A kaiju-sized Scorpion is chasing Drake. Wait — why is that yellow Lamborghini flying? Is Aubrey Graham is now performing on top of a great white shark, like OVO got a contract to design a new SeaWorld? These are some of the questions you might have watching Gibson Hazard‘s latest video.
It’s hard to imagine that one of the minds putting together the visuals for the Aubrey & the Three Migos Tour — which finds Drake performing on, and surrounded by, video screens dominated by maximalist imagery — is a former baseball player from Boston whose first big break was photographing the frat rapper Sammy Adams. Then again, part of Gibson Hazard’s visual charm is how things you don’t expect keep bumping up against each other.
“I was kind of was like imagining an alternate reality in which the visuals came to life and actually were real,” the 22-year-old photographer and videographer said. “I was like, ‘What if the scorpion broke out of the stage and just caused havoc in Los Angeles? Or like Drake was standing on top of a real shark tank?’ I just wanted to imagine what that would look like.”
That surrealist, gothic imagery is a through-line in Gibson’s work. A raucous Lil Pump travels through raindrops. Dancers turn into skeletons. Billie Eilish jumps from a burning building like John McClane. It’s beautifully absurd. But Gibson Hazard Dintersmith’s current career as an in-demand photographer and videographer almost never happened.
“I was in a photography class in high school that I actually didn’t really like, but that was like my first introduction into photography at all,” Hazard explains of his sophomore class. “I honestly picked the class because it was easy and I had heard that it was a really easy A.”
Gibson speaks in a relaxed surfer drawl, explaining that his time at boarding school and preoccupation with baseball largely distracted him from thinking of photography as a career. Eventually, he developed a fledgling system that gave him more inspiration to shoot outside of his dormitory and friend circle.
“There was this venue near me called [The] Middle East and I would just like hustle, and anybody that was on the lineup for that week or that month or whatever, I would just email the openers and just try to get a photo pass for. So like literally whoever was there. Sometimes it was people with like 40 followers.”
The first show he photographed was Mod Sun, but it wasn’t until Sammy Adams shared one of his photos on Instagram that Hazard began to gain momentum. He’d eventually go on tour with his roommate, William Bolton, teaching himself how to film out of necessity. “I wanted to get on tours as a photographer and a lot of people wanted a photographer and a videographer. So I was in this position where like if I went on a tour, they would also probably have to bring a videographer. So it wasn’t, like, a super marketable pitch.”
Learning how to do both brought Hazard to where he is now, documenting tour stops for Future, G-Eazy, 6LACK and Lil Pump. Which then led to OVO reaching out to him in June, to help design the visuals for the Aubrey & the Three Migos Tour — along with a specially selected team.
“There was a director involved that Drake’s team brought on, and then there was a team that was kind of, like, based in Russia that actually designed a bunch of the visuals,” he said. “So I was kind of brought in as an in-between person [who] understood the show concept and stuff like that and had been involved in a bunch of concerts, but also understood 3-D and could work with this team to create a really dynamic show. Cause they do a lot of crazy graphics and presentations and car shows and stuff like that, but hadn’t done a lot of like concert work.”
Gibson worked on the video for six weeks, incorporating new software into his process. The result is disorienting, a promotion catches attention in a world where constant promo is baked into the DNA of society. Scrolling through Hazard’s, work it’s apparent artists trust him with their image. As his videos views grow, so does his access. “I think being selfless is a big part of it,” he said his theory on gaining trust from some of the biggest names in music. “Just making it clear that you’re there to help them with their brand and whatever they want for the video is what you’re trying to do.”