Dexter Navy is the self-taught visual maestro championed by A$AP Rocky – see his gritty rainbow trip to the Blue City in the third of our travel diaries
The DZDNMD Diaries is a new travel series on Dazed. We've invited four of our favourite globetrotting photographers to document their adventures of inspiration and exploration. In a digital age of Instagram geo-tags, the series in collaboration with adidas Originals, offers a deeper view into where these creative nomads are checking into
Dexter Navy is the twenty-four year-old photographer and director behind A$AP Rocky’s trippy, VMA and Grammy-nominated video "L$D". The quintessential recipe for snowballing success, he is talented, charismatic, driven, and effortlessly easy-going. "The idea for one of my videos with Rocky just came from chilling with him one day", he tells us. "Within a week we were flying out to make it happen". Breaking his own jet-setting record by touching down in five countries within 36 hours, in the last couple of years Navy has travelled to Tokyo on a psychedelic trip for "L$D"; Paris for his RBMA ode to the creative hustlers of the city; L.A to shoot rapper Travi$ Scott; Miami to film Drake on the decks; Havanna on behalf of the namesake rum; and his hometown London to open his first solo show, shoot his mates' music videos and snap Kanye West at KoKo. Live fast, die young, he’s also snapped M.I.A, and we'd be fools not to expect more from the Navy-Rocky alliance, given their 2016 Grammy nomination for Best Music Video. "If the last thing I did was for Rocky, I’d be happy", he avows.
When we caught Navy just before he was heading off to Miami for Art Basel, he was fresh off the plane from Morocco where he completed the third journey in our series of DZDNMD Diaries. From the Northern port city of Tangiers, three hours south to Chefchaouen (aka the Blue City), Navy captured the azure-coated houses, market kids and orange-selling locals with his Contax T2 – an upgrade on the simple point and shoot he uses for most of his work. "I’ve been using 35mm film since I was a kid. It’s only got 36 exposures so you’ve got to make every shot count." Favouring analogue over digital, the self-taught photographer was denied admission to his London university of choice. But there's no doubt that Navy personifies the reason why debt-ridden education is far from the only route to 'making it'. "I’d love do a career lecture where I’d just tell the students to run, go do your own thing." Speaking of his equally errant journey through Morocco he reveals, "we didn't follow a strict route, we just wanted to see the gritty areas and places where the locals would be. Out of all the places we saw, Chefchaouen was a breadth of fresh air because of the colour. It reminded me of Portobello Road, where I’m from." Scroll down below to trace his rainbow roadtrip.
"I just drove around without any specific plan, just asking my friend to see the grittier side of Tangier. I like being in the middle of it, not the posh areas. There's not much point going where nothing really happens"
"This guy had great rings, he showed me where I could get some of my own. They make them in Morocco, loads of different ones. I ended up getting five. Just silver with little gems"
"On the first day in Tangiers we walked into one of the souks where they sell spice, food, clothing, everything. They're really, truly always selling stuff in Morocco on every street corner. They could be selling TVs, cups, whatever… this man was selling spices. There was a whole area of the souk dedicated to them"
"Morocco produces a lot of oranges, they sell them everywhere. The name tangerine comes from Tangiers"
"On the way to Chefchaouen I saw this Berber lady herding her cow"
"I saw this deaf man sitting in the field. He might have been blind too because when I tried talking to him he just carried on doing what he was doing"
"I’m a big fan of long shots and long takes, I hate cutting too much. One of my favourite films La Haine (1995) uses long takes really well"
"We took a walk from the bottom of Chefchaouen, to the highest peak and back round. There are hundreds of winding streets. It took us about three hours to do the whole thing back and forth, so we took our time, ate food, walked around, saw craftsmen, kids playing and little cats taking a nap"
"This is an old gentleman who I thought looked amazing. When I tried to take his picture, his mate put his hand in the way. But I still like it because you can see his eyes and features. He looks like he's lived"
"All the kids there are so quick and naughty. When I tried to take a picture of some of them, they were like ‘Don’t let me take a picture of you. He’s gonna hang you on Facebook!' I love how this shot shows all the generations, if there was one more kid in it would be perfect"
"This kid was saying hi to me as we were driving by"
And the soundtrack to Navy's trip was...
"Round Whippin by A.CHAL was one of the favourite songs on my journey"
See below to glimpse more of Navy's trip and find out about our #DZDNMD competition
For a special winter edition of #dazedandexposed, we want you to INSPIRE us with your travel photography! Inspired by adidas Original's new NMD silhouette, show us your global nomadic spirit – summer road trips, winter escapes, jungle adventures, futuristic cityscapes. The best posts will be shared on the Dazed Instagram and featured on dazeddigital.com as well as the adidas Originals Tumblr
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