prison. Between the ages of 16 to 19 all my friends either died or went to jail pretty much. It was crazy there was no freedom back then. The only freedom I had was when I decided to pursue media. I went to college the furthest I could out the hood, and then the same with university I picked one on the coast and left Brixton. I needed freedom to live without all the negativity around me. Since leaving Brixton I have graduated from University and stayed on the Seaside, the sense of freedom out here was too great to give up. If I did not have the type of freedom I have now and still lived in Brixton, I would probably be dead or in jail. There would have been no way I would have picked up a camera.”
Tell us about some exciting projects you have recently been involved in?
“I work a lot with Yung Fume, thanks to my brother who I grew up with Fee Gonzales. I been working with him since 2017, since then we’ve gone to America places like Atlanta to meet and shoot with big producers; such as Zaytoven and artists like Lil Durk and Yung Nudy. I have recently been on tour with Nines, M Huncho and AJ Tracey. I am also currently creating content for an Artist from the UK who lives in Atlanta called Park Hill and Radio 1xtra DJ Kenny Allstar creating content for his social channels.”
What advice would you give to other creatives that unsure of where to start?
“BMT, just start. I mean start by planning. Envision your goal first, then ignore all the things telling you how not to do it. Only take in the ways on how to attain what you want, if it’s not selfish or inflicts harm on others then go for it! Follow through on your plan on how to get to where you want to be and do not stop. No matter what, no matter how slow it gets because nothing comes easy! Do not wait for anyone to give you a hand out. These days creatives are pretty much their own platform, we do not need anyone’s else help but our own!”
How would you say freedom can help others achieve goals their life goals?
“ I do not think anyone can truly reach the goals set out for them in life if they do not allow themselves to be free. We need freedom to understand each other and more, so we need freedom to understand and truly love ourselves.”