Johan Bonilla, but most people know him as @Muhstee. Born in Cali, Colombia and raised in Woodhaven, Queens (NYC).
He photographs people in the underground and alternative scenes of NYC. Hardcore shows, fashion events, noise shows, raves, skaters, rappers, drag queens, performance artists and everything in between.
His goal is to document the underground culture that pretty much runs NYC in the after hours, when the light goes down.
Muhstee also dabbles in making abstract edits of his photographs giving a lot of his works a more surrealist look.
He has been taking photos of people for as long as he can remember, starting off with a simple little Android phone and making the best out of what he had at the time.
It has since then blossomed into his passion for capturing moments and people from all walks of life.
How long have you been living x shooting in NYC?
I’ve been living in NYC since I was 6 yrs old. I immigrated to the USA from Cali, Colombia as a kid and was raised out here in Woodhaven, Queens.
In terms of shooting, I’ve been doing it for about 5 yrs but only taking it really seriously just this year (2019)
What is it that attracts you to the city and the scenes your a part of there?
Originality and the hustle. Everyone is trying to be somebody here and I find it so dope. NYC is a mecca for creativity and everyone feeds off each other’s energy here. I see different acts and music I’ve never heard of before just by going to random shows. The people here are amazing and just different looking a lot of the time and that’s always amazed the fuck out of me.
You started out shooting on an mobile phone, I’m assuming you’ve came away from there, what are you typically shooting at the minute?
Yeah I did! I started taking photos of my friends all the time with my Google Nexus 5. It was like the best camera on a phone at the time and I was really big tech geek in those days. Some of my friends used to hate that I was always taking photos and discouraged me from doing so but it was always something so fun for me, and I always admired my friends for being so cool looking in my eyes. I couldn’t help myself but to capture them doing stupid shit and looking cool. Nowadays I only shoot on 35mm film, and I only use simple point and shoot cameras. Currently I’m using a Pentax branded one.
Out of artists in the City who do you fuck with at the minute?
Photography wise: Arnold Daniel, Lauren Lepore, Rayscorruptedmind.
Music wise: Show Me The Body, SneakyMahdi, City Morgue, Wiki, Deli Girls are some that come to mind. Check them outttt!
If not NYC where would you like to be shooting, what countries / cities and scenes have caught your attention?
Probably L.A. or Japan. I’ve also heard there’s a really dope hardcore scene in Bogota, Colombia that I’d love to go shoot very soon. Also would love to shoot in the UK and Brazil.
Top tips for anyone heading to NYC and looking to get into the nightlife your part of?
Don’t go to big known venues, try to get a friend who knows the scene to take u to a DIY venue, that’s where you truly see the shit creative genius of the underground tbh.
Have you anything planned for 2020 photography wise?
Planning to pump out a few zines next year, and get my photos into some more galleries.
Also really want to go on tour with a band and take photos of life on tour with them. Hopefully it’ll happen very soon!
Where can we find you online?
On Instagram! It’s @Muhstee