It didn’t take long for Andrew “Buck” Long to realize he was not like most kids from Greenwood, Mississippi. The 22-year-old musician, photographer, and video editor didn’t care much for the “country boy” lifestyle of hunting and fishing prevalent in the Mississippi Delta.
Instead, at age 13, he took guitar lessons. He quit. Then found his love for guitar again at age 16.
“If there is one person I try to play like, it’s always been John Mayer,” he said. “He plays so melodically and knows how to express emotions through his guitar.”
Long said he doesn’t enjoy singing, but prefers making his guitar say what he is feeling. He has written many songs and even played lead guitar in several local bands, including Magnolia Grove and Level.
Like many musicians, Long said music is a stress reliever. He created his own label, Trippy Booth, where he has produced music videos and conducted photo shoots for local hip-hop artists.
Long’s photography career was born in the summer of 2017, but his love for photography began in high school. At age 17, he bought a camera for his girlfriend that he used more than she did. He would often see something that caught his eye and found himself thinking, “That would make a cool photo.”
Long said he dedicates his passion and drive to University of Mississippi journalism professor, Alysia Burton Steele.
“Steele was the first person in my life that really saw potential in me other than standard academics,” he said. “She saw skill and potential, and I immediately did anything and everything I could to steadily impress in photo journalism.”
He said without motivation and encouragement from Steele, he might not have have a photography career. Lately, Long has taken graduation and modeling pictures and done video production for local artists.
After only a year, Long has an extensive list of businesses that have used his photography. These include Bonfire Social Club, the Domain, Foxtrot clothing brand, MoveStrong, the Levee, Bell Athletics, and Alpha Apparel.
Long said Adobe Premiere has helped him succeed in video production. “Everyone essentially develops their own style, but I do not know what makes me different,” he said “I am just me, and have developed my own style over time, and it is constantly changing every time I edit. I am always trying something new or different.”
Long first realized he could have a photography when he was chosen to participate in Lens Collective, a photography education event led by Steele annually at the UM Meek School of Journalism and New Media.
“I love everything about photography,” he said, “from capturing moments stuck in time, to the editing process. I just love what I do, and I am happy. That is all I could ask for in life.”
His creativity is also evident in music. College friend Austin Elliot said Long is a great blues guitarist. “He is not the most structural player, but he knows how to play by feel and emotion, which is hard to find in most modern guitarists.”
Elliot compares Long’s style to musician Stevie Ray Vaughn, referencing his “aggressiveness and feel.” And when it comes to Long’s photography and video editing skills, Elliot sees potential.
“Buck has really improved his photo and video skills from when he first started,” Elliot said. “Now he is making money doing something he enjoys, and I am really happy for him . . . I think it would be cool if he tried to reach audiences from other parts of Mississippi and the South in general.”