You might have seen his work while flicking through the pages of Jute or Kaltblut magazine; he might even have tried to snap your image while you are walking down the street. From portraits and editorial work to street-style images, Brooklyn-based photographer Fernando Paz
has a richly varied portfolio of work. We caught up with Fernando to discuss his work and current projects, and what it feels like being a photographer in the City.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started with photography.
I am Fernando Paz. I grew up in Mexico City and moved to New York eight years ago. I worked in advertising around 12 years, and continued my work as a creative director. I switched to photography full time pretty much a year ago, but I had been shooting for around four.
I have always loved photography; I was unconsciously shooting all the time, since I liked memories to be documented. Pictures help me remember situations, sensations, smells and feelings, and that makes me happy.
How does the city you live in inspire you?
Living in New York is really inspiring. Things happen all the time and not just in galleries, but the streets also; there are tons of people from everywhere. I think when you do not belong to a place, everything becomes more interesting; people, food, places, flavors, attitudes, you name it!
What is the biggest challenge of working in New York City?
Art is everywhere here. There are incredible artists, designers, performance people, actors, actresses, photographers from all over. It challenges me to push my boundaries and make my work stand out.
How would you describe your photographic style?
That is hard to say; I do not feel that I have a specific style yet. I am still experimenting, I guess, but I would describe it as a “let me see what can I do” kind of thing in order to keep it interesting for me. I love natural lighting and try to not plan anything before. I love challenges. I really like basic stuff so I can focus more on what to say with my pictures.
Which photographers have influenced you the most?
It is an infinite list for sure. Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, Richar Avedon, Peter Lindbergh, Steven Meisel, Jeanloup Sieff.
My daily feed includes any photographer from C-Heads, Emanuele Ferrari, Tamara Lichtenstein, Cameron Davis, Kesler Tran, Collin Levin, Tony Ellis, Chirs Vongsawat, Yana Bardadim, Javier Oddo, Wesley Carter, Chama, Ricardo Urroz, Giovanni Cervantes, Nick Suarez, Gudinni, Jonathan Taylor, Roon, Cuauhtémoc Suárez and like 2,583 more.
What has been your most memorable project so far and why?
I did this project
where I would ask random people on the street to pose with a skateboard. I chose the most contrasting-looking people possible; people that do not belong to the skateboarding world at all (I think I like it when I introduce skateboarding to the world).
Street style occupies much of your Instagram account. What makes you click when walking down the street?
I love the streets, and I try to shoot there as much as possible; random things happen all the time, every time – even right now; look to your right, and I am sure something is about to happen.
I think I like to be surprised by the randomness. I love things that I do not know; I love creating stories in my head about the images I do. I opened this Instagram account to upload these images and add a caption based on the picture taken.
If you could take anyone’s portrait, who would that be?
Ideally, Scarlett Johansson, Paz Vega, Penélope Cruz or Sara Sampaio; but I would like to do Faith Picozzi and Alysha Nett (alone or together). The portraits I am taking for sure are Brooke Eva’s, Kara Neko’s – and yours.
What makes a great picture?
When it connects with you; when the eyes are bare; when the laugh is real; when the image takes you somewhere.
What are you working on right now and what are your future plans?
I am working on different stories and trying to do some commercial stuff to expand my work. I am working on my happiness!