Kwity Paye: #AthleteAnd Photographer


Brandon Parker


At first, he was just the designated iPhone photographer. 

No matter the situation or setting, no matter if it took five different angles, Kwity Paye’s family and friends could depend on him to get the right shot.

But the more that he experienced as a NFL player – like traveling to Ghana in 2022 after his rookie season for the first NFL Africa Camp – the more that Paye started seeing life through a different lens, both literally and figuratively.

“It's crazy because when you get a professional camera, it’s like anything you see now, you see as something that could be a really dope picture,” the Indianapolis Colts defender said. “There’s a lot of power in photography when it comes to the emotions and memories.”

Fresh off a trip to the storied Leica Camera Headquarters in Germany – where he and the Indianapolis Colts recently played the NFL’s final international game of the season -- Paye shared how his knack for photography has blossomed into a passion. 

What first got you interested in photography?

Whenever I took a picture or my boys took one, I’d find myself saying, “That’s not going to cut it.” (laughs) And then I’d take some at all different angles and try to get it just right. My boys would say, “You should lowkey get a camera,” but I’d brush it off because I didn’t know how to edit.
So it’s probably been the last three or four years of me wanting to get a camera. My girlfriend is really into cameras and after I got her one for Christmas last year, I decided to get one for myself, too. As I’ve been blessed to travel more and explore the world, I’ve found myself wanting to have better pictures and memory shots, so I’ve been really getting into it more.

What have you done to learn the ropes about photography to get better at it?

I wanted a camera to point and shoot at, something easy to get started. The Leica Q2 was the first one I bought and it’s still my favorite. My girlfriend has been teaching me a lot of stuff because she’s really good at editing. I want to start taking workshops on editing. I think I have a good eye for angles, so the next step is to learn how to use different lenses and manipulate an environment or room lighting to create different views.

“It's crazy because when you get a professional camera, it’s like anything you see now, you see as something that could be a really dope picture. There’s a lot of power in photography when it comes to the emotions and memories.”

Kwity Paye

What are some places or moments where you feel like you really captured memorable photos?

This past offseason, I went to the Bahamas and took my color camera because I thought it’d be the better one, and I did get some good shots. But then I went to my boy’s wedding in Mexico and brought the monochrome black-and-white camera, and that was crazy! I was able to send him some shots and I had people there asking me to send them stuff, too. That’s what really got me into bringing my camera a lot of places that I go so I can practice and capture great moments. Like this past offseason, I went to Toronto and saw the skyline. That was my first time being up that high with my camera to see how the city looks. It was pretty amazing.

Is it safe to say that photography has become the second love of your career behind football?

I’m really into fashion and going to shows, so photography definitely goes hand in hand with that and just the experiences that come from being around my team. We had a Halloween party and I took photos to send out to my teammates. And my girlfriend’s high school friend is having a baby shower and wants us to take pictures for her, so the opportunities are growing and are always there. We have like 15 to 20 cameras between us.
I remember David Turnley -- who’s a really famous photographer and shot photos for Michigan when I played there – he made a lookbook of all of our football moments, and when you look back at it, you get teary eyed to see how you grinded through all of that. All of those raw emotions and connections are packed into a photo. I want to create that for myself and those around me with aesthetically pleasing, cool photos.

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