FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER INTERVIEW
1. How does this collection speak to you? How did it come about? What did you want this to say to your audience?
I was moved by this vintage inspired story from the very beginning, and knew as I was putting the moodboard together that it was going to be emotionally dramatic. I wanted a story that would really jump out at the viewer, in mood, composition and emotion, so every little attention to detail was important to us. We wanted to present the viewer with a timeless look, which would not have been possible without such an amazing collection of vintage clothing, stoic architecture and amazing classic hair and makeup artistry.
2. What do you find to be the most difficult when bringing a team of artists together to create a cohesive look? How do you pick the right team?
The hardest part is finding artists talented enough to pull off the look of an ambitious moodboard. The model choice, hair, makeup and styling all had to come together perfectly to make the story believable. I believe we accomplished this with this team. The moodboard was a mixture of about 1520 images for location, hair, makeup, styling and poses. Somehow we managed to get every category to our artistic expectations. I’m very grateful to have had such a fantastic team to help create this story. I wouldn’t say that I picked them, as much as we picked each other; it was definitely bonding to say the least.
3. As an editorial artist, what do you feel is one of the biggest mistakes beginners tend to make?
I think the biggest mistakes beginner artists make is allowing negativity outside of the production group get in the way of a successful shoot. Everyone has an opinion, but it doesn’t always mean it’s the right one. People like clogging your mind with things they don’t like about something, yet offer no solutions or ideas. Just remember to storyboard with your team and stay true to your concept. Make changes only if it makes the story better, not different. You conceived it, because you loved it at one time, so believe in it.
4. How would you describe your artistic style?
It’s always difficult to describe oneself and their body of work, so I’ll do my best as a list of words in regards to my photography philosophies. Moody, Emotional, Whimsical, Improvish, Raw, Editorial, Passionate, Modern, Visceral, Deep. These are just a few words that come directly to mind, however I believe in learning all aspects of photography. Which hopefully means my style will continue to grow, and with growth often comes change. I look forward to changing.
5. Do you prefer to be behind the camera or in front of it?
I can safely answer that I only allow myself to be behind the camera. I hate photos, however I’m guilty of the occasional selfie.
6. What is your greatest weakness; your greatest strength?
Honestly, my greatest weakness and my greatest strength are both one and the same, and that’s art. Art is about selfsacrifice for inner selfriches. It’s being poor and rich at the same time. It’s being a slave to a master. It’s long hours for free doing what you love, making something look or feel amazing, yet feels that it’s never good enough or worth more than the monetary amount in hours. It’s looking around you and seeing art in everything—it’s what you want to do with your time—so you sacrifice weeks, months and years on inner ideologies, holding out for what you believe in. It’s the endless search for expression. It frees you when you’re confined, but it can confine you when you need the rent paid. Art, for me, is my weakness, yet it’s also the fire inside me that keeps my passion for life going. I’ve given my life to Art, it is who I am.
7. What misconceptions do you think outsiders have about fashion and beauty editorials?
One of the obvious misconceptions is that just because you have the most beautiful model, clothes and location, that compelling photos come effortlessly. This is so far from the truth. The photographers job is to pull the shot out of what is available to him and sometimes there isn’t much. There needs to be a connection between the model and photographer during the shoot. And the shoot, theoretically, should not stop till this is achieved. Without achieving this, the shot will not be compelling, or as compelling as it could have been. In the end, as a creative group, you have to create a mood and moment that is believable to the viewer and draws them into the storyline. Todays viewer is savvy enough to know when someone is faking, or simply not committed to a story, and regardless of how much preproduction was put in, there needs to be a moment, or series of believable moments, during an editorial shoot to really make it come alive.
8. What is your secret to keeping a happy balanced life while following your passion?
I typically work nonstop on my photography and editing. I think these are the only moments I feel calm and relaxed, regardless of how difficult the shoot. I like to approach every shoot as a master AND student, but it’s being the student—and the continued process of learning—that keeps me balanced. There is always something new to learn and this excites me.
9. Music feeds the soul and often motivates. What music are you playing while you are shooting?
I typically have my Spotify “Best of LensExposure Studios” playlist on at my studio running 24/7. It’s a mixture of eclectic quirky electronic music—also great for editing—however during this shoot we had the soundtrack of nature playing in the background. It was a peaceful late afternoon and that part of Oakland, California has a lot of bird species. They sang through the Golden Hour.
10. Words to live by?
Work with a team you believe in and definitely make sure they believe in you.
Henry Alfonso Navarro
Mario Benton |Uptown|
Natalie De Los Santos