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Rising Stars: Meet Giovanni Cardenales

Today we’d like to introduce you to Giovanni Cardenales.

Hi Giovanni, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
My love for photography started from a young age. As a kid, I hated being in photos, so I would end up being the one taking the family photos wherever we went. Ironically my main focus was becoming a professional baseball player, but this changed once I went to high school. During my freshman year, I took a mixed media class, which taught me the ins and outs of Photoshop. This introduced me to the concept of superimposing images, which are photos that are layered and positioned to create certain visual effects and illusions that you wouldn’t normally see within a photo. This technique changed my whole perspective on Photography. I began taking photos that were cohesive and could be merged together.

Since then, my style has transformed tremendously. But I still keep the same ideology in mind― distortion is character. Fast forward a year later, I was in my Sophomore year and my high school put together a trip to Italy. At the time, I still did not have my own camera, all I had was my iPhone. I would take photos of everything and anything that caught my eye until I discovered my own style of taking photos. My mixed media teacher, Ms. Furwa, saw my potential from the start. While we were in Italy she let me take over her 5D camera for the trip. It was during that trip that my love for photography transcended and I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life. That summer, I was finally gifted my own DSLR camera as an early birthday present from my Mom and could not stop taking photos. I would cut class just to go downtown and take photos of the city, from street fashion to whatever peaked my interest. I did this for about a year or two. When I entered my senior year of high school, I started to establish myself as a professional photographer. I started charging for photoshoots, barely charging $50 per hour. Once I took my profession more seriously, my clientele started to pick up. Some of the first models I worked with were the Clermont Twins. I am thankful for them for giving me a shot at such a young stage in my career. Since then, they’ve grown to be good friends of mine and have helped me reach more clients and opportunities.

About two months later, my boy @killakam invited me to The Smokers Club Festival in LA. This was a pivotal point in my career because I was still in high school trying to graduate, but I knew taking the risk was worth it. I officially dropped baseball and booked my trip. When I went out to LA, we ended up being kicked out of our Airbnb by the racist owner. However, it ended up being a blessing in disguise because we ended up at our homie Zeke’s spot until we could find a place to stay. As they say “everything happens for a reason”― that’s where I met JID for the first time. Since then, we became mad cool. I ended up taking one of my favorites photos during his set at the Smokers Club Festival, where I later duplicated him over the stage. The photo went up crazy on his page and I linked back up with them a few weeks later at Rolling Loud Miami. This was another pivotal point, as I was still in high school skipping class to chase my dreams. I was in Miami mobbing with JID at the festival when his managers, Zeke and Barry, told me they wanted to take me on tour. However, I was still finishing up my last couple of months in school. About a year later, I received a phone call from Zeke asking if I wanted to meet them on tour three days later in Connecticut. Since then, the rest is history. From 2019 until the pandemic hit, I went on six tours, traveling all over Europe, Australia, US, and Canada. Everything in my life has been a blessing and I am forever thankful for everyone who’s played their part.

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?
Definitely has not been a smooth road to say the least. A big struggle of mine when I 1st started photography was being able to financially support my passion, I either had to hustle or work just so I could develop my film or purchase new gear.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
My work is a representation of everything that’s happened in my life. Growing up in the Bronx, I’ve learned to find beauty in everything even in the ugly. I love describing my work as “distortion is character” because when I burn my photos or do certain techniques, it twists reality and provides an emphasis on the subject as well as combines multiple frames to tell one big story. My work is known for having high contrast and bright eccentric colors and my ability to duplicate someone multiple times within an imagine. Another style I’m most known for is my burning technique which provides sharp and rugged edges adding more texture with each burn this style is my favorite as each piece I do will be its own entity.

I’m most proud of being able to document 5 tours with JID; taking all of the photography and videography. This experience changed my life because I got to see the world doing what I love and getting paid for it. Being on tour definitely opened up my mind more and made me realize there’s much more to life than just staying in your comfort zone. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. My surrealism art sets me apart from other artists/photographers because I work heavy on trying to portray a certain emotion when looking at my photos.

So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
People can inquire about any bookings through my website (bxlyfe.com/booking) or reach out to me via Instagram dm. I currently am putting together a book releasing in October but for now, people can support by buying my prints on my website or simply showing my work to another person.

Contact Info:

  • Email: bxlyfe@gmail.com
  • Website: Bxlyfe.com
  • Instagram: @bxlyfe
  • Twitter: Bxlyfee


Image Credits:

Giovanni Cardenales @Bxlyfe

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