Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeremy Pangilinan.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I was that kid.
My Dad used to come home with a stack of comic books for me when I was kid and I would devour them from panel to panel. I could understand storyline and sub context before I could read. You know how people would know the stats of their favorite athletes? I would know the stats of my favorite superheroes. I would then draw these superheroes all the time and try to create panels of my own that had the depth and action that were in my head.
Yeah, I was that kid.
Then my Dad came home with a polaroid camera. And that changed my world. I was so enthralled with this box, that my mind would create their very own stories or I would instantly see moments everywhere. I quickly appropriated that camera and carried it everywhere I went. And I mean everywhere. My brother would say it was like I was Linus and needing a security blanket. And mine, would be my camera. If there was a birthday party at school and you brought cupcakes, I would bring my camera to take pictures of the day. Yearbook Staff, impromptu fashion shoots in my garage, and hours filled in a darkroom was how I filled my time. We all knew some kid just like this.
And I was the kid you knew.
So really to say that I had a special and unique childhood would be silly to say. I was that person everyone knew. Not that I was popular by any means, I just mean that everyone knew someone like me. Everybody, knows a comic book loving geek. Everybody knows a High School Yearbook/Newspaper nerd. Normal, is how I would actually describe myself.
To continue on, the rest of my teens and early twenties, again, looks fairly normal. Family, tennis tournaments, scholarships, college, girlfriends, more tennis tournaments, retail jobs, friends, nightclubs, a stint as a photographer for a dating matchmaking company….
I should probably share that part of my life.
In my early twenties, I worked for this amazing woman, Melanie, who owned a contract with Great Expectations, the predecessor to Match.Com. This was still in the world of film photography and swiping left or right were years away. Essentially, this was where I cut my teeth. I was shooting everyone from people in their twenties to people in their twilight years. And since everyone coming through the door was looking for that special someone, I took this time in my life very seriously (being the romantic that I am). I probably shot on average, twenty to thirty people a week and this is where I feel, I learned how to talk to people, give direction, and hone my portrait photography skills. Shooting that much, that early in my life, was such a distinct way for me to simply learn how to be a better photographer.
Obviously, my life was filled with other things and other ways for me to practice my craft. But I feel that was pretty much as uniquely normal as I could be. But if you want some bullet points to more of my life, here goes; Moving to Southern California, Models named Milla, Stan Lee, MTV, Otis College of Art and Design, thinking I sprained my ankle when actually I broke my talus, GUESS?, designing shoes, walking from the LA Zoo to Long Beach, and lets end it with me trying to tell stories through the process that I learned from reading comic books and shaking it like a salt shaker.
Oh yeah and I also shot for Vogue.
Yeah, I was that kid.
Please tell us about your art.
Simply, I want to tell stories. Either it be still or moving, what I’m completely interested in, is telling the story of either what is in front of me or what is in my head. And the way I want to do that, is through creating images that you feel in your chest. I’m into things that pierce my heart. Those stories that pull at me. An image where the subject’s eyes are cutting me like a knife. Or where you can read into the sub-context and understand the story that is unfolding in front of you. And hopefully, that can be seen in my work. More importantly, it can be felt.
Working commercially in Los Angeles as an entertainment and fashion photographer, I got my start shooting for production companies and fashion houses but eventually other things started to catch my interest. I’m absolutely in love with shooting dancers. There is something really beautiful about their movement and the total control they have over their bodies. And on that note, I feel the same way about shooting nudes. There will always be beauty in the human body. And I guess that is hopefully another layer in what I would love people to see or understand about my work, that I do believe in the beauty that this world has to offer. And how abundantly clear it is all around us.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing artists today?
I think for any artist, I feel our challenge will always be our ability to leave our style on the things we touch. And not so much we try to do it, but do it in a way that leaves some kind of permanence, some kind of fingerprint that creates a path for others to follow.
The challenge of creating that kind of signature will be lifelong but the actual act of it living within a commercial space, is where I feel my challenges are. An example of this, is that I have a very Southern California esthetic. I use the Los Angeles landscape as my background, my light source, and most importantly, as my source of constant inspiration. So, if I derive a very distinct look from LA and its environment, I would like my style to be representative of that environment.
The question now is, how is it not? The majority of my commercial images are lacking a representation of a brown or black culture. And that’s the challenge. The intersection of commerce and art. I would love all aspects of my work to represent my style but it doesn’t. In the space of commercialism, where a client dictates the look and feel of some of my images, I don’t always get to say who I get to photograph.
But we are moving forward. We are getting better and realizing the capital power of the next generation of Americans and what they look like. And hopefully, with this change, so will my work.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I’m easily stalk-able.
My everything can be found at:
But really, my Instagram is a rolling feed of what is happening in my life. But check out my webby, my tweets, and my need to be updated YouTube channel. I also have this amazing portfolio book that I love to share with people if they love to hold tangible things.
Support? Just come and meet me, grab an açaí bowl with me, or simply just follow my exploits on one of my feeds. I want to connect with everyone out there. I also want to create and collaborate with people. So, if that is more of your jam, I’m here to create pretty pictures with you.
- Website: www.akafotoboy.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: akafotoboy
- Twitter: akafotoboy
Portrait: Jeremy Pangilinan
Photo Credit: Mosie Sandler