Today we’d like to introduce you to Cristian Diaz.
Cristian, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I remember being in high school and having next to no motivation at all for anything the teachers were saying. I went to a really rich school but I had grown up very poor so I got used to always feeling like an outsider. It wasn’t until senior year, where I stopped caring about what others thought of me and just did what I wanted to do.
I had taken photo class my junior and did not take it seriously at all but for some reason my teacher decided to accept me for advance photo my senior year. I remember being in that class and thinking I was never going to figure out how to use an advanced camera, I was never going to understand what any of the settings meant, a lot of doubt to say the lease.
At the time all I cared about was watching movies, I would stay up till 4 am every night watching films on my phone just to go to shoot at 7:30 am more than half asleep and again not caring what the teachers had to say to me. I knew I had an eye for the visuals because my favorite movies always had the best cinematography. I knew I wanted to make movies one day but couldn’t figure out what I could contribute, thus sparking my interest in cameras. Cinema really did motivate me to figure out how to use a camera and by the end of my senior year, I was already setting up photo shoots. I literally started with just taking photos of my friends and still to this day I’m still photographing my friends. I slowly became obsessed with capturing images, particularly of people, and it wasn’t long until I got creative with a camera and everything just started feeling natural to me.
When I graduated, I no longer had access to a nice camera and went nearly two months after graduating without taking a picture and I knew there was an obvious void. I refused to just let all that time and energy go to waste but knew there was no way in hell I could afford a decent digital camera. One day however my cousin told me I could have her film camera and at the time I had no idea what she was talking about, I had friends who took film photos but it had never crossed my mind to shoot that format myself. Of course I was thankful for the camera but I didn’t think it would fill that void and I was greatly mistaken because when I started shooting on film my life really did change, I essentially progressed to that next level and I don’t think I would be as passionate with photography as I am today if it wasn’t for film. I became obsessed with film photography. I knew my journey was not over yet however, I knew my hometown was not the place to grow as an artists so I saved up for a car and eventually moved to LA when I was 19.
I’m 22 now and my LA experience is filled of ups and downs but I have gotten opportunities and have shot celebrities that I would have never thought were possible that first day in advance photo of my senior year. I’ve been enrolled in film school since 2016 and I would have never gotten the courage to chase after my dreams if it wasn’t for the confidence that I get when holding a camera. I am my own person, I make my own decisions, I fund myself entirely and I’ve probably could have bought a house with the amount of money I’ve spent on film. I remember jokingly saying when I was 18 at an airport holding my film camera that it was one day going to pay the bills, immediately doubting myself after I said it but since January of this year I’ve been freelancing full time and the bills are being paid. Obviously the journey is not over yet, and LA is no rain of sunshine, but the idea of living a normal life with a normal job terrifies me and I don’t mind living uncomfortably until I’m where I want to be. I have so many goals I still want to achieve and so much art I still need to create but what excites me most is the future and the pictures I have not taken yet.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Where I am today is by far no means been a smooth road. Everyday feels like a struggle when you’re a young artists living in LA and going to college. I have been humiliated, used and just downright bullied many times along the way. Sometimes paying for film and development means no dinner. I even got rid of my car recently just to have more money in my pocket every month. I’m literally living off the bare necessities. I currently live in downtown LA but before this, I was commuting to Hollywood for work and school everyday from Long Beach. I use to live in a mobile home next door to Compton. My place in LA is basically south central and the walk to the train station is always a risk but Looking back at it, I wouldn’t trade any of it.
The experiences I have had, the people I have met, these words I’m typing now would not be possible if anything were different. My biggest goal is the inspire people and if someone with the amount of shit I’ve gone through my entire life can make a name for themselves as an artist than I believe anyone can. There really is no excuse not to chase your dream, it’s supposed to be uncomfortable, it’s supposed to be risky, and sometimes it can feel kind of stupid but my biggest fear is waking up at age 40 and not doing what I’m doing now, just another person in this society we live in where it’s okay to give up, thinking dreams are unrealistic, clicking into work just to go home to life I don’t want. I refuse to settle and I think that’s the most important thing as an artist.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
My business is my name, Cristian Diaz. I freelance full time and that includes photos, music videos, album campaigns, basically any job that gets me on a set surrounded by other artists. I make music videos sometimes for artists I know, I have down a couple of lighting jobs for artists such as Chantel Jeffries, Sabrina Carpenter and Alina Baraz just to name a few. I think what I’m most proud about with my freelance work is that I’m the one doing it, people actually know who I am and give me jobs and pay me. I love the energy and feeling I get when on a set, no place I rather be and I’m just getting started. I think what sets me apart from others is my range, I don’t like titles, my mentally is why not be good at it all and I fee that’s a huge part of getting your name out there in a city like LA.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My future plans include making a serious short film and a fashion film all shot on Super 8 this summer. My end goal is of course to make movies one day but atm I’m just riding the wave until I feel like I’m ready for that. My dream company to shoot for one day is GUCCI and my dream artist to photograph would be ASAP Rocky and Ryan Gosling. I want to shoot campaigns for brands on a regular basis and shoot some of the most known models out there like Bella Hadid. I want to travel of course, my dream in Japan. I think atm what I look forward to the most is waking up in my own pad, not sharing a room, not stressed about money, just waking up and doing exactly what I want to do and being respected in the business.
- Address: 1438 East 20th Street
- Phone: 6613799991
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @cristiaaandiaz