BIOGRAPHY

North Little Rock, Arkansas native Robert Cain (Classy Cain) (b. 1999 Sacramento, CA) is a fashion photographer and creative marketing consultant formerly based in Claremont, California where he received his undergraduate degree in applied mathematics and media studies from Claremont McKenna College in 2021. Cain unites multiple disciplines of digital media by working at the intersection of photography, advertising, and marketing analytics in order to uncover relevant insights about diverse consumers and empower underrepresented communities through his lens. His efforts are motivated by a desire to promote a vision of global inclusivity and acceptance because as a gay black man he understands the importance of positive representation and intends to produce images that emote shamelessness, confidence, and authenticity.

In 2019, Cain spent the year studying media and photography at the American College of Thessaloniki in Greece as a Gilman Scholar and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. During his travels, he developed a deep curiosity about international culture as this was his first time traveling outside of the United States. In Prague, he exhibited images from his portrait series, Story in Color, at a local gallery, and two of the images were acquired by the CET Prague Study Abroad Program.

Cain wrote his undergraduate thesis on the history and practice of African American photography in which he explored the impacts of photographic images and camera technology on African American self image. This research reaffirmed his belief that "images influence our understanding of society and our relationship with ourselves. They construct our ways of seeing the world and our position within it, especially when the images we consume lead us to believe false narratives about access to space and definitions of beauty." Through photography, marked by a technique that infuses vibrant colors and expressive poses, Cain intends to produce style narratives and marketing campaigns/collateral that champion multicultural identities, especially ones centered around blackness and queerness.

In 2020, Cain helped Creative Marketing Strategist Destiny Yemayá Davis launch Hire Black Marketers, a global directory of black marketing talent designed to increase black and brown representation within the advertising industry by acting as a recruiting tool for agencies seeking diverse talent. The initiative earned 5,000+ followers across platforms and continues to gain new reach.

Prior to graduating from Claremont McKenna College, Cain spoke with CMC News about his portrait series, When A Black Woman Speaks, You Listen. Images from this project were featured in the publication along with a feature interview. Most recently, Cain was commissioned by his alma mater to take portraits of the Public Safety Team.


EDUCATION

BA in Applied Mathematics & Media Studies with a Data Science Sequence, Claremont McKenna College, 2021

Undergraduate Senior Thesis ~ Reimagining the Black Body through Portraiture: Interpreting the Functional and Societal Roles of Photography and the Reconstructive Power of Camera Technology and Photographic Images for African American Self Image

Semester Abroad in Fine Art Fashion Photography, Academy of Performing Arts, Prague, CZ, 2019

Semester Abroad in Communications, American College of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, GR, 2019


EXPERIENCE

Current Position ~ Multicultural Marketing Intern, Davila Multicultural Insights

Previous Gigs ~ Brand Strategist, Hire Black Marketers // Marketing Intern, Sourcefit // Visuals Intern, KIN Media

Professional CV ~ Resume


EXHIBITIONS

Group ~ Story in Color ~ Haircuts, Ex Post Gallery, Prague, CZ, December 9-13, 2019

Digital ~ When A Black Woman Speaks, You Listen ~ Artsteps


AWARDS

ANA MADE Internship Program, 2021

T Howard Final Talent Pool, 2021

Gilman Scholarship, 2018

UNCF STEM Scholarship, 2017

QuestBridge Finalist, 2016


PRESS

Interview ~ CMC News: Robert Cain ’21 focuses his camera on Black beauty, humanity, and truth


WRITING

Guest Post ~ Handshake: Handshake Helped Me Land 2 Internship Offers, and I Did Little to No Outreach

Opinion Piece ~ CMC Forum: Is CMC Truly Diverse if it Only Employs One Black Professor?

Feature Story ~ CMC Forum: “I’ve done it, and you can do it too.” Maya Love Talks Empowerment, Leading with Love, and Taking Risks

Investigative Report ~ CMC Forum: 2017 Fall Preview Conceals the Truth About Campus Culture

Using Format