Interview With DRO From The 305
DRO is a Miami based hip-hop photographer. He also runs a popular blog and forums at The305.com. Above is an image he made of Hip Hop/Rock artist Quote. Below is the interview with DRO.
NT: What's your name, what do you do and how'd you get started...
DRO: What up! My name is David Rosario and I also go by "DRO". I'm a portrait and event photographer from down here in Miami and I also own and operate a Miami-based blog site, The305.Com that covers music, fashion and entertainment from a Miami-perspective. As a photographer, I have shot like black-and-white photos since I was like 13, but my first "official shoot" was when I was like 18, which was for Pitbull back in early 2003 when he was starting out. And from there and on, I grew into shooting all kinds of hip-hop artists and shooting tons of events in Miami, as well as New York.
NT: What kind of photography do you do, how does that relate to music?
DRO: I primarily do work for a lot of hip-hop artists and I love incorporating as much of Miami as I can into my photography.
NT: How long have you had the blog and how many people visit?
DRO: The305.Com has been an active website since October of 2002, and we actually won the Miami New Times "People's Choice Award" for Best Local Website back in 2003. We won that less than six months from our original launch, which at the time was a proud moment for me because the site was widely accepted immediately and it just happened so fast. But, in its current form, The305.Com has been set up as a blog for about a year now. And I'll definitely tell you that as soon as I made into a blog, the site really grew tremendously to a point that I could never imagine. The last year or so has definitely opened a lot of doors for me and has helped me build a lot of relationships. We get thousands of unique visitors a day, mostly from Miami, but we definitely get thousands from all over the country as well because we also post a couple nationally focused stories. Anything I post in regards to Kanye's current girlfriend of the moment, Amber Rose. I get hundreds or even thousands a people a day just on those posts alone.
NT: Favorite photoshoot?
DRO: Definitely has to be my "Scarface Remixed" photoshoot, where we basically took scenes from1983 movie and Miami & hip-hop classic, Scarface, and remade it by recreating some of the scenes for our photo shoot. The twist was that the lead character, Scarface, was now a female in our version. I have to shout Jessie Camacho for being such a great sport on 12-hour long photo shoot and to Angie Garcia because she was the creative brain behind the concept and really put it all together and made it happen. But it was definitely great to see an idea go from being written on a napkin, to then being published and seeing it come to fruition right in front of your face. See it here:
NT: Speak to your experience with the site getting shut down over a copyright claim.
DRO: Well, out of nowhere I get this email from GrayZone, Inc saying that I was infringing on copyrights by posting a Flo-Rida video on The305.Com. My hosting service also got a copy of the letter and immediately shut me down to cover themselves from any legal action. The video wasn't even hosted on my server, it was linked and embedded from a popular hip-hop video hosting site. So upon all of this happening, I called my Atlantic Records contact and they had no knowledge of why GrayZone would send those infringement notices to me and to make a long story short, they made GrayZone retract and rescind their accusations and admit fault for sending that original notice by mistake. I basically came to the conclusion, that these lawyers and watchdog groups, as well as record labels, need to get with the times and embrace blogs and websites because if they don't they will pretty much end up losing millions more in the long run.
NT: What labels or entities do you feel understand the new dynamics of the music business?
DRO: Honestly I'm not sure because I think the music industry is so messed up right now that everybody is scrambling looking for the quick-fix to the recent decline of sales and profits. But I can tell you that T-Pain is definitely ahead of the curve by announcing his Digital Distributed Record Label, Nappy Boy Digital, because that is definitely the wave of the future. It just makes sense to do so. I don't know anyone who still uses a CD Player anymore...seriously. So that is definitely a step in the right direction.
NT: How do you protect your images from right click save as, or does that even matter to you?
DRO: Usually, as long as someone gives me credit as photographer and mentions where they got my image from, I'm totally fine with it. As long as they're not making any profit out of my image(s)...I don't have an issue. The way I see it...the more my images are out there, the better it is for me in the long run as far as recognition. But give credit where its do!
NT: What local underground/independent artists should the people look out for?
DRO: Mayday! and Artofficial are definitely my two local favorites that have national appeal and are just overall very talented and an extremely humble group of individuals. I wish them both much success! And elsewhere in the country, I have to big up WALE, Amanda Diva and Kid Sister. Those three definitely stay on repeat on my iPod and I definitely follow their Twitters religiously!!! (Lol)
NT: How can people contract your services?
DRO: Well definitely, if you need a photographer for anything - from hip-hop artists working on albums, model portfolios, events, family functions, and even weddings, I am available for hire and I am flexible on any budget, especially during these economic times. And I know that could be very helpful to a lot of people. I'm all about making sure everyone is happy and gets exactly what they need at the end of the day. All of my contact information (email and phone) is on my website www.davidrosario.com
NT: Any closing words?
DRO: Look out for a couple big projects coming soon from me as a photographer and from The305.com. I try to represent what Miami is all about...all day everyday. And...obviously, check The305.Com daily for the latest music,fashion, and random randomness.