CA: What made you want to do photography?
Antonio: It is an artwork that is easy to get into from a visual standpoint. As an artist, I like to exercise creativity. How can I create things in an innovative way? I tried to do that in other fields and I wasn’t too successful due to needing a stronger financial foundation. I came from a dance and fashion background and I made the transition into photography by doing event photography. I didn’t like it at first. It felt like a job and I was doing it for free. Once I did my first photo shoot and I was able to create a story that I wanted is when I fell in love with it.
CA: How do you incorporate photography to encompass how you see the world?
Antonio: It depends on the project and to describe what I want to see in the photo. I view life in regards to clarity, composition, and the quality of character. Those things are very important for me. This artwork depicts where I see myself shooting high end things. I haven’t shot much of it yet but my work is leading me into that direction.
CA: Do you have any inspiration from the world of photography?
Antonio: In my situation, I haven’t really followed the careers of great photographers. I am always coming from an innovative place to figure things out on my own. Which is probably good and bad at the same time. One of my mom’s friends, who is an artist, asked me a question when I went to speak with him. What is bothering you about your work? I said every time I go around and see other people’s work, I feel they are better than me. I feel like I am not doing good enough. That is no way envious on my part because I am always looking up to people. He simply said “so stop looking at them”. It is a distraction for what you doing for yourself. What is the source of my inspiration are the things around me and things I wish to attain (the lavish life).
CA: What do you do to improve on your craft? Techniques?
Antonio: There is no direction or specification to how I progress. I observe everything that is happening in the moment or a situation kind of like a reporter. I come up with ideas when I am thinking. I ponder how can I make it different. Not better but different. I make it better by trying to make it different. It is all about changing the details and creating intrigue and interest. Not just to make things by leaping blindly but I like to stay where it is incomprehensible and easy for people to relate too.
CA: What is the perfect picture to you?
Antonio: To me the perfect photo is when it is undeniable in the way that someone can’t say it doesn’t move them. How it touches them is important. As I used to do artwork for shirts, I would design while listening to music. I would question as I am creating the image I would step back to see if I am really feeling what I am making. I go according to how I feel. If it feels right, I’ll continue to follow the flow. It is about sticking to the idea. If that idea doesn’t sit right with you, move on to the next one. A perfect picture is the way things feel on the surface and underneath in addition to the way people read it.
CA: How do you work with your clients for shoots and events?
Antonio: I think about the things and what the person needs. Recently, a person who owns a magazine told me a company mindset to how people transfer services and goods. People don’t get or use products for the price, they get it for the experience. It is all about the experience for the service/good. When I work with a client, I have to be mindful of how my service is as a package. Working events now, I am courteous of how I interact with guests. These days you have to find new avenues to market yourself. With clients you have to give them something they didn’t expect. Putting more than what they need.
CA: What helps you get in the mindset to shoot something?
Antonio: I like to sit down and really think of one component of the theme. I did a shoot recently where I needed to do something connected to an Egyptian. I imagined poses which can be linked to the culture to bring everything full circle. I think it is important to brainstorm individual thoughts related to the project.
CA: How long have you been doing photography?
Antonio: I did it causally for 6-7 years and the next two years I was trying learn how to use the camera. I would walk down the street and stop to look at how someone got a photo. I wonder how they got the lighting and the positioning right. I do this on a regular basis and it made me look at the world differently. When I thought about the process to make something beautiful in an image without having to draw it but just capturing. I put everything in a frame as if I was taking a picture with my camera. When I did my first photo shoot with a friend of mine for my clothing line at the time. I began to realize I could take control by placing things in the right place. I continued and drifted away from fashion.
CA: Do you have a favorite shoot?
Antonio: I think my favorite shoot is in connection to a friend of mine for a maternity shoot. It was two years ago if I’m not mistaken. I was really getting into studio photography and playing with lights. That was when I was able to capture the real emotion out of people. It made me appreciate women so much more. She was about 6 months into her pregnancy and she still retained her confidence. Her energy for the shoot and her excitement of being pregnant made it easy to work with her. Her family and the father of the child provided a positive environment for the shoot. Definitely my favorite shoot.
CA: What do you feel is the biggest asset that you have right now?
Antonio: I would really have to say the inception of my new job doing school portraits. I’m finally in a lane which is consistent and the recognition is undeniable. I feel like it is a stamp this person works for this company doing what he loves. It has been a great stepping stone for me. I feel it keeps my craving for creativity burning.
CA: And the biggest challenge you have as of right now?
Antonio: Mastering the business side. I am always focused on the creativity aspect and I get lost in the direction which is my strength. I want to stay in editorial and journalism which leads to understanding the industry is changing and learning how to deal with it. Camera phones and new products make me feel a little expendable. There are also many other photographers who might not love photography as much as me are in places I need to go.
CA: What is fun and rewarding for you in regards to photography?
Antonio: The idea I can create an abstraction with clarity and quality. I have the potential to amaze people. That is the most rewarding thing for me. I love attention and also in the aspect of my career too. To create a feeling out of my hard work is amazing. What I do for people is what barbers do for their clients. I feel sometimes people come in feeling bummed out and the haircut changes their entire day, whole week, everything. When I take pictures at events or clubs and people see the finished product of a photo shoot, people feel good about themselves. You made me look different is usually what I hear. I like to say I brought something out of you don’t see normally.
CA: Where do you want to take your career in photography?
Antonio: I want to do high end photo shoots for celebrities. I love planning for long term projects. The end result has to be impeccable and long lasting. When they take a picture for a textbook, it has to be about to carry over time.
CA: How do you want your work/portfolio to be remembered for?
Antonio: Innovation and quality. Quality in terms of me using the right elements and getting the recognition I feel I deserve.
CA: What is the best advice you can give someone with a strong desire to do photography?
Antonio: Do your best everyday, all day. I have been in a situation where I procrastinated a lot. The more I procrastinate, the more I want to work because I see how the information is piling up. I need to get it together, to be successful to be the best that I can be. The reason why it is important to me is because I don’t want to die living an ordinary life (quote I heard from a movie). If I can make an impact through photography to the world, I would be fine.