By Kaden Gaylord, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School
Louisville native Keilen Frazier’s love for comics and love for sports intertwined when he first saw Spiderman. He was 8 years old, sitting on his couch at home and instantly had an adrenaline rush. The superhero became one of his inspirations.
“When I saw Spiderman capture the moment by taking pictures and being a superhero at the same time, I wanted to be just like him, and he inspired me to be involved a lot with sports and photography,” he said.
Frazier, 15, will be a junior at Fern Creek High School. Frazier has an older sister Azariah and a younger brother Braxton. He spent a lot of his childhood traveling across the country and even across the border. Frazier has been to 15 states, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
When he was home, he spent most of his time watching cartoons but eventually his friends convinced him to be active and to start playing sports.
Frazier said he wants to play every sport invented so he can experience everything and share moments with individuals.
Another inspiration to Frazier is Jimmy Olsen, the fictional photojournalist in the DC Comics Universe that worked with and idolized Superman.
“Even though he was always in the face of danger, he didn’t shy away. He always went to get his story in the face of fear,” Frazier said.
Horst Faas, a two-time Pulitzer winner, awarded for his combat photography in the Vietnam War, was his real-life photography inspiration.
“During his terrible experiences being in the war, he still got back to his roots, taking pictures,” Frazier said.
Frazier said he feels like he is on an island when it comes to his vision in life.
“Nobody understands me,” Frazier said. “I always think outside the box, the stuff people think is weird. It isn’t weird, it’s just different, next level…name one genius that isn’t crazy.”
The moment that Frazier knew he wanted to be a photographer was his first time being on air in the fifth grade as a field reporter covering the announcements.
“That feeling being in front of the camera was just exhilarating,” he said.
Frazier said he is driven by his peers, family and competition.
“Whether it’s skipping a football practice or choosing what events are better for me, my career comes first,” he said.
He said he treats photojournalism like an athlete treats his sport. Frazier practices daily to make his skills better than everyone else.
“Every event I go to I take about 200 pictures,” he said. “It is also a way I can combine my photos while adding an article to go with it.”
Frazier is focused on his future aspirations.
Frazier said he wants to be the greatest photojournalist ever, and with every decision he makes, he puts his career first.
As a young photojournalist, it takes a lot to get from place to place to cover an event.
“I have a great support system around me, especially my parents. They encourage me to take advantage of every opportunity to be a better journalist,” he said.
Frazier said being a young African-American male gives him more to prove and gives him the chance to share his viewpoint on life.
“I’ve seen life from all different lifestyles, the good, bad and worse and I show that in my photos,” he said.
In our society, with racial problems increasing, photography gives him the chance to show his talent and be the best he can be. That’s why Faas is one of his inspirations for what he did during the Vietnam War.
“If he could do it during a war I can do it while being discriminated,” Frazier said.
Frazier said he plans to study journalism and attend Western Kentucky University. Frazier said because he wants to be the best, he wants to attend one of the best schools. WKU is one of the top schools in the nation for photojournalism, according to the Hearst Journalism Awards Program’s website.
“My dream is to be a Hilltopper,” Frazier said. “No other school comes to mind.”