I Can Do Anything

Five years as a photographer and Mahdi Gransberry(Freakish Nerd) is still trying to figure out why he chose the photography life. It's one of those things you can't explain—it's just something he was meant to do. 

He begun taking photography seriously after being a part of Marquette's Urban Journalism Workshop. At first, Mahdi enjoyed capturing moments in time, now his goal is to capture emotion. 

When Mahdi takes pictures at concerts, he wants to "get the vibe of the show into a photograph" because "you should be able see who they [the performers] are" by looking at one of his pictures.

Dreams of being a pilot, then an actor, then an architecture, and somehow Mahdi plans on accomplishing them all. 

"I still want to do everything."

Mahdi's trying to find the best way to conquer all of his dreams because just like Donald Glover, Mahdi doesn't want to be put in a box. 

But as of right now, photography and videography are his main priorities. Mahdi's goal is to "never to stop shooting," no matter how many of his dreams he makes come true.

He hopes to one day shoot for The Fader, tour with musicians, and have his own gallery. 

He's a freelancer for local artists around Milwaukee, CopyWrite Magazine, and he's always doing shoots for Instant Karma Apparel. 

Mahdi's work is all over the Brew city, but eventually he wants his work to be seen all over the world.

"My friends are always plugging me," said Mahdi. "They push me to be more and in turn, I do the same."

Thanks to his friends Lex Allen and DJ Poizon Ivy, Mahdi was able to get his talent and his name into the outside world. Lex Allen was the first artist Mahdi shot for and he helped Mahdi get to where he is today. 

"I owe a lot to them."

Mahdi went to Milwaukee High School of the Arts as a music major, but that never stopped him from venturing into other departments. He was in the theater, art, and the creative writing department. Mahdi had his foot in so much stuff that people forgot what his actual major was.

"I would literally be everywhere."

He played the saxophone in high school and started studying music at the age of six. 

In five years, Mahdi will have finished a couple short films, have a staff writing job on some television show, and he'll still be doing freelance photography. He'll be in a new city doing new things, but he'll always remember where he started—Milwaukee, WI.

Mahdi's favorite shoot he's done so far is of Milwaukee rapper Shaun Flow because of how open he was. Shaun Flow was rebranding himself and without much instruction from Mahdi, Shaun Flow made the shoot "super fun."

"He was able to let himself be."

Shaun Flow let his hair down and Mahdi was able to capture that black boy magic.

When Mahdi works with a client, he has to first talk with them. He likes to hear their ideas and thoughts, and if they don't have any that's when he comes in. Mahdi will not only provide ideas for the shoot, but he'll help pick out the wardrobe, if needed.

Mahdi has visited a lot of places but he wants to feel what it's like to live in a different city. He wants to take the best aspects out of every place he goes to and bring them to Milwaukee. The goal is to "elevate and unite the creative culture that's already here." He's tired of seeing people only work or hang out with their "squad" because once the city comes together, everyone can prosper. 

Some days, Mahdi is an introvert struggling to be an extrovert. And other days, he's an extrovert stuck in his introversion. Because of these two dichotomies, he can come off as weird even if he's not trying to be.

"I'm just trying to find that balance."

To him, there's a whole spectrum of grey tones in everything in life and he's just "trying to find that perfect shade."