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Meet Dalia K Luis-Mateo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dalia K Luis-Mateo.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the many inspiring stories shared by Voyage LA. My name is Dalia K Luis-Mateo, better known as PICTURETHISMESS & I love to get down and dirty with the camera! I’m a first-generation Mexican-American born & raised in Koreatown, Los Angeles. Photography-Videography is a self-taught skill that has grown more over the years. It really started when I asked my parents if they would buy me a Sony point & shoot camera for Christmas of 2007. As my love for photography expanded so did my equipment, creativity & knowledge for the art. I began documenting the world through photographs and video clips, initially of family, friends & places that surrounded my everyday life. Eventually, I started to do freelance work and collaborations with other creators, artists, models, etc. It wasn’t until 2012 that I realized I could turn it into a stream of income, but I figured I keep having fun with it while it picked up. Forward years later, I have the honor of providing photography and videography services to people who appreciate my unique & captivating vision.

Life is a rollercoaster, yet despite the many adversities I’ve experienced growing up, I’m proud it never steered me away from being creative, inspired, ambitious, adventurous & spontaneous. It allowed me to see that there’s beauty in everything and everyone while shaping my field of vision to what it is today. To be honest, I always disliked the idea of choosing one career path, mainly because human progression is endless and we develop new interests along our journey, but for some reason I can’t seem to shake photography & videography away. At this point, it’s a part of who I am. The cool thing about photography/videography is that you could never get worse at it, only better.

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?
Not always. Similar to writer’s block, there’s been times where I didn’t have a single creative bone in my body. When I hit these phases as a creator, it’s hard to not question my talent because I am my biggest critic. Especially after taking a forced three years off after my equipment was stolen in 2018. I was not in the best financial space to re-up all my equipment which truthfully made it one of the saddest parts of my photography career. It really does take one thing to discourage you from pursuing your dreams, but I am glad I didn’t let this major setback stop me from producing & sharing more photos/videos with the world soon as I got the chance to again.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
What sets me apart is the unique way I document the developing environment and world around me. I’m talking buildings, known landmarks, cityscapes, the transit system, concerts/shows,  scenic views, everyday street life, etc. Mainly things that don’t require me to direct. In other words, raw images of life happening before my eyes. Even then, anything that I do direct is always top tier.

I am most proud of capturing moments in time that not many people would remember unless they saw a photograph again. The images I have documented and collected of Los Angeles over the years are really meaningful to me because it’s never going to look the same. The world around us is constantly evolving & to know that I am able to hold a piece in time with my photographs is always a surreal feeling. I will be releasing a documentary photo book of black and white images that focus on this very aspect. I can’t wait to share it with you.
Currently, I am working with individuals, creators, artists, & businesses in the Orlando/ Central Florida, Miami, Tampa, & Jacksonville areas who trust me to document their work . Even now, I make sure to capture the true essence of those I work with. Working with each of my clients is always a distinctive experience because they are now allowing me into their world.

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
I have a very unpopular opinion about Covid-19 so I’ll keep it short & sweet. It’s crazy how fast our new normal changed but at the same time amazing how as humans, we have the power to adapt to a new way of life no matter what gets thrown our way. This serves as a lesson to everyone to not ever let the bad circumstances we find ourselves in determine the power we have to create something better.

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