Photojournalism is one of the most demanding tasks a photographer could face. He or she is expected to produce images that are timely; tell a meaningful narrative; and are still of the same caliber as those shot in a relaxed, studio environment. Everything happens once; the subjects do not hold their poses while the focus is adjusted. Lighting is uncontrollable and often horrible. However, overcoming all of this adversity to achieve the perfect photograph makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable and rewarding.
Consisting of rapper/singer/songwriter Phonte and producer Nicolay, The Foreign Exchange came together via the online hip-hop community Okayplayer.com in 2002. After trading files through Instant Messenger for over a year, Nicolay (living in his native Holland at the time) and Phonte (a Raleigh, NC resident) completed their debut album before they ever met each other in person. The album, "Connected," was released in 2004 to positive reviews, and was praised by legendary DJ's such as Jazzy Jeff, King Britt, and DJ Spinna for its inventive mix of hip-hop, R&B, and electronica.
Their sophomore album, "Leave It All Behind" (2008) found The Foreign Exchange much closer in geography (Nicolay becoming a resident of Wilmington, NC), but located much further from their hip-hop origins. On the strength of their exhilarating live show and several nationally programmed music videos, "Leave It All Behind" became the group's most successful album to date, culminating in a Grammy-nomination for the album's first single, "Daykeeper".
Bio via theforeignexchangemusic.com
Production locations included beautiful spots in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park and the sandy beaches of Atlantic City, New Jersey. DeanMark photographer Stephen Stewart was behind-the-scenes with the cast and crew, documenting every step of the process.
"I have been shooting for The Foreign Exchange since 2008. They are one of my favorite R&B music groups and great people to boot. When you combine that with how much I enjoy photojournalism, you get two very exciting days. The final product came out great. Kudos to artists Phonte & Nicolay, Director Matt Koza, Executive Producer Aimee Flint, and the rest of the cast and crew."
Please check out the final product.