“No Sleeping in the Trophy Room” is REVOLT’s digital series hosted by Carlos Del Valle. This sit-down style show is a conversation series fueled by motivation, experience and truth, where Del Valle interviews successful individuals across different industries.
The hallmark of a great photographer is the ability to leave behind an intangible signature with each shot. This is the magic of photographer Kaito’s work. Pairing a unique eye with a chance opportunity and will to act, the young photog has created a lane that’s placed his lens opposite some of the industry’s biggest faces, all while capturing some of our time’s most iconic shots.
In the newest episode of “No Sleeping In The Trophy Room,” Kaito reflects on his earliest moments as a photographer, the opportunity that fostered his breakthrough, and how he refreshes his inspiration on a daily basis.
For him, his journey first began as a teenager when he happened to pick up shooting images of his cousin, who also doubled as an early influencer on Instagram circa 2013. Kaito elevated shoots on the weekend to cohesive Instagram feeds and quickly developed an eye that had him in demand in his local New Bedford, MA.
Citing the influence of colleagues and the likes of Steve Sweatpants, Kaito would soon adopt a familiar style of photography, snapping images of his surroundings in a striking form of street photography that continues to prevail to this day.
“After I started to perfect my craft in the street photography world, I had this opportunity with King Los,” Kaito recalls. From then on, he made the decision to relocate to Los Angeles, tasked with documenting King Los’ life as he finished an album.
“It was me sleeping on a couch, grinding all these hours, shooting content and I loved it,” says Kaito. “I was driven by that.
“The opportunity to get my foot in the door; to do what I loved to do.”
Kaito’s work with Los would eventually lead him toward work with Ray J which would, in turn, transform into a chance encounter at Diddy’s Malibu home one day.
“All of a sudden it was this perfect moment,” says Kaito. “Ray J was up by the bar and I saw Puff and his daughter on the beach.”
It was then that Kaito says he was faced with a decision: “Should I take my camera out my bag, and go take this picture and probably maybe get cussed out by Puff Daddy? In my head, I knew the right thing was just to do it. Closed mouths don’t get fed.”
In a full-circle moment, it was Los Antonio who uploaded the photos taken by Kaito that day. A life-changing conversation with Puff would come soon after. Since then, Kaito’s photography has become a staple of Diddy’s presence online, capturing his fair share of memorable shots including the viral moment of Diddy and JAY-Z at the 2018 Roc Nation Brunch and the Vanity Fair portraits of the mogul’s 50th birthday celebration.
“I knew where I wanted to go in life and I knew that, that was an opportunity that I’d been waiting for,” adds Kaito. “I could’ve just been like in the moment enjoying his house, but I knew I had something that I needed to do. I knew that If I shoot these photos, he’s gonna love it. That was the drive and the focus...when preparation meets opportunity, it’s a success.”
Even with such success, Kaito continues to display a hunger for much more. “There’s always room for learning,” he declares, as he reflects on a routine of tuning into YouTube tutorials or Annie Leibovitz masterclasses for the sake of engaging with something new.
As the young talent continues to look toward new opportunities and ventures, having forayed into directing for the Ciroc brand as well, he stresses the importance of looking out for his team in the quest for growth.
“A team makes you better and you make the team better,” he states. “I always treat them as best as I can. It takes a team to win.”
Kaito looks toward these same tenets of humility and leadership to craft words to live by.
“Master your art, be the best you can be, and don’t worry about just being famous,” he adds. “Believe you can do it. If I didn’t think that I could do it, I would never put the action in the play.”