Cover Portfolio & Interview by Alexander Yaya Moreno
- Tell us how you’ve started your career taking photos?
I fell in love with photography when I studied it in Highschool back in 1996. it was all analog photography and darkroom techniques back then and that’s what I fell for. I got a film camera and carried it around with me everywhere shooting my experiences while traveling and hanging out with friends.
After moving to New York City in 2003, and graduating with an Associate’s Degree in Display & Exhibit design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2006, I yearned to change direction and go back to photography and art for my Bachelor degree. This is where I started developing my style with an emphasis on fashion and beauty photography and conceptual/fine art work.
- What makes you different from other photographers?
I believe I’m different in that I don’t see myself as just a photographer, but a multimedia artist who uses photography in addition to other media as a tool. I like to be innovative, and create work that I’ve never seen before so my work is very experimental, emotional and different.
I approach an image or a series of images with the sensibilities of a painter and each frame to me is a new fantasy world I create from scratch. Each with new rules that apply to the visual story i’m making. Using filters, digital collage, movement, unique color compositions, overexposure, underexposure and multiple layering (in cameras or in post) are some of the methods which I use to make my work different.
- Which is your favorite artist?
I find inspiration in many different artists. Some of my favorite painting masters of all time are Van Gogh, Frida Khalo, De Kooning and Edvard Munch. Some photography masters whose work I admire are Lillian Bassman, Irvin Penn, Paolo Roversi, and Francesca Woodman. As for contemporary artists I especially think highly of Camille Rose Garcia, Zhuang Hong Yi, Kimiko Yoshida, Cornelia Hediger, Rachel Harrison, and David Stoupakis to name a few.
- What do you think about the development of photography until now
First, it is clear that digital photography has evolved tremendously in the past few years. Luckily for me, though, when I was in College, my friends and I were among the last ones to study film photography and darkroom practices. Later on, we started using digital cameras and learning in depth photoshop skills. In that respect, we had the best of both worlds. However, young photographers nowadays, who are just starting out, don’t have the chance to learn analog photography which is a big loss. In my opinion a background in film is key in understanding the principles of photography. I really can’t imagine doing the work I do without knowing how film is processed or how images are produced in the darkroom. More importantly, I don’t think I would’ve ever fallen in love with photography if it weren’t for the darkroom.
- What do you think of the art critics, generally speaking?
I think if you’re an art critic you’re lucky - your ideas and personal taste matter to a lot of people and can put a stamp on something or someone. That also means you have a lot of power; you can either help an artist advance their career or you can hurt it. A bad critique could also be very discouraging for talented artists to hear. At the same time, the words of a critic, used wisely, can hone, improve and inspire the work of artists. Having said all that, we have to keep in mind that a critic is just a person- hopefully more knowledgeable than others, but still, just a person. They, too, have agendas, moods, personal tastes and political forces driving their critique. So, my recommendation to artists is to filter the fancy adjectives critics use and try to take in the words that would help them evolve .
However, we have to keep in mind that a critic is just a person- hopefully more knowledgeable than others, but still, just another person. They, too, have agendas, moods, personal tastes and politics driving their criticism.
I have an aspiring little critic in me, I think I would be really good at it! However, I prefer making art, meeting artists who’s work I admire and collecting art over criticising it.
- With whom do you share your professional success?
I work and collaborate with many talented professionals. Make- up and hair artists Victoria Stiles, Ronnie Peterson and Noa Yonatan are a few of my favorite team members. Fashion stylist Kayti Haugh is wonderful and we have a great match in styles and personality. Hair stylist Tetsuya Yakuzuka is another brilliant talent I had the privilege of working with. Aya Fukuda worked with me on many fashion art projects creating amazing nail art.
The list goes on. Without a team of talented individuals, I couldn’t have taken my work to the peaks it has reached. It’s wonderful when you find people who get you; know what you want, and want the same thing. We all feed off of each other and grow from working together. You have to be able to keep an open mind and let people do their thing without micro-managing them, and you can only do that if you trust them to bring great results. I’m very picky, and I’m a huge perfectionist. Luckily, I know what I want and I know what I like, even if sometimes I can’t express it in words, in which case I’ll use visual references. But, a good team-member will just know, they can feel you.
- On what projects are you working at the moment?
I’m working on a few projects simultaneously.
My new website will be launching in September which is exciting.
Am planning a photography workshop series with Lensbaby for the Fall,
Developing a line of home products with my images incorporated in the design,
Printing new works in a new and exciting format (archival HD printing on aluminium) for an exhibition in November.
Let’s just say I’m keeping busy!