What has your creative journey been like so far?
I attended Brooks Institute of Photography in California. I moved straight to NYC to pursue my dream without having ever even visited it before.
I was too stubborn to assist, so I started out slowly and steadily building a foundation and reputation in the industry. I began shooting with smaller companies and magazines and eventually worked up to shooting for bigger publications such as international editions of Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Harper’s Bazaar, and advertising clients such as Urban Decay and Maybelline. I have now been working in NYC for over 10 years with agencies representing me in New York, London, Dubai, Paris, and Germany.
Your work is smokin haute! What is your creative process and what message do you hope to communicate through your work?
I am constantly flooded with ideas and not enough time to do them all. I love the process of collaborating with the best people in their respective fields. The details and artistry that come from makeup, hair, manicurists, set designers, and stylists all inspire me and I try my best to show each person’s craft in my imagery. My main goal is to inspire others and create visually appealing work with all the classic elements photography should have.
I am very traditional in the sense that I seek perfection in composition, lighting, and concepts. I am not the photographer who is inspired shooting a pretty girl in this season’s clothing on a grey background. Disposable imagery doesn’t interest me. I always seek to create timeless, quality imagery with purpose, craft, and passion without fail.
Certain universal themes have been done many times… but I look for collaboration between artists who think outside the box to find a totally new approach while still maintaining the beauty of the model.
I recently saw the stunning work you did with Gwen Stefani for her new album. How did the project come about and where did your creative inspiration come from?
Working with Gwen was amazing. This album was extremely important to her, being her first in over 10 years. She was looking for tight, dramatic beauty shots as well as some further away shots—my favorite type of shoot.
She had a vision to start with and after a long discussion on the phone, I was able to take it all in and create some further suggestions. It was a very important and emotional shoot for her, so my team and I took it very seriously and invested a lot of time in preproduction to make sure the production went seamlessly.
What technology/software/camera gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best? Any you cannot live without?
Ahh… the famous question that I loathe! I am really not a gear nerd. Give me an iPhone and I’ll make anyone look beautiful! I am a firm believer in a solid education–going to school to learn proper composition, technique, and lighting- working with 4 x 5 cameras, pinhole cameras, and in the darkroom- all gave me a solid foundation to be poised to use any type of lighting or camera to create a beautiful image.
Which photographers have influenced you? How have they influenced your thinking, photography and career path?
Believe it or not, I originally wanted to be a forensic photographer while in college. I fantasized about taking Weegee-esque images. At some point I realized I probably did not have the stomach for it, and that fashion and beauty probably paid better.
While I was in college I looked up to Helmut Newton, Man Ray, and Guy Bourdin. Now I try to take in as little outside imagery as humanly possible. I have more than enough ideas in my mind as it is. I fear that just as a musician may listen to music too much and subconsciously incorporate a famous riff, I might unknowingly do the same with my photography. So I try hard to keep my vision pure and internal. Most of my ideas spring from my own crazy life experiences. It makes me a bit of a hermit and out of touch with current editorials and trends, but I prefer it that way. My social media pages illustrate quite a bit of this juxtaposition through pictures of my own style and obsession with the 70’s, Lindy Hop and tap dance classes, my motorcycle adventures, and my journey in playing the piano and learning the accordion. I strive to keep my life as weird and as colorful as possible while taking inspiration from the different activities and genres in which I am immersed.
What does your creative future hold? Any upcoming projects you are looking forward to working on?
I have received a lot of requests for solo art shows and to produce a coffee table book. These are both big undertakings, but they are in the back of my mind for the future. I am also working on directing short fashion and beauty films, which has been very new and exciting for me.