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Meet Van Nuys Art Director and Photographer: Jordan Duvall

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jordan Duvall.

Jordan, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My father passed his love of photography down to me and it really blossomed in high school! We were able to choose elective art courses and I signed up for photography and that was where I really fell in love. I’d spend hours in the darkroom watching the images come to life before my eyes and everything felt so magical! There was something about having a camera in my hand and paying attention to my surroundings, the colors, shadows, and lines that brought me a sense of peace and stillness.

In college, I majored in Fine Arts with a concentration in photography and was able to take my skill set to another level. We focused on B+W but then my senior year they made a color photography class available and I lost my mind. I would literally spend whole weekends in the darkroom developing my pictures and all of my extra money on supplies and camera equipment! I was too timid to take photos of people so I focused mostly on nature and landscapes.

After graduation, I had to “grow up” and get a “real job” and I was lucky enough to get a job working in entertainment advertising designing Key Art. This allowed me to combine my talent for design with my love of photography. I remember when I first learned that they use body doubles in the artwork and my mind was blown at the ability to manipulate imagery with photoshop!

After 5 years working at The Ant Farm, I had the opportunity to travel around the world and work on a private art commission that would allow me to work anywhere and I’d be offered the opportunity to have an art show in Paris to showcase my “ELECTRIC HOTELS” series, a series of graphic art I’d created from my photographs of vintage neon hotel signs.

I sold all my belongings, said my goodbyes and took off for the adventure of a lifetime. I took a Pentax DSL with me along with my Holga and as much 120 films as I could fit!! It was just the start of digital and it was hard to get used to. It took the soul away for me. It was too easy and with the ability to just snap snap snap I didn’t have to be as present. So I lugged it around but took most of my images with my Holga. I loved that I could wait for the perfect moment and keep my camera hidden and then SNAP just at the right moment.

I took over 3000 images on that trip and compiled the images into a few different series and showed them in a few art shows and galleries upon my return. My true love and passion for photography was ignited and I wanted nothing more to take photographs full time. I was scared to go after my dream so I opted to go to school and study makeup instead. It would allow me to be creative and still be in the world of photography without all the responsibility.

But I quickly realized that my dream couldn’t be quelled and started to do my own shoots while getting my feet wet in makeup. My photoshop background gave me a leg up since I could fix my lighting mistakes and I had an innate sense of composition. I later enrolled in UCLA extension and took several lighting classes to brush up my skills.

My love of design, color, makeup, and photography pointed me in the direction of fashion photography so I signed up for a Model Mayhem account and started to do test shoots and connect with other team members! It was so fun to meet people and learn through experience. I learned from my mistakes, made amazing connections and slowly built up my book and client base. As my skills and confidence grew I expanded into children’s portraits too!

Just as I was starting to get into my stride, I had the opportunity to work at one of the top entertainment advertising firms in Los Angeles. It was steady money over the holidays so I took it and loved being back in a day to day creative environment with some of the most talented people in the city! My contract was extended and was eventually offered a full-time position. My extensive background in photography gave me a leg up with designing movie posters and I was called to Art Direct most photoshoots for my group.

Currently, I am still focusing on Art Direction and have a young daughter but have some personal projects brewing and am learning about video! I feel we should always be learning, growing, and pushing our boundaries! Besides my family, photography is my greatest love and I feel alive when I capture that magic moment.

Has it been a smooth road?
The road to success is paved with failure. Building a photography business also coincided with the market crashing. The competition and demand to deliver work at a budget way below what was being asked for made it challenging to create a viable business as a fashion photographer.

For me, the biggest struggle was faith and belief that I would make it as a photographer. Finding my voice and style was a continual work in progress and it’s so easy to get caught up the comparison game. My path has been more of a zigzag than a straight line but in the process, I have grown as a person, met so many incredible people, and learned so many new skills that enhance my photography and art direction.

Any predictions for the industry over the next few years?
Social Media is changing the landscape of not only how we communicate but also media! We are marketing in a new way. In order to really penetrate your audience and make a difference we must engage and add value. It’s not about selling products. We’ve become suspicious of traditional advertising and high production value. Everything I have learned and been trained in has gone out the window. People want raw… vulnerable… slice of life. Not manufactured.

Video is king and we must learn how to share our message and add value in this new marketplace. We must engage with our audience. I see photography moving more towards video. I hope we move away from over photoshopping and selling a fake reality and pushing the idea of an unattainable perfection.

And virtual reality is on its way and will cause another huge shift that remains to be seen.

Has there been a particular challenge that you’ve faced over the years?
Motherhood. Becoming a mother has given me a deeper sense of purpose in my life. I feel more connected to the world around me and see life in a totally new light. Learning how to break through my limiting beliefs over who I thought I could and should be as a working mother has been one of the greatest challenges of my life. I have had to self-reflect and really question my priorities and make changes and learn that balance is bullshit. And so is perfection for that matter. We do the best we can and 100% of the time it’s not perfect. We need to stop holding ourselves up to a standard that is made up by society and the media.

What would you tell someone who is just starting out?
Things long and hard about the kind of life you want for yourself. Do you want a family? Do you want to travel? How much money do you need to be happy? How much flexibility do you want with your hours + schedule? We are not taught how to design our lives. We are told to get a job and pay the bills. Get clarity over what kind of life will bring you joy and fulfillment and then be creative and resourceful to get after it. Don’t be afraid of failure. In fact, welcome it. Study from the greats. Get a mentor… or 10. Always be learning. Set high standards for yourself and your life. Focus on the WHY and you will figure out the HOW. And also know that what you are seeking often shows up in a package you weren’t expecting. Say yes to every opportunity that feels right and be open to the possibilities.

Contact Info:

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Image Credit:
IMAGE 1 (model against reeds)
Photography by Jordan Duvall
Assistant, Ben Lee, benlee.com
Hair Atsushi Ninomiya
Makeup by Hila Karmand, hilakarmand.com
Styling Katarina Dahlstrom
Model Kristina Vassilieva

IMAGE 2 (horizontal pic w Paris projection)
Photography by Jordan Duvall, jordanduvall.com
Styling by Nic Krebs, nickrebs.com
Makeup by Sharon Hawkey, sharonhawkey.com
Hair by Valerie B, onlyvalerie.com
Model Veronica for imodels

IMAGE 3 (mirror image)
Photography by Jordan Duvall
Styling by Nic Krebs, nickrebs.com
Wardrobe provided by Lloyd Klein, www.lloydklein.com
Makeup by Hilla Peer, www.hpmakeup.com
Hair by Nicoletta Gauci, www.nicolettagauci.com
Models Amanda and Tricia Padilla for imodels

IMAGE 4 (black bathing suit)
Photography by Jordan Duvall,
Styling by Nic Krebs for Current Studio LA, nickrebs.com
Makeup by Sharon Hawkey, sharonhawkey.com
Hair by Marilyn Lizardo and Lizet Rodriquez
Models Alex Everett and Audra Marie for imodels

IMAGE 5 (spring beauty Shot)
Photography by Jordan Duvall
Assistant, Ben Lee, benlee.com
Hair Atsushi Ninomiya
Makeup by Hila Karmand, hilakarmand.com
Styling Katarina Dahlstrom
Model Kristina Vassilieva

IMAGE 6 (BW)
Photography by Jordan Duvall
Styling by Nic Krebs for Current Studio, nickrebs.com
Hair by Marilyn Lizardo for Paul Mitchell
Makeup by Hilla Peer, hpmakeup.com
Heather for Pinkerton Models

IMAGE 7 (red bow)
Photography by Jordan Duvall
Styling by Nic Krebs for Current Studio, nickrebs.com
Nails by Lynn Lammers for Current Studio
Hair by Marilyn Lizardo for Paul Mitchell
Makeup by Sally Wang for Cloutier Agency, sallywang.com
Breana for Pinkerton Models

IMAGE (girls in geometric dresses)
Photography by Jordan Duvall
Styling by Gus Castaneda
Makeup by Sharon Hawkey, sharonhawkey.com

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