Idris Talib Solomon: A Crusader for Black Culture Talks Art, Inspiration & New HBO Venture. #BeyondTheFrames
Modest beginnings in Brooklyn, New York was the impetus for Idris Solomon’s thriving career, an illustrious journey that has taken his talents to the likes of The New York Times, Amazon – and most recently, HBO.
“Growing up with just me and my mom, we had to move around a lot,” Idris, a byproduct of a single-parent household, told Bohten in an exclusive interview.
He didn’t realize it at the time, but constantly relocating around the city exposed him to the breadth and diversity of people and their cultures, specifically in the African American community. It inevitably sparked his desire to tell the stories through photography and art.
So in 1999, the photojournalist enrolled at Binghamton University where he briefly studied graphic design. Determined to begin his professional career, he started out proofreading before becoming a broadcast designer for NBA TV. Then then went on to become a senior art director for Havas Worldwide, a renowned French multinational advertising and public relations company, headquartered in Paris.
His big break, though, he recalls, was receiving the 2016 Fulbright award to conduct creative research in Ghana. Through photography, he documented specific Ghanaian traditions and its influences on Western culture.
“As soon as I touched down in Ghana I broke down in tears,” said the married father of one who recounts the powerful and awakening moment of finally “finding home.”
It immediately became clear to him that the West African country was where he belonged, so much so that he decided to adopt Ghana as his home country.
“[Ghana] felt so familiar and the people there were so beautiful,” he said.
His work in Ghana included capturing eye-catching shots of Ghanaian musicians throughout Accra and telling the visual story of Yemaya, the dance performances of great mothers who live and rule over the seas. While there he also partnered with Bohten to produce Ultra Culture, a first of its kind campaign aligned with the culture, stories and rich heritage of how Africans adorn themselves.
Fast forward four years later, Idris is now in charge of visuals for HBO’s latest series, Lovecraft Country, a powerful and captivating American drama horror television series that explores the story of a Black man who travels across the United States during the 1950s segregation era in search of his missing father.
“It’s been a blessing to work on this show because there are so many creative opportunities,” he said. “From week to week, viewers will see how much thought went into this show.”
Moving forward, Idris hopes to find inspiration for future works through other Black creatives. One of his vices is Instagram, he said. A place that “feels like a museum filled with dope, inspirational stuff.”
But most importantly, his drive is fueled by his son.
“My son motivates me in ways I could never imagine,” he ended. “I want him to be inspired by my actions and learn that the world is in his hands.”
Lovecraft Country airs every Sunday at 9:00 p.m. on HBO.