Almost 200 people came to Jazmo’s, a local downtown bar, to support Trey “Rayno” Malone, an up-and-coming photographer from Southern Miss.
Rayno, as his friends call him, is a senior at Southern Miss majoring in media production. He has been shooting pictures for over a year and believes his quick success should be attributed to his love of people and documenting events.
“The first time I started taking pictures it was pretty bad, but I just stuck with it. I went from shooting small stuff to these big portraits of rappers.” Malone said, “I always loved photography in general. I love documenting people. What I really want to do with photography—or just media period—is I want to be the person who documents these great events in music.”
Malone’s goal is to become a photographer for a major music media outlet like Complex or The Fader, and do tour photography. This should be evident by the number of rappers he has photographed in the exhibit.
Malone stressed the fact that he was using a basic camera, a Nikon D3300. “I thought everyone had these big cameras, so I couldn’t do it.” Malone said. “They are more professional, but I found my pictures were twice as good. Not to sound braggy, but it is just because it is not always about what you have. It is about the artistic vision.
Writer and professional blogger Sydney Lucero agrees with Malone’s sentiment. She said that he has the eye for photography and elaborated, “The work of color is the greatest thing about them. There is an essence being captured with the color.”
Lucero’s friend John Hollins said that he thinks it is great to see a young photographer getting his work out that. “He captures the essence of hip hop, it’s really beautiful,” Hollins said.
Kennedy Thompson, senior kinesiotherapy major, said that she knows Malone because he takes pictures of a lot of her friends, and that he is a known around campus for the quality pictures he produces.
Junior psychology major Japriest Jerry said he met Malone when he was his RA during his freshman years and has followed him since. Both would come to an event like this again.
“Basically, what I do is spectate and try to cultivate and give artists a platform for art, music, dancing and poetry,” Trey Sullivan, the owner of Jazmo’s, said. “I have been watching Malone from afar; taking pictures of artists and people in general while developing his style, so I really wanted to give him a platform to show his talents to the world.”
“Downtown is the heart of the city,” Sullivan said. “It is something fresh, promoting something different culturally for the city and his bringing all the cultures together. It is pretty cool to have all the places downtown come together and make a movement.”
During the event, the cops came on a noise complaint that was called in by the neighboring apartments. The Hattiesburg police declined to speak on the matter, but Sullivan said that there are a lot of apartments nearby and complied with the police by shutting the entrance and turning the music down.
Malone has yet to plan another exhibition, but says he has some ideas on his next steps. Jazmo’s holds open mic nights every Thursday from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Sullivan said he has something special planned for Hub Fest this year. You can find a list of the events planned at Jazmo’s on their Facebook page.