Nearly half a century ago, Andy Warhol captured still headshots of your favourite celebrity icons: John Lennon, Debbie Harry, Mick Jagger, Dolly Parton, Grace Jones, etc. Forty years later, Gyasi Williams-Kirtley follows his path; however, her approach is nothing Warholian. Set against a darkened backdrop, each photograph is accompanied by a handwritten caption and a few are hand-drawn. Some are framed with flowers as if it was an “in memoriam” tribute.

Despite her youthful appearance, she holds the wisdom of a 40-year-old sage. Holding a pen by day and a camera by night, the journalist/photographer’s buzz ongoing project, Last Days discusses the brevity of life through Polaroids.

We chat about the fine line between fan vs. critic, how she got celebrities involved in her project and what an imaginary conversation with Amy Winehouse would be like (had she been alive since 2011).

As a journalist, you’ve interviewed so many accomplished musicians like Mac Miller and Kehlani. Since you are someone who is very passionate about music, how did these interviews shape your perception of music?

My perception of music comes from my parents. They shaped my musical palate and gave me the reins to explore different sounds from different cultures so my mind just works on a different level. The interviews I've done have nothing to do with that one bit. I did learn a lot about how the industry works from watching and interacting with people of that calibre.

Someone once told me that as music journalists, we have to separate the distinction as fans and critics as we can’t occupy both roles. Where do you stand on this? Were there moments in your interviews where you had to be a fan and critic?

If I'm not a fan of someone's music then I don't even bother to get to know them or figure out their story. There's nothing that moves me. Why invest time into who they are? I'm always a fan first. I separate work from pleasure, though very well. I try to keep everything very professional and write about the facts. No matter what, my obligation is to speak the truth, whether I'm a fan or not. Journalism requires discipline in that respect.

Why do you connect to music and how does it inspire your work as a photographer?

My work as a photographer is fairly new. I've been writing for five years but only shooting for one. I just got tired of having to search for someone to come along with me on my interviews. Most of the time I'm the only person who witnesses the moments that I do. That's really how I started. I couldn't let these moments go undocumented. I have a very strong do it yourself mentality.

For your Last Days project, you’ve featured Steve Aoki, Naomi Campbell, Jaden Smith and a handful of celebrities to pose for your polaroids. Since they are more high profile than the people you’ve previously interviewed for other publications, do you feel that their influence affects the message of the project?

That was the point of the project. I wanted to gather the untouchables. People who are rare and hard to get to. I wanted their voices because I know they have an impact and what they say can make a ripple in other people’s lives. That way I get a greater message across. People rarely take action unless someone "big" does something first.

What I love about Last Days is that it’s rooted in an extremely personal situation, which is your godmother’s passing. How has her death changed you?

I just think about life differently. At any moment you can be gone. Every day should be used wisely. Don't ever think that you have enough time because you really don't. Society makes you think in a reckless, live fast die young way..... it's really toxic. Life is very special and should be treated as such. Every day, you gotta thank God for creating you, and for keeping you here another day. Use that day to make progress in some way.

I remember you said that you want to speak to deceased icons like Amy Winehouse since you feel that she has “something important to say”. What conversations can you picture?

I don't know. I'd probably talk to Amy about her depression. I sometimes suffer from the same thing. If I spoke to another [celebrity] that was deceased, I'd want it to be about what they regret not doing. This is all hypothetical though.

If you are to photograph anyone dead or alive, who will it be?

Emmett Till.....for obvious and not so obvious reasons. Maybe Jesus, just to prove a point.

Since Last Days is an ongoing project, what other projects will you be doing throughout the year?

I'm not too sure, but Lord willing it's something that's impactful that will touch someone else and change their thinking.