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Interview: Photographer Rene Salvador (U.S.A)

Can you tell us a little about you?

Oh man, that’s a loaded question! This is possibly one of the hardest questions for me to answer! Lets see, currently I’m a photographer based in San Diego California specializing in fashion editorials. It wasn’t until I was in college that I realized that I was best suited for the fashion editorial world, it was mostly because of my love for fashion and the story-telling aspect of it. Since then I’ve had the great privilege of having some of my work published in some of the largest publications in the world; such as: Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Glamour, Tatler. I’ve also worked on other several campaigns for publishing.

How and when did you get into photography?

I first got into photography in 2008. I feel that at the time I was going to through a transitional phase in my life, I wasn’t quite sure of where I wanted to go with my life, or what I wanted to be, and I remember feeling this urge to photograph things in nature. I felt like nature really spoke to me in some profound way. I began to notice how life and nature had a much deeper purpose and meaning. Far deeper than what I ever thought and it was those things that compelled me to take up the camera.

What does photography mean to you?

I really like the idea of trying to convey a message with enough feeling to have an affect on the viewer. But more important I feel that photography should have a purpose, just like art, art should by definition have purpose and meaning. Otherwise it can’t be art because, art is not random. Just for example if you look at life, there is nothing random about life, everything in life has purpose and meaning, and truly believe the same principle should apply to photography.

Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.

Well, I think my style can be very moody at times. A lot of people say that my work is very “romantic”, which makes sense, because I’ve always been drawn to romantic sentiments in films, poetry and photography. I think its safe to say that I am in some ways a hopeless romantic, which I can’t say that I adore that side of myself. Most of the time I try to fight against my romantic urges.

Where do you get inspiration from?

There are three things that inspire me: music, dreaming and poetry. All three of those things seem to have this synergy where they work to together to inspire me to convey a certain feeling in photography. Poetry I feel, is my tool for creating a visual dialogue in the scene. A few years back I used to based a large portion of my shoots on poems that I had written. I haven’t done that in a while, I think its time I went back to my old methods of doing things. And then there’s dreaming. Dreaming is something that I have mix feelings about, there have been times when I dreaded going to sleep for fear of what I might dream. Not because they’re bad dreams but, because they’re so strange and emotionally driven to where they can have a lasting effect on me. Often I am haunted by what I dream. I am haunted by the emotion that I feel in the dream. I often carry those feelings with me through out the day and depending on what those feelings are it can either be, a good thing or a bad thing. And then there’s music, and music, well music just brings all those buried feelings to the surface which then allows my imagination to take over. It’s a very crazy thing.

Do you think in advance what you want in the picture ?

Oh yeah! Absolutely! I just can’t show up to a shoot not knowing what I’m going to do what we’re doing as a team. I put a lot of thought into the shoots that I do. I think it’s safe to say that I’m extremely methodical about them. Before I do a shoot I already know what equipment I’m going to be using, what lens, what lighting kit, what lighting set up, the type of light modifier. I figure everything out before I even step foot in the studio.

Studio, on location or both?

I enjoy both, although for the past year or so I’ve done mostly studio. I cant remember the last time I did an on location shoot. I think in the studio there’s far more control and, I’ve also begun to delve more into stage and prop building. And that’s really become very fun for me.

Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?

I would probably say both. I can definitely be both at times. It just depends on my mood.

What has been your most memorable session and why?

It would have to be this past year (2019) when I had the most epic and absolute failed shoot of my entire career. which then led me into a downward spiral of depression and self loathing. It was a shoot that I had invested a lot of time, money and energy and unfortunately the whole project was a complete failure.

Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?

I’d say Canon but, I also love Fujifilm. And as far as lenses goes, it would have to be my Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f2.8. That lens has magic in it. It’s a very special lens, I just wish I was better at using it.

What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?

The most important step that you want to take is figuring out whether or not you are truly passionate about photography. Don’t get into this business for the money or for the glory. Don’t get into this business for self validation, because if you do; you will lead yourself to failure. There are many challenges in this business, but if your heart is in the right place and if you are truly passionate about photography then, that passion is going to carry you through every challenge that you encounter.

What do you think of our new magazine?

I think it’s very terrific. I’m looking forward to working you guys again!

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