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This photo began as a personal project and eventually became the most amazing moments of my life and career. Here is a little backstory of how it came to be.
I would always photograph and film my own behind the scenes videos (sometimes with the help of friends who would film segments, or to get me into the frame). I contacted FashionTV ages ago and had a great amount of success with my videos on their channels. This lead to an interview with them, as well as a section in their Fashion People with my information. Antonio, an agent from a prominent Swedish agency, emailed me through one of Fashion TV’s team members. I received polaroids of Maddie, a model, and I knew nothing was going to stop me from making this shoot happen. He was sending her to Miami for a very, very short time and so I began to start planning from that second.
I put a team together that I knew would make this story feel from another era, with a modern approach to the editing. I didn’t want to add grain or heavy fading, and certainly didn’t attempt to “date” the images. One of the hardest parts of shooting things that are labeled “vintage” is giving them a relevance to be marketable today. In this shoot, it was done with the styling, mood, and raw captures. None of us were strict on the vision in terms of being “this way,” it was more a constant conversation of light ideas. The mood was intense, yet subtle, in most frames. The scenery was intentionally left as “nature-y” (new word) as possible. I didn’t want anything but the styling to have the “other era” look.
Equipment: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 85mm f1.8 lens, White panel of Reflector (5-in-1 reflector)
Lighting: Natural Light + reflector
Time of Day: 3pm. Sunny but cloudy. Not a gloomy day but enough clouds to give soft look.
Location: Backyard of South Miami home
Editing: Very minimal, little skin retouching. Used RGB curves mainly with selective coloring to add tints to blacks and whites. The editing was to mimic what paper looks like stained with tea.
Concept: Fairytale and bringing the word “love” to the aesthetic of a human. We were looking up a lot of Alice in Wonderland stories, and the designer helped in this scenario because she is heavily influenced in her designs by the content of the books. She even left the shoot early to buy a fresh batch of flowers (some she painted with red paint) based on something in a book.
After an editorial is shot, edited, published or featured, it’s great to take them to another physical level that connects with the people who have a love for art. I printed these canvas pieces (54 x 36 inches of rolled canvas) and submitted them for an art showing in Miami. I was accepted into the gallery, and hundreds of people were giving me their feelings on the photographs.
I had seen photographers in the past at other showings have people sign their work with their name, and I wanted to do something different. I did like the idea of letting everyone have fun feeling a part of the exhibit, so I had myself and 2 other people engage the crowd into writing the first word that came to their head no matter how intense, vulgar, romantic, friendly, sensual, or funny it was.
Following that showcase, I decided to submit the photo that was on the cover of Papercut to a contest with Talenthouse. The grand prize was being on stage in LA with Bob Sinclar. Scheduling conflicted with the actual concert, so in return, I received a private shoot with Bob during a performance in Miami. After that, I was offered the opportunity to meet him at the hotel he was staying at for a photo shoot. There was breakfast, tea, laughs, and an additional bonus of them being shared on his social network.
The mesmerizing light about photographs isn’t just the light that made it possible to become, but also how transcendent they become over time. After age, these photographs become old to the photographer and to others who may have been on set, but not to the world. The world takes age as vintage, which is nothing but a modern realization of the past. This is the closest we get to touch light from the past.
I can’t tell myself what time or place I am living in when I am taking a photograph. This is the feeling of infinite space I get lost in. Constantly revisiting the world of the viewfinder has taken me to many different places in the world, allowed me to exhibit my printed work in life size to be seen by art-lovers, and has given me this understanding of why recording light is all of our jobs.
I decided to make art a career when I knew it’s what made me happy and that others could benefit from the style I offered, bringing them the same strange joy. This also extends to the other mediums I have an interest in. I’m trying to make hearts sing in and out of tune. I’ve been doing this for almost a decade, and I finally feel closer to these imaginary goals I have been chasing.
It has been great to published, featured, awarded, and applauded. But honestly, the only thing I care about at the end of the night is whether I made something that feels like it didn’t exist before. I share my secrets, I work with stellar people and try even the silliest of things, and I just love what I do.