Mr. Dope Pic: The man behind the lens
By Betsy Morales
Are you looking for a cameraman who has the vision? Well, meet Rafael “Ralphie” Fondeur, AKA “Mr. Dope Pic:” lowkey local celebrity and producer. Ralphie produces content for and promotes multiple establishments in the neighborhood, including Blend, Pita Pan and Il Fornaio Bakery. However, his claim to fame didn’t start in the restaurant industry.
Ralphie fell in love with photography when a friend of his needed help taking pictures in various clubs in NYC, one of them being China Club. From that moment on, his passion for photography, and later producing, took off. Ralphie tells us he particularly loves “capturing moments that cannot be replicated.” These great shots, or “dope pics,” paved the way for – you guessed it – his nickname, “Mr. Dope Pic.” His career proceeded to skyrocket as he went on to work with countless artists like Nas, DMX and DJ Khaled, to name a few.
One of his most memorable moments was while working for TMZ. Actress Rosario Dawson refused to do an interview, but instead, invited him to accompany her for dinner. Who says you can’t mix business with pleasure?
Ralphie explained that he loves the freedom of creating and pursuing his own vision and genuinely enjoys the entire process of shooting, editing and bringing his work to life.
As we all know, the COVID pandemic shut many a door for a while, including Ralphie’s. Fortunately for him, he was met with a whole new array of opportunities, one of which took place at the home of our Pizza Wars champion, sLICe Astoria Pizza. During the peak of the pandemic, sLICe was delivering pizza and food to hospitals, making sure our frontline workers were taken care of. Ralphie asked who was filming their selfless, charitable work, and was offered the gig! You can watch the final product on @sliceastoria’s IGTV, “1000 Slices.”
Through the years, Mr. Dope Pic has learned a lot from his unique career. He shares, “Every situation is about overstanding the moment,” because “when you understand, you are still not in control ‘cause you are under, but being over, you understand all ways around.” He advises us to “control the moment and you will control the future on your own terms.”
Be sure to show some love and give him a follow on Instagram @mrdopepic!