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It's been an incredible journey for Cameron Look, who's gone from working in retail for Nike to becoming a photographer and working with stars ranging from LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal to Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper.

Look's latest project extends far beyond the traditional boundaries of what it means to be a photographer. He's designed a sneaker, collaborating with the Jordan brand to create a shoe Jayson Tatum donned in advance of Game 1 of Boston's Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Bucks.


Look joined Inside The Celtics for a conversation about his journey, the inspirations for the Air Jordan 36 Low 'Koolmac,' his relationship with Tatum, what it was like photographing the Celtics' star wearing sneakers Look designed, what's next for him, and more. Here's our discussion, edited for length, clarity and grammar.

Krivitsky: How would you describe your journey, going from working retail for Nike to designing Air Jordans?

Look: It's been a long and interesting Journey, for sure. Working in retail was one of my first jobs out of college. I was doing corporate event-planning, never took a class on photography, kind of, just picked it up and ran with it.

Originally, I was trying to sell my own merchandise, making t-shirts, hoodies, and hats. Good Looks was the name of my barber shop initially. So I took that name, applied it to my clothing brand, and when I started taking pictures, I started putting my Good Looks logo on the bottom corner of my pictures, telling myself: 'if this gets some traction or I get enough eyes on this, maybe it'll be easier to sell merch.'

But next thing you know, I just got so absorbed into photography that the merch just got pushed to the back, and all I was focused on was telling stories and seeing where the camera would take me. So definitely has not been a traditional route, nor something that I planned on throughout college. It's only been about four years, going on five now, with a camera, so everything has snowballed very quickly.


Krivitsky: And for the design, how did you decide on matcha, boba milk tea, and your AAPI heritage being the themes and the inspirations for this sneaker?

Look: Yeah, I just felt like this is a very, very special project and opportunity; it's not everyday that you get a chance to design a shoe, let alone with a brand like Jordan, with such a beautiful, decorated, cultural history. So even though there were a lot of different themes and plenty of colorways I wanted to do, I just felt like boba was something that resonated very strongly with Asians and Asian-Americans, something that's recognizable, that even if you don't drink it, you know what it is, and culturally, it was special to me, but also kind of contradicting and it would make people question, 'why is somebody like Jayson Tatum wearing a boba cup on his shoe?' 'Has he ever tried boba?' 'Does he even like matcha?'

And I think those types of questions and reactions are what I seek in my work when I take pictures or try to tell a story. I don't really necessarily care if you do or don't like it, but I do want you to stop and have an opinion and start to question and think about what you're looking at, and as long as you're doing that, I feel like my job has been accomplished.

Krivitsky: That dovetails perfectly into my next question, which is, how was the choice made, specifically for Jayson Tatum to be the one who debuted the Air Jordan 36 Low ‘Koolmac?’

Look: Jason, I've developed a cool relationship with him over the past few years. He trains in LA during the Summers with Drew Hanlen, so I have spent a lot of hours in a very closed gym setting, just documenting his journey in LA during the offseason. I don't get to see him too much during the season. But yeah, I just have a good relationship with him. We've always been real cool with each other. And I felt like he was somebody on the Jordan roster that I had a good relationship with, and it just made sense, Boston being green, the shoe being green, and somebody that I knew I could have fun with; it wouldn't just be a player wearing this shoe, it was a little deeper than that.


Krivitsky: So you had a past relationship with Tatum, and then whether it was a few days in advance or when you got to TD Garden for the game on Sunday, did you talk to him about the sneakers?

Look: Yeah, that was always the plan, even though I plan to put the shoe on a lot of other people, whether it's basketball or in other different spaces, entertainment, music, Jason was definitely one of the people that we initially wanted to target.

And yeah, I knew this would be happening for a decent amount of time. I touched base with him maybe a week or so before and just told him that I was finally getting my shoe in hand, and ironically, he already had the shoe when I texted him. He told me, 'it looks great. I already got it.' So yeah, I had a good idea that it was happening. I also told myself I'd believe it when I got there and saw it in person.

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But yeah, just really grateful for him to be able to debut my shoe like that, given the context that he's in the playoffs right now, everything is all about winning and making it to the Finals. So just the fact that he took the time out of his day to put that shoe on and not only be representation of my project, but I think the shoe stands for so much more than just me and a boba cup. It's about bringing Asian-American culture to the forefront. It's about showing people that you don't have to go to school to be a photographer. And being a photographer, what does that mean? Now we're designing Jordans. Now we have relationships with players. It's not just about pressing a button on a camera and sending it to somebody, it's about developing relationships and telling stories.


Krivitsky: You talked about that "I'll believe it when I see it" mentality, trying not to get too carried away about what might happen and keep your feet on the ground, but what were those emotions and the thoughts that went through your mind as you're at the TD Garden for a playoff game, photographing an NBA star wearing sneakers that you designed?

Look: I'll always be grateful for such a special opportunity. It was a beautiful moment. I was proud of myself. But simultaneously, I don't know, I've done a lot of things so far in my career, but I still have so much more that I want to accomplish. So even though this was a big moment for me, a special moment that I wanted to celebrate and enjoy, I never felt like this was the end goal or I made it. There are so many other things I want and opportunities I'm hoping that this leads to around design and footwear. So yeah, I was happy, but I'm telling myself that hopefully this is just the beginning, and this will lead to many more things down the road.

Krivitsky: And I'm curious to get your take, because to me, this is not just a basketball sneaker, it's something that people can wear in their everyday life, was that a goal of yours when making this?

Look: Yeah, a hundred percent. Me and the design team went back and forth. They have their objectives that they want to accomplish as a brand, and I had mine as well, and I definitely wanted the shoe to be wearable, knowing that green isn't necessarily the easiest color to throw on every day. But my goal was to have the shoe be something that people can wear on court that would catch peoples' eyes, but also a shoe that I can throw on to go get a cup of boba. I could dress it down as well and wear it with cargoes or basketball shorts off the court. I wanted this shoe to be seen and worn as much as possible, so that was definitely one of my main objectives behind the shoe.


Krivitsky: And then, if you can give people some insight here, because the attention to detail in the Air Jordan 36 Low 'Koolmac's' is really something that stands out. An easy example to notice is the laces matching the straw of the Boba milk tea. What are some of the other elements of how you designed the sneaker that you want to highlight?

Look: Yeah, so, obviously, boba was the theme. Like I touched on earlier, it's relatable. People know what it is whether they drink it or not. So yeah, I think that the tapioca balls on the bottom of the soul, simultaneously with the Jumpman logo on the bottom is just, anytime I'm getting co-branding, whether it's my Good Looks logo or the boba, the swoosh on the boba cup. To be able to use Nike and Jordan logos in such untraditional, unconventional ways, that's not always the easiest thing to get approval on, so the fact that we are able to do that, I think that it speaks volumes about how special the shoe was.


And yeah, in terms of design aspects on the shoe, the pink laces definitely, when I go drink boba, if there are pink straws, for some reason, I get a pink straw, so that ties back organically into my life and my story. And the insoles as well have tapioca balls on the inside, and the little character motif, the face as well, but I think the star of the shoe is definitely the boba cup with the swoosh as the lid. You don't see the swoosh used in ways like that very often. So to be able to do that and put that on the tongue of one of the shoes so that it's outward-facing, it's visible pretty much from any angle if you're looking at the shoe and have the Jumpman side-by-side with it on the other shoe, that was a dream come true for sure.

Krivitsky: Lastly, what's next for Cameron Look?

Look: I'm somebody that's always very focused and has a lot of goals that I want to accomplish, but I don't necessarily have an end goal as of now. I believe that what's meant for me will come to me. I'm still focused on photography as well as designing product. I sell a lot of basketballs, that's another side business that I do. I create custom basketballs. That's been a very good second business for me. So selling basketballs and just getting more design gigs, working with more brands and continuing to tell stories at the highest, most intimate level. I think those are what's on my plate as of now.

Bronnie's going into his senior year at Sierra Canyon. I've pretty much been telling that story since they moved to LA. So, this will be his last go-around, and I'm doing AAU with him right now this summer, so pretty much year-round with him. But shooting those games and shooting all Laker home games that's usually the base of my schedule throughout the year. On top of that, I'll pick up as many projects as possible.

Further Reading

Marcus Smart: 'Strong likelihood I'm back for Game 3'

What Stood Out from the Celtics' Win vs. Bucks in Game 2: Boston Gets Back to Winning Formula to Tie Series at 1

The Top 5 Plays from Game 1 Between the Celtics and Bucks

What Stood Out from the Celtics' Loss vs. Bucks in Game 1: Boston 'Caught Off Guard' by Milwaukee's Physicality in Series Opener

Report: Khris Middleton Expected to Miss Entire Second-Round Series vs. Celtics