Phillip Callahan is a changemaker. By spending many hours self-taught with an artist’s natural instincts, his unplanned photographs caught national attention last summer for Toledo’s Black Lives Matter events, as did his first photo of the urban landscape he calls home.
Callahan founded OwlVision LLC and made a name for himself at music concerts while networking in Detroit, Chicago, and LA. His brand represents persistence and determination, and it is his dream to take that point of view worldwide. When Callahan isn’t filming, editing or creating, you can find him working with Feed the Hungry, giving back to Toledo and breaking new ground.
I have a tattoo that says “Be the Change”
“I grew up in a difficult home so it wasn’t easy. I went through difficulties, I dropped out of school for a year. Such (creative) things just didn’t exist in my family. Basically. I’ll be the first to own a company … I’ll be the first to graduate. ‘Be the Change’ stayed with me and it’s been my motto ever since. “
I used to take photos with my iPhone 5s.
“One of the pictures I took of Toledo in 2013 or 2014 somehow went viral. It had over 200 stocks and was all over people’s Facebook covers. Me and my pals were going to a concert in Cleveland and (one of them) just handed me the camera one night and I went and took pictures. And sure enough, I wake up the next morning and the photos I took are on their Instagram pages and they tagged me and it just stayed that way. Later I got closer to the artists and it’s been a great trip ever since. “
I took the risk of being self-taught and it paid off.
“It was definitely a trip with many long nights. I was accepted into LA Film School and two weeks later I literally ran into (music artist) G-Eazy’s photographer, his cameraman. And he said to me, ‘It’s not worth it. Everything you need to know can be learned from Google or YouTube. At first I was skeptical of the advice, I didn’t know if this man just didn’t want me to be successful or what. But in the end I listened to the advice and indeed, here I am. You know, at the time when I was a nobody, I literally had a couple of supporters. “
I wasn’t there to take photos …
“I went there to raise a voice, to make a change. My photo that I took for the Black Lives Matter meeting was the strongest. As I said, I didn’t originally go (to the meeting) to take pictures, but all of these people were telling me to “take pictures” and “capture this moment in history”. This photo went viral. And 13abc actually gave me a segment. It (the photo) was on CNN and ABC … I wasn’t expecting that. “
Stick to the obstacles and make it happen
“In the truest sense of the word, don’t give up. You will go through tough times. You will go through every emotion – you get sad, happy, you get angry. You will feel like there is nothing you can do, but there is always something. Especially right now how the world is with COVID and everyone is basically locked down, I’m just trying to make people feel like they’re still there, you know? Bring out the beautiful. “