An Interview with Daniel Matallana
At an early age, Daniel Matallana has been exposed to strong and influential visuals due to his upbringing in Columbia. His own personal style delves on playfulness and introducing a world of desire. His work can be found in Seventeen Magazine, GQ, Cosmopolitan, and Harper’s Bazaar. He discusses his own work, influences, and how traveling can be used to create a strong visual narrative in photography.
Jennifer Gutierrez: Who or what influences you and your work?
Daniel Matallana: Everything from the political climate to classical and contemporary art, movies, photographers, and technology. The entire world in general, from the past to the future. I am always studying different topics, from technicalities in photography and art to ways to implement emotions even if that requires breaking rules.
Jennifer Gutierrez: How do you frame your models within a shot?
Daniel Matallana: I don't really have a recipe for this. It depends on the environment and how it feels. Usually, I like shooting with wide angles, so I can come close to the model and also have a good view of everything around it.
Jennifer Gutierrez: How can you find a pose that can compliment what a model is wearing?
Daniel Matallana: I personally don't like to pose models. Usually, I like to work in this from the casting, making sure I have a model that knows what she/he is doing. Then I just let them work the clothes. I give them a vibe or a fictional situation like a director would do to an actor. Once I start shooting, I just happen to feel if I like it or not. In case if the models are not good at posing, I try to find references for them to have a starting point and ask them to move around that pose.
Jennifer Gutierrez: How can you find the right environment or location for a photoshoot?
Daniel Matallana: Sometimes it is as tight as the conception of the story or idea you are going to shoot, sometimes is whatever you find around that matches or contrast with the colors, textures or the narrative of the shoot.
Jennifer Gutierrez: How do you use an environment to create a cohesive narrative?
Daniel Matallana: Finding some element that goes throughout the story: like color, texture, or shapes and using the other elements like framing to make it cohesive.
Jennifer Gutierrez: How do you evoke emotions in your own personal works?
Daniel Matallana: Pretty much this is just about having a good team that understands what you want. Those emotions come with the sum of elements. Makeup and hair, model performance, location, and end with the retouching and color grading.
Jennifer Gutierrez: What are some important elements that a fashion photographer need to consider when shooting a picture?
Daniel Matallana: The model and the pieces to shoot for me are the most important ones. With just that, you can make it work.
Jennifer Gutierrez: How are you able to hook a person’s interest in a picture? How do you keep your audiences engaged?
Daniel Matallana: It used to be with having a striking image either on its complexity or its simplicity, and the emotion it evoked but we are in an information overload era where I think this is not enough anymore and I am not sure of what the answer for this is anymore.
Jennifer Gutierrez: How do your pictures maintain a dialogue with each other?
Daniel Matallana: Through keeping your personal point of view throughout your work and figuring out an element, you like to expose and making it repetitive to define your aesthetic.
Jennifer Gutierrez: With your portfolio, how do you keep a consistent theme?
Daniel Matallana: Making sure that you shoot always what you want the most, you are obsessed with, and that should run through your body of work.
Jennifer Gutierrez: How does composition and lighting reinforce storytelling within photography?
Daniel Matallana: Giving the mood. Just like in movies. Those are the basic language of visual storytelling.
Jennifer Gutierrez: How would you describe your own work?
Daniel Matallana: Emotional and experimental. Not technically necessarily, but aesthetically.
Jennifer Gutierrez: How do you fulfill your vision and the client’s vision?
Daniel Matallana: When you have a client, I just figure that if they hire me it's because they trust my vision. But also I study the client to understand their aesthetics, target market, etc. and mix it all together. I try to see what the client saw in me, so I can give it to them and work in their world.
Jennifer Gutierrez: What words of advice would you give for future fashion photographers?
Daniel Matallana: Travel! "The eye has to travel," as Diana Vreeland once said. The world is a huge pool of resources for inspiration.