Jackson, Mississippi, United States
|Occupation||Photographer, Illustrator, Director, Producer, Personality|
Derek Blanks was born in Jackson, Mississippi. He is the middle twin of three siblings.
Blanks attended Murrah High School in Jackson, MS enrolled in APAC: The Academic and Performing Arts Complex open to eligible student’s grades 4-12.
In 2000, Blanks graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD whereas he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration. Upon graduation, Blanks worked in commercial design, illustration and freelance photography through work with The Baltimore Sun and illustrated children's book, “Up in the Learning Tree” published by Lee & Low Books.
In 2009, Blanks collaborated with NeNe Leakes by photographing the cast of Real Housewives of Atlanta for his Alter Ego portrait series. Blanks photographed several more celebrities for the series including Chaka Khan, Taraji P. Henson, Blair Underwood, Snoop Dogg, Janelle Monae, Rockmond Dunbar, Hill Harper, Faith Evans, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Brandy, Boris Kodjoe, Terrell Owens, Angela Bassett, Cover Girl, Nicole Ari Parker, Mike Epps, Eva Marcille, Akon, Cedric The Entertainer, Columbus Short, and more.
Print and Advertising
In October 2011, Blanks became a cover and features photographer for, Essence. Derek Blanks/ESSENCE covers include Wendy Williams: The Girl Friends Issue, Angela Bassett: Black Women In Hollywood 2011; features include 2011 Do Right Men featuring Amare Stoudemire, A Few Good Men: The Cast of Red Tails, Don Lemon: Transparent and Black Women in Hollywood 2011 featuring Viola Davis, Loretta Devine and Amber Riley of Glee. Other Blanks images have graced the covers and pages of Billboard, Maxim, People, Ebony, Life & Style, PEOPLE en Espanol, Uptown, Jet, Modern Luxury, Runway, Upscale and more.
Blanks has photographed print and advertising campaigns for BET Networks including The Mo'Nique Show, The Game (Season 4 and 5), Let’s Stay Together (Season 1 and 2), College Hill: Atlanta and Miami, Baldwin Hills, Reed Between The Lines, Toya: A Family Affair, Family Crews, Monica: Still Standing and Tiny and Toya. Additional print campaigns include WeTv’s Braxton Family Values and Mary Mary.
In late 2011, Blanks began transitioning into the world of video with his directorial music video debut featuring America's Next Top Model contestant Dominique Reighard and "Charades" by Chrisette Michele from Audrey Hepburn: An Audio Visual Presentation and "Party or Go Home" by Trina Braxton. In 2014, Blanks took on the role of music video directing for Faith Evans' single, "I Deserve It", featuring Missy Elliott and Sharaya J.
- Albums and directing
- Faith Evans featuring Missy Elliott & Sharaya J - "I Deserve It" (directing role)
- BeBe and CeCe Winans - "Still"
- CeCe Winans - For Always: The Best of CeCe Winans
- CeCe Winans - Songs of Emotional Healing
- Ciara - Fantasy Ride
- Deitrick Haddon - Church on the Moon
- Dondria - Dondria vs. Phatfffat
- Donell Jones - "Lyrics"
- Faith Evans - Something About Faith
- Fantasia - Back to Me
- Juanita Bynum - The Diary of Juanita Bynum
- Kelly Price - Kelly
- Kelly Rowland - Here I Am
- Keyshia Cole - Woman to Woman
- Lalah Hathaway - Where It All Begins
- LaShun Pace - Reborn
- Ledisi - Pieces of Me
- Mary Mary - "Go Get It"
- Monica - New Life
- PJ Morton - "Walk Alone"
- Richard Smallwood - With Vision... Promises
- Ruben Studdard - Letters from Birmingham
- Sheri Jones-Moffett - "Renewed"
- SWV - I Missed Us
- T-Pain - Revolver
- Tamela Mann - The Master Plan
- Tedd Winn - Balance
- Magazine and reality television shoots
- Alter Ego Portrait Series
- Real Housewives of Atlanta Alter Ego Portraits
- The Insider Extreme Makeovers
- Essence Magazine Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon
- Melanie Fiona Alter Ego shoot
- Michelle Williams Alter Ego shoot
- Amber Riley in Essence Magazine
- Lizzie Wright (April 22, 2009). "[Dish] Derek Blanks: Incorporating Richness". USA: Jackson Free Press. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Hasselbladusa (February 3, 2008). "Hasselblad Photographer Derek Blanks". USA: Hasselbladusa.com. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Lee & Low Books (2006). "Up The Learning Tree". USA: LeeandLow.com. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Office of Undergraduate Admissions (September 24, 2009). "Maryland Institute College of Art Careertrack". USA: mica.edu. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Rodney Ho (September 24, 2009). "A Talk with Derek Blanks, Atlanta alter ego photographer for 'Real Housewives of Atlanta'". USA: AJC.com. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Atlantic Records (November 9, 2011). "Day26 Presents: The "Alter Ego" Photoshoot by Derek Blanks". USA: Atlantic Records. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Jessica C. Andrews (April 11, 2011). "From Ebony to Jones Magazine: The Best of The Spring 2011 Issues". USA: Coco and Creme. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Lara Martin (November 18, 2011). "'America's Next Top Model' Dominique Reighard on music, future: Q&A". USA: Digital Spy. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Pearson, Joi (8 August 2014). "Faith Evans' 'I Deserve' BTS Atlanta video shoot". rollingout.com. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
- DBlanks (2009). "Portfolio: Alter Ego". USA: Dblanks.com. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Bravo (2009). "Alter Egos Revealed". USA: Bravotv.com. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Insider (September 29, 2011). "Kevin & Brooke channel Lady Gaga and Kanye". USA: Insider.com. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Essence (2009). "ESSENCE 'Black Women in Hollywood' Photo Booth". USA: Essence.com. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Yolanda Sangweni (2009). "Exclusive: Melanie Fiona on 'Every Woman' Campaign". USA: Essence.com. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Hillary Busis (February 3, 2011). "'Glee' diva Amber Riley channels Chaka Khan in this month's 'Essence'". USA: Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 18, 2012.