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Life & Work with Isaac Alvarez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Isaac Alvarez.

Hi Isaac, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
It’s funny how you ask this cause I literally didn’t plan on being a photographer. I worked in retail all my life, I was a manager for Best Buy. Never imagined that I would transition to being a photographer. Long story short, I was let go and opened up my own business as a website designer. At the time, I had about five clients that I was managing and creating websites for. Then one of my clients asks if I can start photographing their products and I said yes. When I left Best Buy, I actually purchased a camera (Canon 50D) which sat in my closet for almost a year. Once my client asks me that, I took my camera dusted it off and started playing around with it. I started researching “how to photograph products.” A bunch of articles and how-to’s popped up and what I found from that research is expensive lighting equipment. So I did what other broke guy would do, go to the nearest IKEA and purchased two lamps that cost $40. I used that as my light source and grabbed two white t-shirts as my diffuser. Dabbled a few setups and WALLA that was my lighting set up. It was great at the moment but that triggered my love for photography. From there, I started photographing the products with models and the rest is history. I really focused my art on lighting and extracting emotions, which is what you see in my work now.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It’s definitely not a smooth road. There was a lot of trial and error, and that’s the thing, you grow from your experience. Without failures and roadblocks, growth is none existence. And trust me, I had a lot of those until now. I know I’m still growing and learning. We have to learn how to adapt to change cause our world is always changing especially in technology. If we stay stagnant with our craft and even in life, we will surely be left behind. There was this one time when I had to shoot at Death Valley for a commercial fashion spread. My assistant’s main job was to charge all the batteries for the equipment. When we got to the location, I checked my camera and all of the batteries is blinking red. I looked at him with shock but didn’t say anything.

Throughout the morning, I kept on shutting on/off my camera until it all died after 2 hours. Hence we still needed to shoot the rest of the day which is another 6 hours. I turned around and grabbed my iPhone and started shooting. The Art Director walked towards me and asked me why I’m using my iPhone. I then confidently told him that this was the feel I was going for. He trusted me and walked away. So the rest of the day, I shot it all with my iPhone. Once we were done, I sent him all the camera shots and all the iPhone shots and literally prayed. After two days of waiting for a response, he called me instead of emailing me. He said, “Isaac just to let you know everyone loves the iPhone shots so we are using all of them instead of your camera captures”. I was blown away. So the moral of the story is always charge your batteries and triple-check it is, lol. Also keeping calm onset will help prevent clients from panicking, lol.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’m a portrait photographer that is transitioning to film. I guess I’m known for my dramatic portraits that resonate emotions while giving the viewer a powerful insight into the lives of his subjects. My work is a reflection of contemporary/cinematic. I’ve photographed a celebrity editorial that gave birth to my series called Making A Portrait. Making A Portrait showcases how I capture my portraits from beginning to end while diving into my subject’s personal life. It’s filmed like a documentary and we finished the whole season on YouTube. I also created a few personal projects that got published worldwide, Reflection of Me and Hear Me. Reflection of Me is a series of dog portraits meshing them with their owner’s bodies. I created that cause our pets are a reflection of us and portraying them like their owners was so much fun. The other one is Hear Me, that project started when COVID hit the US. I got so tired of all the negativity that I told myself I wanted to create something positive. So I called 20 of my friends and ask if they can write something on a piece of paper and I’ll photograph them via FaceTime. They said yes that was a great idea, so some of them wrote “I miss hugs from my parents” and “I miss eating out”. I captured them holding the paper via Facetime and 20 people became over 300 people. Then I was getting messages from Canada, Mexico, Italy, Philippines saying that each message that they read touched them in a positive way. I had fun doing those projects.

So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
They can reach out to me on my site www.isaacalvarez.com.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Tom Sandoval Sawyer Hartman Cameron Boyce Camilla Luddington Priscilla Quintana

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