Cameron Look is the Photographer Who Found His Own Path

Cameron Scrutinize makes frigid stuff. Like, indubitably frigid stuff. 

You more than seemingly know him as @koolmac on IG, the artist, photographer, and order material creator with a particular, one-of-a-form, contemporary vogue that shot your full Sierra Canyon basketball team final season. Appears to be, who is from the Bay House, would trot up the general come there to doc Bronny’s freshman year, as nicely because the rest of the squad. 

He was there in the locker room to take Amari Bailey and Zaire Wade hitting the woah, then he was there on the court to doc Brandon Boston strumming a guitar after hitting a snatch shot. After the games, Scrutinize would snap photos of the gamers with their families, akin to this regarded as one of Bronny hugging his sister, Zhuri, and mom, Savannah. 

Scrutinize’s portfolio doesn’t quit there, despite the incontrovertible truth that. He’s shot all individuals from Shareef O’Neal to the NBA for the previous three years. You’ve maybe cherished, commented, and shared his work, akin to his quit motion videos of LeBron James, Trae Young, and Jayson Tatum. Appears to be easily captures poetry in motion, and his videos accept as true with garnered over 200,000 views. Scrutinize himself has 166Sufficient followers on IG.

About a days in the past, Scrutinize shot the Lakers-Clippers season opener and was regarded as one of many few photographers allowed within the Staples Heart. While the circumstance was decrease than perfect, as photographers had to web shots through plexiglass as any other of being allowed onto the court, Scrutinize as he always does, came away with some fire order material.

His images completely take the actual second, from ‘Bron’s gleeful reaction to getting his championship ring to Montrezl Harrell soaring over Patrick Beverley. He admits that even amongst the high-flying dunks and anticipation of being again on the court, Staples Heart favorable-attempting didn’t rather feel the the same. 

Yet, few know his account, or how he even picked up a digital camera in the major location. Just like the gamers he shoots, you supreme know what you’ve considered on the ‘gram—but he’s gotten this far through labor, hustle, a shton of skills, and, clearly, incomes the belief of his matters.

“LeBron has been a feature mannequin to me, ever since I used to be a little child,” Scrutinize says. “I had his first shoe that every dropped, I accept as true with his rookie card attach, I’ve always been a fan. It’s safe that someone love that respects my art, appreciates it, trusts me, and is prepared to piece it with the sector. It’s now not favorable-attempting LeBron—it goes for all these athletes that I work with, whether it’s ‘Bron, Bronny, Shareef, Shaq, and even little kids that come up to me at events and favorable-attempting want me to comprehend their image to explain that I took it.”

Game speaks for itself, despite the incontrovertible truth that. To let Scrutinize account for his relish account, SLAM chatted with him to learn more about how he received his launch, his artistry and attending the Lakers season-opener.

SLAM: Yo Cam! We seen that you just were taking pictures on the Lakers’ season-opener. Notify us about that accept as true with and, as a photographer, how various it was when in contrast with final season: 

Scrutinize: It was indubitably phenomenal, to be fully correct. Final year I had a routine down the attach I do know precisely the attach I’m going to park,  what door I’m going in, the attach I attach my score and all of that is fully various now. They attach me in a clear car parking zone, I’m on the backside of a structure it’s precise barren and empty. As rapidly as I received my credential, I used to be awaiting to be briefed by PR or accept as true with some form of paper handout with instructions and issues love that, but once I used to be in the building I used to be favorable-attempting in. No one suggested me what to realize or the attach to head. 

On occasion the Lakers accept as true with closed inform earlier than shoot-around, so that you just may maybe additionally’t high-tail shoot the court, but I walked in and requested ushers, ‘Plot you know the attach media is presupposed to head? What are the guidelines? The attach am I presupposed to shoot from?’ And they were love, ‘We invent now not accept as true with any thought, we favorable-attempting know you may maybe additionally’t high-tail in favorable now.

It was spooky, there was now not a soul in discover in some aspects of the sector. Everything was favorable-attempting off, now not the same outdated vibe or obvious, engaging, showtime-form of energy. It was indubitably phenomenal. 

What was going through your head on the second once the game started, and the procedure in which you had to navigate these obstacles?

The supreme discover I will use to instruct it that was honestly going through my mind whereas watching [the game] or enhancing [photos] was empty. There was no energy, no fans, it’s now not how it must soundless be. Even in clear plays that were spectacular, there was no reaction from any individual. A play the attach LeBron has a gargantuan dunk over Paul George, in general that would maybe maybe per chance accept as true with attach the building on fire and all individuals would accept as true with been going loopy, it almost makes you second wager and attach a question to, because the viewer, ‘wait was that in actuality safe or now not?’ It’s now not easy to feel engaged for the reason that supreme folks you hear screaming are the bench, and that was favorable-attempting very faint. It’s now not the the same. I’d command it as now not even love an NBA recreation, it felt love a closed-door scrimmage. 

Even being in the building and watching it in person, all individuals looked indubitably flat. [The players] soundless web angry here and there but it absolutely’s now not the the same form of excitement, and to me watching it, it looked love a scrimmage, love a convention. Not a correct recreation or the rest on that entertainment stage. Very empty. 

 Restful, you very powerful-so captured the evil moments from the game—love LeBron James getting his ring. Rush us through your thought job must you were taking pictures on the court: 

As an artist, with regards to how I’m shooting the game, the motion and the symmetry and physique movements that I’m hunting for are soundless the the same, but I’d recount [I wanted to] evoke the emotion of emptiness and loneliness in that enviornment. That’s the attach you’ll ogle my compositions fluctuate: I attempted to web an excellent deal of wides, of LeBron James taking a look this gargantuan and all this sad begin home and empty seats in the again of him. 

It’s one thing to glance at these images by themselves, isolated because the photos that I posted, but it absolutely would be indubitably extremely efficient to head again and glance at my archives from final year and that’s one thing I had in mind. Trying to web identical compositions from photos I took in some unspecified time in the future of a supplied-out Staples Heart final year, versus what it’s going to glance love now. That’s the attach you’ll indubitably be in a location to ogle them aspect-by-aspect and ogle that [a game now feels] indubitably phenomenal and off. It’s loopy how rapidly issues can exchange and it’s very apparent in that enviornment that issues are now not the the same. 

How’d you web your launch as a photographer? Not many folks know your corpulent account. Spill the tea. 

I actually accept as true with been requested to the touch upon it incessantly, but I’ve been elegant selective about sharing. The humorous, ironic phase is I indubitably purchased my digital camera in July of 2017, because I used to be looking out to promote dresses. My clothing label was called Lawful Appears to be, first and major that’s what I called my barber industry once I used to decrease hair, that was my hustle in college. I used to be cutting dudes on the UC Irvine males’s basketball team, and I’ve always performed basketball, it’s a gargantuan phase of my existence. And, I’ve always been tapped into Youtube, watching high prospects, again to when it was supreme hoop mixtapes and Ball is Life. 

When I first received that digital camera, I favorable-attempting received bored with paying photographers for order material because I knew precisely how I needed it to glance, how I needed to edit the photos, so in my mind, the supreme thing I used to be lacking was figuring out how to press the button [on a camera]. I started taking pictures my dresses, and I used to be additionally taking pictures concerts: I shot all individuals from Travis Scott, Likelihood the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar. 

No doubt?

Yeah, and loopy account: my first time ever taking pictures a concert, I used to be on stage with Marshmello. I had no thought what the hell I used to be doing, I used to be favorable-attempting there, snapping away. I mediate that goes to point how loopy and rapidly the trot has come because some folks would work years to web to the purpose, and my first day with the digital camera was taking pictures an event. 

Bol Bol in actuality used to are living around Irvine, and at Day N Evening, I seen him in the team. He was in the pit, which is in general the attach you want particular entry to web into, I took one image of him in the expressionless of night, favorable-attempting a random image, and I DM’d it to him. Then, he ended up responding and I requested him to shoot. 

So, I pulled up on him in Irvine at his residence, thinking we’re going to shoot him hooping and doing one thing, and it wasn’t even that—I didn’t even shoot him taking part in basketball. He’s all about style, so I shot him in his Jordans, Off-White. It was a streetwear shoot. I had him on a stair-case, a gargantuan, 7-foot dude sitting on a staircase [and] walking around Orange County. 

You ogle a 7-foot Bol and me at love 5-foot-6 subsequent to him. It was humorous, and after we did that shoot he posted the photos, and Shareef [O’Neal] cherished it and confirmed love and adopted me. 

Is that how you transitioned into sports pictures? 

Nicely, you accept as true with to maintain in mind that at that deadline, it was all video order material for basketball. Cassy Athena, clearly, is in the combine but there wasn’t a extensive pool of photographers on the sidelines, love that. 

I take into accout going again home to my associates at college and telling them, ‘I believe love there’s a grief for inventive, sports pictures. I don’t ogle any individual, because at this point I’m taking photos at concerts, I’m doing avenue pictures with neon lights and collaborating in with reflections, favorable-attempting tall inventive, saturated, and high distinction, now not your dilapidated Getty pictures. Don’t web me rotten, I accept as true with basically the most admire for these that hang images love that, it’s now not even that I don’t discover it irresistible, it’s favorable-attempting me in my view, I love how more carefully edited images glance. 

So, what came subsequent?

Nicely, I received tapped in with ‘Reef and I went to the major recreation of his senior year—which was the major recreation I ever shot. Deem that: that was supreme a brief time in the past. 

I soundless take into accout that day, and I had no thought what the guidelines were. I used to be love, ‘Sufficient, he texted me the attach the game was, I don’t know if I’m allowed to carry my digital camera in or now not.’ I had this little miniature, diminutive Sony digital camera, I didn’t accept as true with all my equipment but, and I had to pay to web in. Right here is how naive I am: I favorable-attempting walked to the baseline and I stood there, and no-one suggested me that I wasn’t allowed to be there so I favorable-attempting started taking photos. 

Taking a look again at these images now, I used to be trash. But, actually at that deadline, once I used to be sending the photos to kids, they were love, ‘Oh my god, this is the craziest thing I’ve ever considered. These are safe.’ 

Reef ended up posting the image, which was a extensive decide to me. I went to the subsequent recreation, and he posted again. It saved going and going and, inevitably, you launch to create a relationship with the family who is actually regarded as one of many supreme groups of these that I’ve met. The full come from Shaq and Shaunie, and the general siblings, aunties, and uncles. I’m an supreme child and from the Bay House, so I don’t indubitably web to ogle my family powerful and so that they grew to alter into a home far from home. They’re the closest thing I’d accept as true with to placing out with kinfolk. 

You’ve photographed all individuals from LeBron James to his son, Bronny, as nicely as Shareef O’Neal and others. How did you domesticate these relationships and originate the belief of now not supreme athletes but their families? 

I rocked precise end with Shareef, his whole senior year. Every recreation I would maybe maybe per chance compose it to, I used to be there. If he has a tournament in Arizona, I used to be driving there on my relish, I’m spending my relish money, I’m crashing at a associates home and taking pictures him—now not getting paid a dime by no one, I’m favorable-attempting there ensuing from the connection, looking out for to create, and indubitably believing that there’s this niche that I will carve out and this home.

At final, the year goes by, and the gargantuan info hits that LeBron is coming to LA, and then inevitably you additionally web the knowledge that Bronny is going to relief Crossroads—which is the attach the O’Neals were enrolled on the second. 

One day I used to be on the O’Neal’s home for a birthday, and Bronny was there. They launched me to him and suggested him that I used to be that takes the general photos they submit. They were love, ‘I’m lumber he’ll web you some fire photos one day.’ It was all indubitably natural, I couldn’t accept as true with forced it to happen, it favorable-attempting fell into my lap and was natural. 

I indubitably attain pleasure myself on the connection I accept as true with with these athletes, I account for fogeys, ‘I don’t want to be your photographer or your digital camera guy. I favorable-attempting want to be love family. It favorable-attempting occurs that I accept as true with a digital camera with me.’ 

That actually displays through your work and the procedure in which you’re in a location to take these off-the-court moments. As a viewer, it almost feels love we’re there, with the area in the locker room or the dance circle. 

Yeah, and every time I’m with the O’Neals or whoever, it’s never them telling me, ‘Cam, high-tail attain that. Or, high-tail attain this.’ I’m actually favorable-attempting placing out, on the dinner table eating, too. If I ogle one thing I love, then I’ll hang my digital camera out and hang a image.

I slowly, slowly, slowly built that relationship with the James, too. I’d ogle them here or there. I shot him on the EYBL circuit, in Indiana, and at Peach Jam. I had performed a pair of various issues on a non-public stage with them, so that relationship in some unspecified time in the future of the final two years has been gradually building. 

How did you web alive to with Sierra Canyon?

I had been taking pictures Sierra Canyon earlier than Bronny was even there, when Cassius, KJ and Scotty were there. I used to be accustomed to the vibe there, the college, and the force, and I knew I needed to web tapped in. As soon as Bronny started high college there, I received in contact with the Athletic Director, he received me in contact with the coach, Dre [Andre Chevalier], and it took a little bit of convincing. 

I suggested him what I needed to realize, and he had considered some of my work. It favorable-attempting made sense for the reason that belief was there from the James family, I had shot with Amari [Bailey] earlier than, and folks were accustomed to me already. It wasn’t love I used to be some random dude that was thirty because Bronny was going to varsity, it favorable-attempting made sense. 

Yet, you didn’t favorable-attempting take what was on the court—you confirmed a clear aspect to the Sierra Canyon team in some unspecified time in the future of a loopy time when the sector was in scare of them, and Bronny. Focus on more about your imaginative and prescient for photographing them final season? 

That favorable-attempting goes again to the core of me favorable-attempting indubitably priding myself on the relationships. To me, it’s favorable-attempting well-liked. Very, very, only a few events accept as true with I ever been starstruck or anxious or nervous to meet someone, but 99% of these dudes are well-liked afolks. I in actuality want to favorable-attempting humanize these folks and it’s a reminder to me that some folks attain supreme ogle these folks on the web or on their TV. They would maybe ogle them in-person supreme once. 

It’s indubitably frigid to point that, yeah you ogle them dunking on folks and clapping their palms but these are kids which would maybe maybe per chance be eating gummy bears and sound asleep on every various’s shoulders, doing homework and so that they love to bounce. What’s loopy is that my dance videos of Sierra Canyon maybe received more engagement than any of my basketball order material. That favorable-attempting goes to point that basketball is favorable-attempting tied into culture, style, tune, all of that stuff is a melting pot. Even these that don’t necessarily want to ogle Bronny play the general time are down to ogle them dance to some Lil Keed. 

Being in a location to take that accept as true with from A to Z, especially with the loopy quantity of attention that the team had with BJ Boston, Ziaire Williams, Z-Wade and Bronny was indubitably safe. I used to be conscious of what it was, that’s why I needed to realize it, but I don’t mediate we’ll indubitably be in a location to admire that [content] till 10-20 years from now after we glance again at these archives. Those guys are rockstars, and I will actually recount I’ve never in my existence been around energy love that, at any stage of sport. 

Report your inventive vogue? Your images accept as true with one of these particular quality to them. 

The supreme come I accept as true with to point my form of pictures is: you may maybe per chance hang a image of someone dunking a basketball on someone’s head, but what if I suggested you that I would maybe maybe per chance high-tail out to the automobile parking zone, hang a image through the doorway of someone dunking and I would maybe maybe per chance take that very same precise second? That’s intelligent, that’s various. I’m soundless telling the the same precise account, but now you’re taking a look at it from a entirely various lens. 

I’m favorable-attempting giving folks what I mediate is frigid. That’s favorable-attempting me being me, there’s no science in the again of it.

I’d high-tail to a recreation and the supreme shot I’m hunting for is the dude palming the ball, corpulent-extension so that I would maybe maybe per chance twist it the opposite procedure up versus Shaq hugging Shareef. I’m always hunting for the inventive composition and a image that you just’ve never considered earlier than or thought was frigid. As soon as in a whilst you may maybe additionally create one thing out of nothing. 

You’ve additionally received some criticism for having them glance “overexposed.” What are your thoughts about that?

It’s fully rotten by the textbook. I haven’t taken lessons but I favorable-attempting know that they’re blown out, my highlights are too energetic, most incessantly you may maybe additionally’t even ogle the dudes toes and he’s received white shoes on. I’m nicely conscious of that, it’s now not love I’m here throwing stuff up thinking it’s the top stuff on the earth. I’m conscious of the failings in some aspects in my work, but whilst you attain one thing rotten enough and enough folks gravitate in opposition to it, all of a surprising it turns into favorable. 

Notify me about your various initiatives as nicely, love the “Jelly” and Lawful Appears to be basketballs. 

Tips favorable-attempting come to my head most incessantly. I web an excellent deal of ideas, and a few of them hit and I’ll attach a theory in my cell telephone whereas various events it’ll be 2 a.m. and I’ll take a seat up, begin up my notebook computer and hang a look at to full it. It’s loopy because most incessantly these ideas hang months to return into fruition, or it favorable-attempting evolves over time. What many of us don’t understand is that they ogle me doing the basketball that stays in the center of the mask, tracking it and all that, and so that they mediate maybe I did that final year, but I had tried one thing identical to that every person the get back in 2018 on Luka Doncic but my frame rate wasn’t as rapidly on the time, however the thought that was there. I indubitably favorable-attempting built on it, built on it, and perfected it. 

I don’t attempt to mannequin myself or replica any individual else, and I ogle many of us attempt to mimic the article I attain but they’re now not discovering the retort and doing it precisely as I am because there may be no tutorial on-line. I created my relish procedure of doing it. That’s why you’ll ogle one thing that looks to be to be like identical but it absolutely’s favorable-attempting now not the the same. As an artist, and favorable-attempting me, that’s why I’ve amounted the success I’ve had up to now because on the end of the day I’m favorable-attempting being who I am, and likewise you may maybe per chance attempt to comprehend a shortcut and replica X-Y or Z person, but once I built my following and my platform, it’s favorable-attempting effortless. 

I’ll never claim to be the major person, but I attain deem that I accept as true with helped popularize and attach  an excellent deal of eyes on one thing that turns into trending. There’s a extensive incompatibility. 

What keeps you impressed and motivated? 

I favorable-attempting love telling tales and I favorable-attempting web bored with out pickle. That’s why I’ve tried to head up to now begin air the sector, I’ve taken heaps of, maybe millions of photos by now and I do know that I will hang a correct image of someone working with a basketball, or someone going up for a dunk and following through for a shot. That’s frigid but, it’s now not fulfilling enough for me after a whereas. 

I attempt now to not attach myself on a pedestal or web too angry because, and I’m now not looking out to be cliche, but I’m nowhere come the attach I’d like to be. There are such plenty of issues that I haven’t finished and so many aspects of pictures that I haven’t even mastered. I’ve never taken a class on pictures, I’m self-taught and I’m thoroughly conscious that I’m deficient in studio, figuring out lighting and issues love that, but all individuals can high-tail to those games and hang photos. I’d like my work on a billboard, I-405 in Los Angeles. I’d like to be the photographer Nike hires to realize their Fall-2022 campaign, that’s what I’m looking out to realize. Most importantly, I’d like to comprehend the image that you just ogle placing on your hallway, that’s the image I’d like.

What’s subsequent for you, as a inventive?  

Other folks know me for what I attain with basketball, however the issues that I’m doing would maybe maybe additionally very nicely be applied to football, baseball, soccer, boxing or golf. I don’t want to favorable-attempting shape basketball, I’d like to shape digital sports pictures and that applies to all the pieces. There’s so many issues that I haven’t touched on that I accept as true with an passion in and I listen to. 

One other goal, for these basketballs that I’ve been making, is I accept as true with a bunch of samples in the again of me that maybe I don’t want to point you favorable now [laughs] but how ironic would it be if in tunnel drag-ins, what’s the one thing that no one brings to a basketball recreation? A basketball. 


I don’t ogle any individual walking in with branded basketballs, maybe they’ve performed it earlier than but that’s ironic. That’s going to create a little buzz, love, why is he bringing a basketball to a basketball recreation? So, that would maybe maybe per chance be a gargantuan step for my label, in my view. 

But, there’s no end goal for me but. Presumably I’ll understand what it is one day,  but at this deadline, I’m favorable-attempting looking out to maintain growing and experiment with my art. I’m blessed enough that these safe athletes with platforms bigger than myself are prepared to piece it. That’s the supreme and empowering phase to me because my art is now not dilapidated. When X-Y-and-Z athlete posts it, all of a surprising, it turns into validated in someone’s eyes. 


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