Location: New York, New York.
Education: BA in communications from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 2006; MFA in photography from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, 2013.
Career path: I hit a wall at my nine-to-five advertising job after a few years, so I decided to pursue my hobby—photography—as a career. I got an MFA to fully immerse myself in my new path and moved to New York once I felt comfortable with my portfolio, connections and understanding of the industry, particularly that of fashion photography.
Artistic influences: I’ve come full circle in some aspects—back to my tropical roots. Growing up in Venezuela, I was constantly surrounded by lush landscapes and enjoyed warm-water beaches. Now, I see their influences in my color choices and my gravitation toward rich textures. I photograph tropical landscapes whenever I travel—it’s been an evolving side project, so to speak.
I’ve been surrounded by art one way or another since I was a child. It has helped me appreciate design and creativity—especially with films and the use of color in films to create different moods—and train my eye. I am inspired by classic, simple images that say a lot, especially the work of photographers like Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdin, Helmut Newton and Irving Penn. I analyze lighting at music shows, and love any art medium that uses light creatively. Living in New York, it’s hard not to be inspired by the city itself and the energy it transmits. I know it sounds cliché, but inspiration is everywhere—you just have to be open to it.
Work environment: I often work from home when I’m producing and doing post-production. I enjoy that alone time, which is crucial for me to focus and package my work. I’m constantly keeping mental notes, taking pictures with my phone of potential shooting locations, diving into magazines for inspiration and, of course, spending a lot of time online to see what others are doing. It’s a 360-degree work environment that’s hard to turn it off.
Aspirations: I’d like to work with more established publications and high-end clients. I would love to find a niche within the casual luxury market, particularly in New York and Los Angeles. For adventure travel, I can see myself gearing my work towards high-end swim brands or even travel photography. I’d also like to expand to video in the near future; I find video editing terribly daunting, which has kept me from delving into it more, but I’m intrigued whenever I see something I wish I had made. There’s still a big opportunity to creatively integrate video and stills, particularly in fashion.
This is certainly a tough career, and it’s not for everyone. The industry is oversaturated with noise. But, through hard work and persistence, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. That light may be dim at times, but creating new work I’m proud or having my work open new doors I wouldn’t have dreamed of walking through a few years ago is incredibly rewarding, and that’s what keeps me going. I’m curious to see where photography can take me.
Philosophy: Work hard and stay focused. Let your work speak for itself. Keep the big picture in mind, but enjoy riding the wave.