In a competitive world full of photographers, Elianel Clinton is extremely passionate about his craft and makes it his top priority to be distinctive. The 20-year-old New Jersey native is constantly perfecting his photography aesthetic. His dedication and assiduous drive recently led to his second editorial being published by Solstice Magazine with a project titled Black Models Matter. Deriving his inspiration from a medium of things like magazines and the colors of walls, Clinton never limits himself. He is very well-versed in his field of study, allowing him to partake in other genres of photography.

As a photographer, you’re always thinking of new and interesting things to shoot. I’m currently working on perfecting my fashion photography while still shooting street, landscape and documentary.

Currently in his 3rd year of college, Clinton is pursuing a degree in photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology. With dreams of making it big one day, and getting THE call from Anna Wintour to shoot the next cover of Vogue, he also plans on relocating full time to New York or California depending on what opportunities become available to him.

Check out our extended interview with Eli below as he covers many topics including how his interest in photography sparked and what his plans are for the future.


Q: How did your journey and interest in photography come about? 

A: My journey and interest in photography all came about from way back when I was about 9/10 years old watching my father with his disposable camera that he took everywhere, literally always taking photos of my family and myself. I grasped that interest because I just loved the idea of being able to capture real life moments in a picture, and being able to have that photo forever is something else.

Q: Creatively, where do you find your inspiration?  

A: I find my inspiration from almost everywhere, from magazines to colors on the walls. I also really enjoy going through modeling agencies websites to get some inspo.


Q: I see you’re also into fashion, how would you describe your style? 

A: My styles constantly changing because I’m always falling in love with new trends. At the moment my wardrobe is filled with black, so I’m slowly drifting into adding some color into my life finally… we’ll see how long that lasts though lol.

Q: I know that you are a huge fan of Rihanna, what is your favorite album of hers and why? 

A: My favorite album from Rihanna has to be Anti. On top of seeing her perform it 3 times throughout the year with this album makes me love it even more. But Unapologetic is also neck and neck with Anti being my favorite.

Q: What has been your favorite project to work on thus far? 

A: My favorite project thus far that I’m working on is a longterm documentary photo essay of my family, “The Clintons.”

Q: You’re an avid Tumblr user, do you find a lot of your inspiration through the world of Tumblr and your feed? 

A: Tumblr has always gave me inspiration ever since the first day I created my account. I always screenshot photos all up and down my dashboard.


Q: Do you think Tumblr created a platform for you and the image you’ve built thus far? 

A: Tumblr most definitely created a major platform for me that I’ve never in my entire life would have thought would be possible. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d have supports that are constantly showing me love. Being on Tumblr also sparked my interest in pursuing my career in photography because Tumblrs all about blogging and posting pictures.

Q: Ultimately, what is your dream job?

A: My dream job is to get a phone call from Anna Wintour asking me to shoot the next cover for Vogue.

Q: Who are some of your favorite photographers?

A: Some of my favorite photographers are Mario Testino, Steven Klien and Steven Meisel.

Q: Is fashion photography primarily your focus and field of interest? 

A: Fashion photography most definitely isn’t my primary focus of interest. I want to venture out and keep shooting street, documentary and landscapes.

Q: If you could choose any celebrity to collaborate with who would it be and why? 

A: If I could collaborate with any celebrity it would have to be Rihanna. I feel that her and I would connect on such a creative level thats unexplainable. I feel that we’re both the same person, the only difference is she’s female and I’m male.

Q: You also partake in a lot of landscape photography, do you prefer one over the other?

A: I absolutely love landscape photography as much as I love fashion, street and documentary so theres no way I’d prefer one over the other.

Q: What does the future hold for Elianel Clinton? 

A: This is always a weird question to answer. Honestly, I don’t know what the future holds for me, I’m just going with the flow of things. Ideally, I hope to be a very well known photographer shooting magazine covers and building relationships with people in the industry.

Q: Any final thoughts you’d like to leave with the audience? 

A: I just want to say to anyone whose reading this, do what you love and love what you do no matter how difficult the process it. As long as you believe in yourself that you are strong enough to do it, thats all that matters because at the end of the day the only opinion that’ll matter is your own. Strive for success no matter how many obstacles you come across. Never give up.

Q: How can your supporters stay connected with you and your photography? 

A: All my supporters can stay connected with me and my work on both my Instagram (@ohyeahitseli) as well as on my website where you’ll find all my work (

*Check out a sneak peak of Eli’s “Black Models Matter” editorial. Full spread here –> Solstice Magazine editorial

About The Author

21 year old aspiring model and editor. Student at North Carolina A&T State University. I appreciate all aspects of art. Keep up with me Twitter @theBaronBleu & Instagram @baronbleu

Related Posts