This week on the Prodibi Pixel Magazine, we meet with Marcos Calomeno, a young artist living in Curitiba, Brazil, where he works as a professional fashion and portrait photographer.
Marcos had developed an early taste for art and photography when his father offered him his first camera. Starting his journey in a studio, studying fashion and lightning techniques, Marcos began to emulate his favorite artists and developed his own style.
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A few words about you, how did you start photography?
It all started when I was a child. I used to draw a lot because I was always so passionate about art, but at that time I didn't understand that yet. I only loved and appreciated beautiful pictures, animations, and drawings.
When I was about 15 years old, my dad bought me a digital camera and many photography stuff like magazines and books. I became more and more curious to explore and understand the things that my dad used to do: making cool images of birds and natural landscapes. My thoughts started to be all about photography but my dad didn't really appreciate that, so I became frustrated...
In my first year of university, which was 6 years ago, I finally could buy a new camera, and it is only in 2016 that I made the decision to live exclusively from photography. During my school years, I was always at the studio studying fashion photography and lightning. I remember that I used to bring art books from the library and study Rembrandt style, Loop and Paramount style of lightning.
2016 was the year in which I received my first campaign contract. It was fun, seriously, because I was working on what I was the most passionate about! Since then, I have been working mostly on fashion and portrait photography, and I do a bit of gastronomy photography as well in some cases.
You take pictures of a lot of models, how do you find them? What are your tips to give them good direction during the shooting?
It depends, there are some agencies or models that contact me or I find them unintentionally in the streets, at the market, etc. and there's even one in particular that I met at the bus stop! I ended up doing a fashion campaign with her which I'll attach to the interview! But mostly, I find them via Instagram. Can you believe it? Instagram is a really powerful platform for who are searching for professionals.
About the direction, I discuss the deals and the results with my team and my clients, so the most important question is “what are the expectations?”. And then, I'll direct the model in the way that I can make my client happy haha. But seriously, I use a lot of references to work with my team and the model before and during the photoshoot, besides my repertoire of course. And I confess, male poses are harder than female poses, probably because I hardly ever work with male models.
My recommendations for others photographers is always to read magazines and to watch “making of” from who you admire.
What is your philosophy about portrait photography? What makes a successful portrait for you?
Whoa. That's a complicated question. We have two ways here, one that makes our client happy and another that makes our soul shake. The last one, you don't decide to do it in my opinion, it's a natural process which occurs without you even realizing.
Most of my work makes my clients happy, it's simple, nothing magical or extraordinary. You take the briefing and get it done. So, what's your client’s need? Show a product, a concept or a lifestyle?
On my Instagram, I have a lot of publications where I try my best to make my clients smile. In most cases, I am showing a product or a model as her(him)self or just a common woman that wants to feel amazing or wants to embrace her body. It's incredible how many women have no confidence with their own appearance and I'm so grateful to do works that can give them another point of view, a point of embracing themselves in happiness and joy.
Already in my website, most of my works are about fashion or model's portfolio, it's almost 100% commercial. To me, all the pics on my Instagram and my website are considered somewhat successful because it makes my clients happy. And that’s what’s more important.
But... It's difficult for me to explain how we can make our soul feel the photography. It is a concept completely out of the commercial world, you will find this type of concept and portraits in Steve McCurry works for example. This man is so amazing that I can cry right now only because he knows how to capture a soul, capture the essence of life. Seriously, his work talks with who is seeing the pics because you can feel the emotion and the story behind the photography. I believe he can do it because he knows the story and the memories of somebody before he takes the shoot, but I'm not sure. Unfortunately, I'm too young to see these things.
Are you inspired by the work of other photographers or artists?
For sure! I love Annie Leibovitz, her work is so cinematic, atmospheric, like a masterpiece, really marvelous! It's completely different from my work and style, but I love her shots!
Alexei Bazdarev has great retouching skills, I like his wet style studio shooting. I like Den Bychkovsky and Ivan Gorokhov too. Ah, my friends tell me that my outdoor work is something like Leo Farias style, haha!
In terms of classic art, I love to study Delacroix paintings, Rembrandt and Velázquez, I have books from all these artists.
Is there someone in the world you dream to photograph?
There's a lot haha. Well, I guess my first option would probably be Fernanda Ly or Aigerim Dildarova. I like Asian models, Fernanda Ly has a great portfolio, she was a model for Louis Vuitton, Chanel, GAP and so much more. Aigerim isn't famous, but there's something that I like, her personality, genotype, I don't know, I wish I could work with her someday.
About your photography gears, what are your favorite tools?
At the moment I spend a lot of my time working with my Canon 5D Marki II and 70-200mm f2.8. It's my fav kit, but sometimes I use 35mm f1.8 or a 50mm f1.8 too. For post-processing, my Bamboo Wacom is my best friend. I work only with Camera Raw and Photoshop CS6 (seriously, the CC version crash when I use it, I don't know why, but whatever).
Do you have projects for the future like workshops, personal series?
For sure, I'm gathering various similar works that I've been shooting in lasts months to make a set, all these colorful works I pretend to turn into an exposition. I've been thinking in making two more sets, something that a paper will be the theme and then classicism the next one, I'm not sure yet, but probably I will work with these two.
Now in September, I did a photographic workshop in a college for advertising and designers students about art and fashion photography. And in the next months, I pretend to continue to organize more workshops and events. I need to find ways to spread my work haha.
To see more from Marcos:
All photographs copyright Marcos Calomeno and used with his permission.
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