A World That Others Can't See... with Unai Mateo

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Our role as photographers is to capture a world that others can't see, and in this process we leave a little bit of us in every photo that we take. In a way, every single one of our photographs is also a portrait of ourselves.

In this series, A World That Others Can't See, I ask fellow photographers to talk about an image from their portfolios in order to discover the stories behind their work and to learn about the person behind the lens.

For the sixth post of the series, Unai Mateo talks about his work where he intends to reflect an honest depiction of his reality. Unai’s work is a fusion between documentary photography and introspective fine art.

Unai says: "I chose these 3 images because I believe they describe quite well my approach to photography. I do something I call ‘introspective documentary’, where I try to depict my own personal way of seeing the world through mundane scenes that I come across. These images could mean nothing or they could mean everything, that’s up to the viewer to decide. I create them as recipients of feelings and emotions. An atmosphere capable of taking in a diverse variety of ways of understanding the environment surrounding us.

The series is untitled because I can’t ever decide to name my images. Instead, I usually call them notes on something, because they are precisely notes and observations rather than statements. In this matter, I stand with the trend set by the abstract expressionists back in the 50’s.

In my work, I just observe, feel, and shoot. I intend to really reflect an honest depiction of my reality. It is not always successful but the only reason I work this way is because I feel conflicted when I go beyond my limits and act pretentiously. I never want to cross that line so I try not to set unrealistic limitations beforehand. The result is generally a quite abstract concept but it is meant to be that way.

I mostly use my 35mm Canon F1 camera loaded with a fresh Kodak Ultramax 400 film roll. It’s versatile and I carry it pretty much everywhere so I can snap an image when I feel like doing it. For these 3 shots I believe I used a 50mm f1.4 lens set to its wider aperture.

Some images of this series (including these particular ones) were used in a feature in the Spanish contemporary photography magazine EXIT. Other than that, I intend to create a small publication with a collection of these photos in the near future, as well as feature them in an exhibition.”

Thank you so much, Unai, for taking the time to show me your outstanding work! You can see more of Unai's introspective photography on www.unaimateo.com.


If you haven't read the previous posts of this series, you can check the whole series here. I hope you liked this new post and stay tuned for a different photographer each month!

Photo credit: self-portrait by Unai Mateo.

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A World That Others Can't See... with Erik Jimenez

London-photographer-JC-Candanedo-Grey-Pistachio-Fashion-Corporate-Portraits-Headshots-Blog-Creative-Industry-London-a-world-that-others-cant-see-erik-jimenez-squarespace.jpg

Our role as photographers is to capture a world that others can't see, and in this process, we leave a little bit of us in every photo that we take. In a way, every single one of our photographs is also a portrait of ourselves.

In this series, A World That Others Can't See, I ask fellow photographers to talk about an image from their portfolios in order to discover the stories behind their work and to learn about the person behind the lens.

For the fifth post of the series, Miami-based beauty, fashion and lifestyle photographer Erik Jimenez talks about his gorgeous portrait of Timothy Reyna.

Erik says: “This portrait is of Timothy Reyna, a model based out of NYC. I was very excited to photograph Timothy because when the agency sent me his comp card I immediately loved his facial features, amazing cheekbone structure and fun tattoos. But most of all, I was excited because Timothy had been photographed by David LaChapelle! LaChappelle was one of my favorite artists when I started photography, and I remember just staring at his amazing photography books for hours at the book store.

It’s an untitled image (at the moment) and this photoshoot was for a model agency in NYC called Hello. The inspiration for this shoot was Cirque Du Soleil - Kurios. Beautiful and mysterious. The styling was done by Pedro Guilloty and Johny Quesada, who is the owner of Hello Models but very much an artist himself.

'Untitled' © Erik Jimenez

'Untitled' © Erik Jimenez

I lit this image with a single light source, a strobe attached to a 60 x 60 cm softbox. It was placed very close to Timothy and up at camera right. No reflectors or fill light so I could achieve drama and mood. Although this particular image wasn’t used by the agency, it’s personally one of my favorites. I absolutely love it in black and white for the mood it creates, but really it’s the subject’s pose with his face profile and the tattoo on the back of his head aligned in such a way that speaks to our inner voices of good vs evil. I would love to print, frame and exhibit this image someday!

Tech & specs:

Aperture: f/4.0

Speed: 1/125 sec

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Lens: EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Focal length: 40 mm”

Erik, thank you so much for sharing this gorgeous portrait with me. J’adore! If you want to see more of Erik’s work, go to his Instagram profile now!


If you haven't read the previous posts of this series, you can check the whole series here. I hope you liked this new post and stay tuned for a different photographer each month!

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A World That Others Can't See... with Simon Leach

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Our role as photographers is to capture a world that others can't see, and in this process we leave a little bit of us in every photo that we take. In a way, every single one of our photographs is also a portrait of ourselves.

In this series, A World That Others Can't See, I ask fellow photographers to talk about an image from their portfolios in order to discover the stories behind their work and to learn about the person behind the lens.

For the fourth post of the series, lifestyle advertising photographer Simon Leach talks about his personal work, the importance of collaboration and how to know when you are being asked to work for free.

Simon says: “I have selected my ‘Gymnasium’ series. In selecting this series I hope to highlight the importance of personal work – something I consider to be a vital ingredient in any photographer’s portfolio.

There is currently much talk and publicity about the ‘#NOFREEWORK’ campaign (initiated largely by The Freelancer Club) and its underpinning ethos that creatives should not provide their services for free, under any circumstances. Whilst I wholly support and am signed up to this initiative (promises of exposure or future work should not replace appropriate remuneration), it is important not to lose sight of the need for creative individuals to explore ideas and concepts.

There is a difference between ‘personal work’ and ‘free work’ - the latter ultimately benefiting an individual, business or service, not just yourself and your creative team. With personal work there is complete freedom to explore a joint vision. With ‘free work’ the ‘client’ requires specific content that has to take priority.

The Gymnasium series was ‘personal work’ and with it, as with other such projects, I have been extremely lucky to collaborate with some incredibly talented, creative and trusting people. For me personally, it is within such a collaborative environment that I feel challenged to bring my A-game. The images showcased here came from such a process, working initially with one of the models, Rob, later with the make-up artist, Vickie, and second model, Tanya, to develop my ideas. I was assisted by Jon Cooney.

The series of images were shot at my old secondary school weeks before the old gymnasium was scheduled to undergo modernisation. Windows dominated the length of the room and presented me with a brilliant opportunity to mix controlled studio light with natural light for ambiance – a technique I’m particularly fond of using. This series features a couple of Profoto studio heads, used to light the shot, which were manually balanced with the available light - evident on the back wall.

The result: a warm, relaxed and natural looking image.”

That is brilliant, Simon! Thank you so much for sharing with me this gorgeous series! You can see more work from this very talented photographer at www.simonrleach.com.


If you haven't read the previous posts of this series, you can check the whole series here. I hope you liked this new post and stay tuned for a different photographer each month!

Photo credit: portrait of Simon Leach © 2019 JC Candanedo

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A World That Others Can't See... with Chloe Rosser

London-photographer-JC-Candanedo-Grey-Pistachio-Fashion-Corporate-Portraits-Headshots-Blog-Creative-Industry-A-World-Others-Cant-See-Chloe-Rosser.jpg

Our role as photographers is to capture a world that others can't see, and in this process we leave a little bit of us in every photo that we take. In a way, every single one of our photographs is also a portrait of ourselves.

In this series, A World That Others Can't See, I ask fellow photographers to talk about an image from their portfolios in order to discover the stories behind their work and to learn about the person behind the lens.

For the third post of the series, Chloe Rosser talks about her image 'Function 5, 4'. Chloe is a photographic artist based in London represented by L A Noble Gallery who has just released her new book Form & Function, available at Stay Free Publishing.

Chloe says: "This image is from my Form & Function series. In this work I hide all the identifying features of the figures - the heads, hair and hands. When seeing a body like this, you can't make the usual assumptions or judgements about a person that you normally would. Instead, you're able to focus on the details of the structure of the figure.

'Function 5, 4' © Chloe Rosser

'Function 5, 4' © Chloe Rosser

For these works, I try to use natural light whenever I can. I was usually shooting in people's homes, which means utilising window light as much as possible. This image doesn't get shown very much when the project is featured or exhibited, but it's actually one of my favourites. That's because of the quality of the light and how it falls beautifully over their shoulders, spines and muscles. They look so statuesque to me.

The other aspect I love about this image is the angle at which one of the figure's leg rests. It looks so strange, almost amputated. It rests there heavily and relaxed, but in a position which looks so awkward. Almost painful, but so calm.

The sole of that figure's foot is dirty from the floor. I see that as a little pop of humanity. We're looking at this pile of body parts, but right there is evidence of the human act of walking. For the same reason, I leave all the marks on the floors and walls - because it's proof the space is lived in.

I shot this image on a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 24-105 mm lens using natural light. The image is featured in my new book, Form & Function"

Thank you so much, Chloe, for sharing with me such beautiful image from your breathtaking work! You can see more of Chloe's amazing work on www.chloerosser.co.uk.


If you haven't read the previous posts of this series, you can check the whole series here. I hope you liked this new post and stay tuned for a different photographer each month!

Photo credit: portrait of Chloe Rosser © 2019 JC Candanedo

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A World That Others Can't See... with Ivan Weiss

London-photographer-JC-Candanedo-Grey-Pistachio-Fashion-Corporate-Portraits-Headshots-Blog-Creative-Industry-London-a-world-others-cant-see-ivan-weiss-interview-feature.jpg

Our role as photographers is to capture a world that others can't see, and in this process, we leave a little bit of us in every photo that we take. In a way, every single one of our photographs is also a portrait of ourselves. In this series, A World That Others Can't See, I ask fellow photographers to talk about an image from their portfolios in order to discover the stories behind their work and to learn about the person behind the lens.

For the second post of the series, I spoke with Ivan Weiss, a London-based headshot and portraits photographer with a particular focus on the performing arts. Ivan walks us through the challenges he encountered while shooting this beautiful portrait.

Ivan says: "I was asked to do some promo images for a barbershop that's just opened up in East London. The shop is inside a shipping container in Containerville E2. So I knew I'd be dealing with very limited space, but it also gave me a cue to play on the long, narrow shape in my composition. Luckily I've been working a lot with wider focal lengths recently and I felt confident this would work. I took my 24-70mm just in case I was forced to change plans.

‘Troise & Sons’ © Ivan Weiss

‘Troise & Sons’ © Ivan Weiss

I had to work quickly as I only had 10 minutes with Davide in between clients. I had taken a compact version of my current favourite studio light set up. I rigged my key light as high as the ceiling would allow (i.e not very) and gaffer-taped a black cloth to the wall opposite to provide negative fill and prevent any bounce back. I was ready to roll as soon as he was. I took a few frames to get my levels right and immediately began regretting my decision not to bring a third light with me. The background was just too dark. Not bad for a moody portrait, but I needed something a bit lighter for this commercial image. Luckily, I was on a tripod. So I dropped the shutter speed down to 1/10 second and let the natural ambient light soak in to light my background.

I’ve chosen to share this image because it represents for me a fusion of my studio style with the environmental portraiture work that I’d like to be doing more of.”

For this shot, Ivan used:

  • Body: Canon 5DsR

  • Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm ƒ/2.8L II @35mm

  • Settings: ƒ/9, 1/10, ISO100

  • Key light: Godox AD200 in a 70cm SMDV Dodeca Speedbox pushed as far as possible into the corner of the ceiling and wall on camera right.

  • Fill light: Godox AD200 in a RayFlash ringflash adapter on camera.

Thank you so much, Ivan, for kindly taking part in my series and for showing us your amazing work! You can see more of Ivan's photography on http://www.ivanweiss.london.


If you haven't read the previous posts of this series, you can check the whole series here. I hope you liked this new post and stay tuned for a different photographer each month!

Photo credit: portrait of Ivan Weiss © 2018 JC Candanedo

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A World That Others Can't See... with Benjamin Youd

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Our role as photographers is to capture a world that others can't see, and in this process we leave a little bit of us in every photo that we take. In a way, every single one of our photographs is also a portrait of ourselves. In this series, A World That Others Can't See, I ask fellow photographers to talk about an image from their portfolios in order to discover the stories behind their work and to learn about the person behind the lens.

For the first post of the series, Benjamin Youd talks about his image 'The Writer'. Ben is a London-based photographer who loves documenting natural emotions and interactions between people in a quiet and non-obtrusive way.

Ben says: "This image was taken as a part of a commission that I was sent on for housing charity, Shelter. I've called the image 'The Writer', as that symbolises a lot about the subject that I photographed.

'The Writer' © Benjamin Youd

'The Writer' © Benjamin Youd

"The initial brief was to travel to Bristol to meet with a lady who in her older years, had decided to gift the charity as a part of her Will. I was sent to take a few portraits to accompany a write up about the gift that she was giving them. When I met the lady, and we talked for an hour or so about her life, I realised that her story was worth so much more than a quick portrait or two. So, I ended up spending the entire day with her, talking in her apartment and walking through the grounds of the retirement village that she now lived in.

"She told me how much she loved to be involved with her community, and how despite living on her own, she kept herself busy with a variety of activities, such as drawing, writing, holding workshops, yoga, meditation, and playing the piano – to name just a few. I found her attitude, and approach to life amazingly inspiring. So, as we talked the hours away, I documented some of the activities that she described to me with such enthusiasm.

"This particular image depicts her love of writing and story-telling. Something she's liked since she was a lot younger, and now passes on through her own experience, as she engages young people in writing classes and workshops.

"My intention with this shoot was to make it as natural as possible, so although I did bring along a set of consistent lights, I didn't end up using them. They would only ever have been used in this occasion to brighten up the ambient light, but fortunately her living room had a huge set of west facing windows, which let in some really beautiful light. The fall off of the light was pretty dramatic as you went further into the room, but this allowed for a more dramatic approach, using deeper shadows to define features.

"I was the only one on this shoot, which is often the nature of working with charities. To some extent, working in this way is quite freeing, as you really get to connect with your subject, and pay attention to the setting and light. It also limits the amount of kit you can take with you, so you're often looking for the best available light.

"I think at the time, I was using a Canon 5D MKII, and this would have been shot with a 24–70mm f2.8 lens, at around 35mm to get the wider angle. Metering for the light hitting the subjects face from the window enabled me to get more of a dramatic and high contrast image."

Thank you so much, Ben, for being so keen to take part in my series and for showing us your amazing work! You can see more of Ben's beautiful work on www.benjaminyoud.com.


If you haven't read the previous posts of this series, you can check the whole series here. I hope you liked this new post and stay tuned for a different photographer each month!

Photo credit: portrait of Benjamin Youd © 2018 JC Candanedo

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