We Are Not Alone

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This week I was presented with a very demanding project, something that I have never done before, and I have to admit that I was feeling really overwhelmed. So much so, that I got some sort of writer's block and couldn't even start writing the proposal. Thankfully my friend Ben, who's an amazing photographer and an even better person, gifted me with an hour (or two) of his time to answer all my questions and to remind me that freelancing doesn't mean 'isolation', it just means 'freedom'.

When you become a freelancer there is a big adaptation process because you go through a lot of changes in your life. Some of the changes are obvious, like gaining control over your life and the type of work that you do; or being your own boss, even though now every client is effectively like a boss; or not having a steady income and having to work hard for your money. But there are other changes that nobody warns you about: like the fact that you don't work until it's clocking-out time, you work until you accomplish; or that you are liable for more things and the feeling of not wanting to mess-up is bigger; or that you spend the majority of your time on your own. But to me, the most difficult change to adapt to has been not being able to turn and ask your co-worker a question when you don't have a clue of how to proceed in a certain situation.

That is why it is imperative that you build a support network to help you out in moments when your level of expertise is not enough to overcome an obstacle or even in times when you just need someone to talk to who can understand or celebrate what you are going through. Being part of a strong and embracing community is not only about having people to go out for drinks with, or networking with those who might be sending jobs your way. It is about surrounding yourself by people who will help you become a better professional and who know that by helping you grow the whole community grows as well.

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Sometimes You Need Darkness To Find Light

Photography does not exist without light. The word photography itself means "drawing with light". Learning to understand and control light is one of the biggest challenges for aspiring photographers. But photography does not exist without darkness either, for it is the absence of light that gives us the possibility to build an image. And in troubled times like the ones we are living this thought gives me hope. We have the opportunity to create a better future if we add the proper light to our current darkness.

As a photographer you start discovering the world through your viewfinder using the available light of the scene. Like a baby on their self-discovery phase, you are more concerned about the technicalities of the camera than in understanding the world around you. You take the surroundings as they are and really don't care about questioning their reason for being or wondering how you can affect them. But, once the baby has learnt how to use the different parts of their body, they now go on a quest for discovering the world that unravels itself in front of their eyes. So now you take your camera and photograph your surroundings and learn to tell the difference between shooting at night or day or in different weather conditions. And you realize that the available light is not always enough or is not coming from the right angle. So now you want to complement the light with more light or learn how to reshape it. And once you have finally understood where the light is coming from and why it behaves the way it does, now you go into a dark studio and start adding light to your subject from scratch. And you create your own world.

Similarly, our generation was born into a world that was shaped for us by our predecessors. They did all the fighting for the rights that we take for granted today. And for a few decades the illusion that we were living in a more open and inclusive world made us feel like the fight for these rights was over. So we just focused in ourselves and in our self-discovery. But by letting the guard down, our eyes were opened by those who don't believe in equality and peace and the world that unravelled in front of us is not the one that the previous generations fought so hard for. Like the aspiring photographer, it is our time to understand where the light that we were enjoying came from and to learn how to control it and reshape it so that we can shine some light back into this darkness. So that we can create a better world than the one that was left to us.

Sometimes you just need to go into full darkness to be able to find your light.

Photo credit: behind the scenes image by Ferran Vergés.

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Do - Err - Learn - Repeat - Succeed

Before becoming a photographer, my last proper job was at a fashion house in Barcelona. I worked there for many years and I have to admit that in a way that company was like a school to me. I learned so much from them and I grew both as a professional and as a human being. The people whom I met during those years changed my life forever. One of the biggest lessons that I learned on that job was from the CEO of the company himself. He once told me that working in an environment which tolerates mistakes invites people to take risks and innovate. And to me that was the secret of the company's success at the time. When you fear nothing, you become a doer.

I grew up in an environment that was very intolerant to mistakes. At school, there was always the competition to be the best: best of the class, best in sports, best friend... second best was not enough. And because I have always been terrible at sports and I wasn't very popular with classmates I opted for trying to be the best of the class, which rapidly proved to be harder than I expected. There were just too many other kids better than me in almost every field. Except for English and Poetry, in which I did very well... but was never the best. At home, like in many other homes, if things weren't done the way that they had to be done, there were always consequences. Mistakes were always reprimanded, there were never lessons to be learnt from erring.

All this culture of intolerance to errors affected my personal and professional life for many years to come. Whenever I did something, it had to be done to perfection. If not, the first one to punish myself was me. And believe me, I can be my worst enemy. And if I didn't foresee a positive outcome, I just wouldn't pursue the task. I was never the risk-taker, at least not in my professional life. It wasn't until I joined that company that I discovered the beauty in making mistakes. You do, you err, you learn, you repeat, you succeed.

In just a few years, my co-workers and I took that local brand with a very niche clientele from a 60-employees company with stores just nationwide to a multinational company operating a global brand with presence in 80 countries at that time. And to do that, you not only need committed people who believe in your project and who bleed the colours of your brand. You need people who aren't afraid of making mistakes. You need people who understand that erring and learning is the path to success. You need people who feel safe working in an environment where recovering from failing is more appreciated than never have failed at all.

Now that I am a freelancer I still try to do things to perfection from the beginning because erring can be more expensive when you are on your own. But I have learnt that if I want to get somewhere I have to take risks and I mustn't fear mistakes. There is no growth in playing it safe.

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Clients: Hard To Win, Easy To Loose

Over the last few months I have seen in social media a hideous trend where some businesses use "memes" to make fun of what they consider a terrible client. And I must admit, some of them are really funny and very relatable. But how would you feel if, for instance, your favourite shop posted on their social media an experience that they had with you and made fun of you as a customer? Would you ever go back to that shop again? No. So why are your clients less worthy of respect?

Don't bite the hand that feeds you. As businesses we depend on our clients for survival. Without them we wouldn't exist. And disrespecting clients, specially in tough situations, sends the wrong message to the rest of your current and potential customers. If you don't believe me, ask United Airlines. And I am not trying to be clichéd here and preach that "the client is always right" because I don't believe that either. Sometimes the client is wrong. But they deserve respect, and if you feel the need to tell them that they are mistaken, do it in a positive way where you both get something out of it. In the end, like it or not, we need them more than they need us: they can easily go somewhere else to look for the service that you offer and they will find it better, different, cheaper or just about the same but with a better customer experience.

If you find yourself catering for clients that continuously drive you insane, it's not their fault: it's yours. Maybe it's time to think about changing your strategy: try raising your prices to filter who can afford your services, or try changing target markets and attract a different type of client. But in the meantime, suck it up! At least you have clients! And if you don't want them, I am pretty sure that there is a long cue of businesses that would happily take them.

Remember: you are a business, but you are also a client. Don't treat your clients like you don't want your suppliers to treat you. Everyone deserves respect. It's basic human decency.

Photo credit: taken during one of the Freelancers Club's masterclasses.

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When I Spoke To Juergen Teller

Before deciding to move to London for good, I came to the city in early 2013 to see if I would like living here and if there was a chance for me to make it as a photographer. I remember going to an event organized by The Guardian where Sean O’Hagan interviewed Juergen Teller at the Royal Geographical Society. At the end of the event, Juergen was signing copies of his books and after asking me who shall he sign my copy to, he asked me what was I doing in London. And when I told him that I was trying to figure out whether to move here to become a photographer he said that there wasn't a better city in the world to be a photographer. He doesn't know it, but with those words he changed my life forever: by the end of that year I moved to London, and the following year I became a full-time photographer.

I have a profound admiration for Juergen Teller's work. I love the work of many photographers but there is just a rawness and a bluntness in his photography that makes it very honest. I have been asked in the past how come I mention him as one of my inspirations if my work doesn't look anything like his... but I think that one thing is admiring someone and a very different one is trying to copy them! I don't want to be him, I want to be me and shoot like me. I just like the way that he portrays people in a way that other photographers are scared of: showing people and their surroundings as they are, with their virtues and what are considered their flaws, because there is beauty in everyone.

We photographers, like many creatives, capture a three dimensional world in a two dimensional medium. And while many others try to represent that third dimension by using perspective and other visual techniques, I believe that this third dimension is actually the emotion that we awaken in whomever is looking at our work. Juergen Teller has often been called a provocateur. But where others see provocation, I see honesty. I see someone trying to create the image that has never been seen before. And I share that vision, I share his struggle. Paraphrasing Iris Apfel, there is just too much sameness in photography these days.

I hope that one day my words could affect anyone the way that his words affected me. Moving to London was one of the best decisions that I have ever taken in my life.

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The Illusion Of Safety

The phone rang. A woman's voice with a soft tone could be heard on the other side of the line: "Good afternoon, Mr. Candanedo, I am calling from XYZ. We noticed that you haven't renewed your policy with us and we were wondering if you had decided to go with a different insurance company? And if that is the case, we would be interested in knowing what could have we done to keep you as a client?". I gasped in panic: "Do you mean that I have been working all this time without being covered?!". Luckily, it was a misunderstanding and everything was in order. But, that two-minute phone conversation left me with a feeling of unease for the rest of the day. How can any photographer afford the risk of being uninsured?

In a world where nothing is as certain as death and taxes, accidents come at a very close second place. And because they are so unpredictable, not being prepared for them is a risk that you just can't take. Not if you are a photographer... or an MUA... or a Hair Stylist... or any other freelance creative for that matter. We often don't think about it but our jobs come with a huge responsibility: we work with people, equipment, chemicals in the form of make-up and hair styling products, we borrow and hire goods for which we are liable, and when something goes wrong it is definitely too late to think about what could have been done to mitigate the repercussions. And even if you don't like to be pessimistic attracting the "bad luck", there are certain types of jobs that you just won't be able to take if you are not insured.

Buying insurance can be a very intimidating task. And sometimes you are better off studying to be an astronaut than trying to understand the wording on your policy. But these are not valid excuses for not being insured. If you are a freelance creative and you come face to face with members of the public (including clients and contractors), if you visit clients and work on their premises, or if you work from home and clients come visit you, you need to be at least covered by a Public Liability Insurance. A Public Liability Insurance protects you and your business from injuries to other people or damage to property caused by you or anyone working for you. How much should you be covered for? It depends on the type of work that you do, but I have worked with clients or premises that required me to be covered for at least 5 million pounds.

What other types of coverage do you need? Again, it depends on the nature of your job. For the type of work that I do, my policy covers me for:

  • Employers’ Liability: In the UK, the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 requires that you have at least a minimum level of insurance cover for your employees. Who is considered an employee?
    • Permanent full and part-time staff
    • Volunteers
    • Trainees
    • Labour only subcontractors
    • Work experience placements
    • Interns
    • Temps
    • Apprentices
  • Owned and Hired Technical and Portable Equipment
  • Personal Accident

Having insurance will not prevent accidents from happening and they can give you a false sense of safety. You still need to create the safest environment possible for you and for the people around you. But when things go wrong, having insurance can make the difference between staying in business or not.

Photo credit: Andrzej Gruszka

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What Is My Contribution?

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Today is the last day of the tax year 2016-2017 in the UK, and at the moment you can find me surrounded by receipts and invoices trying to put all my previous year finances in order. It is a bit early, I know, but like most self-employed people I do my accounting on my own and I would rather do it now than wait until the very last minute. And also, knowing how much tax I am paying gives me a sense of how much I am contributing to my host country. Specially these days when immigrants seem to be considered a burden. But while doing this I cannot help but wonder if this is my real contribution. Can a human being's value be measured by how much they pay in taxes?

We are all just a number. It is a fact. And it kind of makes sense that it is this way otherwise it would be unmanageable for governments to create policy. But that is from the top down. From the bottom up, however, it is a completely different matter. We are all individuals, and the sum of our individualities creates communities. And the strength of a community cannot be measured by numbers; it can only be measured by its impact in society. So if we want to live in a loving, open and accepting society, we need to contribute individually to creating positive impacting communities.

Our contribution as individuals lies in the consequences of our everyday actions. If we are good to others, if we treat known and strangers with respect, if we support those who do good and condemn those who do bad, if we spread a message of love and acceptance instead of rage and hatred, in our homes, to our loved ones, to our neighbours, in our workplaces, we are contributing to creating the kind of society that we want to live in.

We all have in us the power to change our communities. The ones who do good but also the ones who do evil. So if we want to live in a loving and accepting society we must outnumber those who don't. It all starts with one: You. And if you count me, that makes us two. Enough to start a revolution. Because our real value, our real contribution is bigger than what the revenue services will ever be able to measure.

Photo credit: Dan Clarke.

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This Too Shall Pass

We are living in times of change. From every corner of the planet you hear news about big economical, political and social changes taking place every day that are altering the structures that we take for granted. Uncertainty seems to be the new normal whether you are on the promoting or the affected side of the change. But change in itself is not bad. In fact, it is what has kept us going as an evolving species and, quite frankly, we haven't done too bad. How we manage and adapt to the change, on the other hand, can be the difference between survival or extinction.

"This Too Shall Pass." There is a long lasting debate about the origin of this phrase. Religious people claim it their own quoting their sacred books even if it's not written anywhere in them. Non-religious people say it is part of a Persian Sufi poem, quoted by the likes of the English poet Edward Fitzgerald or the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. But, disregarding which side of the debate you pick, you can't deny that it is a phrase that is very humbling in times of pride and very encouraging in times of defeat. And no matter where in the world you are at and what circumstances you are living right now, they too shall pass. So it is the Now and what we do with the opportunities that present themselves to us that really matter. Adaptation to change is the key for our survival.

But in the adaptation process to this ever-evolving world one thing must remain constant: our human values. Because the promoters, the affected, the protagonists of these changes will always be us. And the only way to move forward and to avoid self-destruction is to keep a strong set of human values as our priority: we should never bargain with love, kindness, justice, peace, honesty, respect, loyalty or equality. No matter the price or the sacrifice, human values must never be negotiable.

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Why I Created A New Website

As photographers we are constantly told that we should focus on a niche and just call ourselves one thing: a Portraits Photographer, or a Food Photographer, or a Weddings Photographer, but never two or several types of photographer at the same time. And this makes sense, as it is easier for your target audience to relate to you. You can be the "Food Photographer" that they need instead of forcing them to try to understand where does your food photography end and where does your newborn photography begin. But as simple and as logic as this sounds, it is actually one of the hardest challenges that I have encountered so far.

For us photographers, the camera is just one of the many tools of our trade. Our equipment doesn't define us, you can be a great photographer whether you shoot with an iPhone or with a £50K Hasselblad camera. The real magic of our art form happens through our eyes and in our brains. And inside our brains we have a broad set of skills and an even broader array of tastes that make us enjoy shooting very different types of photography. We might not be good at all of them but that doesn't mean that we can't be good at several of them. So it is only normal that you can actually enjoy shooting weddings, fashion, newborns and landscapes and be able to make a living out of all of them.

The problem comes when your potential clients can't make up their minds to hire you because your portfolio confuses them with such a variety of photography types. You think that you look like a more skilful photographer if you show everything you do but they might think that you are all over the place. And this is what had started happening to me with my portfolio. I have clients in different sectors and trying to show all my work in one portfolio was becoming very confusing, even for myself.

That is the reason why as of now I have separated my portfolio into two different websites:

1. Grey Pistachio, the current one, will continue focusing on fashion and on my personal projects and blog.

2. Portraits By JC, the new one, will be dedicated to showcase my portraiture work.

This way I can show my potential clients who require portraits my new website (headshots, portraits, corporate, pregnancy) and only show my fashion work to my clients in the fashion industry. Obviously this is not set on stone and it can easily change or grow in the following years, but at this moment I find that it's easier for me to explain what I do depending on the person that is trying to hire me.

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When JC Spoke To HUF [Print]

"Like Diane Arbus famously said: 'I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn't photograph them.' And I would add that if I didn’t take photos there would be stories in my head that would never come to life." Grab issue 59 of HUF Magazine where I am featured in the creative profiling section along other creatives worth keeping an eye on. HUF's Editorial Manager Kurt Roth and I spoke about where I find inspiration, about my ambitions and about what makes a perfect image. You can buy the magazine here.

HUF Magazine is the creative magazine for the creative mind. Exclusive interviews with creative individuals around the world. Creativity is our core. Featuring the very best in talent and skill. Exploring the creative minds of actors, artists, designers, models, photographers, stylists, writers…and much much more. It’s a gateway for creatives, who deserve recognition of their work, whether they are amateur, student, semi-professional or professional.

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When JC Spoke To Rion [Print]

"These days, literally anyone can take a photo, but not everyone can be a photographer. Being a photographer requires a set of skills that are very underrated. We are business people, we are artists, we are project managers, we are producers, we are re-touchers... and sometimes we are even psychologists! Our eyes are trained to see beauty, even in the oddest of places and with the click of a button we have the ability to freeze time. How’s that for a super power?" Grab a copy of this month's issue of Rion Magazine where I was interviewed by Editor-in-Chief Wayne Noir.

RION Magazine is a London based bi-annual fashion magazine featuring the very best in creative talent and emerging creatives.

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When JC Spoke To Ilise [Podcast]

A couple of weeks ago I took part on Ilise Benun's podcast series "Experienced Newbies" where we had a very interesting conversation on career changes as an adult. We spoke about what it feels like when you start from scratch around your 40's, on how to take advantage and transfer skills from your previous industry and we came up with some good advices for starting creatives. Listen to the full podcast here.

Ilise Benun is a Business Expert for Creative Professionals and the author of 7 business books for the “creatively self-employed,” as well as a national speaker and founder of Marketing-Mentor.com. During her 25+ years in business, she has developed and delivered programming for creative professionals, notably as co-founder/host of the Creative Business / Design Entrepreneurship program of HOW Design Live and via her popular online course for CreativeLive.com, "Command the Fees You Deserve."

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This Is The Time To Create

We are at our most creative when we experience very happy or very disturbing events. We get inspired by love, by joy, by our achievements… but we also get inspired by pain, by suffering, by the struggle… Intense emotions spark our inner muse and we have no choice but to materialise what we are going through in the form of whichever medium we work with. We are sometimes the victims, other times the witnesses, but we are always the storytellers. And in times like the ones we are living it is our duty as creatives to spread the word on the issues that affect our community, our country or the human race.

Fashion week this season has been accused of getting too political and has been under fire for supposedly trying to profit from anti-Trumpism. But whomever is making these accusations is missing the point: being pro-equality, pro-diversity, pro-peace does not automatically make you anti-anyone. This cause is not about the Musevenis, the Farages, or the Trumps. This cause is bigger than all of us, it’s about 7 billion people sharing a planet. It’s about being pro-humanity.

So it is only normal that Fashion Design, like any other creative endeavour, uses the channels at its disposal to express concern for what our society is turning into. Because it is in times like these that we creatives must create. It is our calling and our duty to protest, to educate and to give voice to those who are not allowed to have one. So for me, that is not being “too political”. That is just being a good human being.

Photo credit: Rein presentation during London Fashion Week.

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See You At LFW AW17

London Fashion Week is around the corner and this year you will find me shooting the runway for Hellavagirl Couture and taking over Rion Magazine's Instagram account to bring you the looks in the shows, the showrooms and the streets throughout the whole event. So go give them both a follow on Instagram to stay up to date with everything fashion!

Helen Woollams founded Hellavagirl in 2011 and was awarded Britain's Top Designer 2016 for her innovative and creative design process, often cutting straight into cloth. Each piece is individually produced and hand finished in their UK based studio. Hellavagirl creates Couture collections twice a year as well as a Ready-To-Wear line and a bespoke dress service. 

RION Magazine is a London based bi-annual fashion magazine featuring the very best in creative talent and emerging creatives.

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On Being A Professional Photographer

A few days ago someone asked me what did I think takes for someone to make it as a professional photographer, especially nowadays when literally anyone with a smartphone is able to take pretty decent photos. And to me, the first misconception that every non-photographer has is trying to equate the craft of photography to the business of photography. You can take very good photos without understanding how photography works, but you can't make it as a professional photographer if you don't understand the business.

Uncle Pete might shoot the most beautiful photos during someone's wedding, or co-worker Martha might capture someone else's real essence with her smartphone for their LinkedIn profile, sometimes they might even know how to retouch them themselves for that extra kick and someone might even argue that they do a better job than most professional photographers out there. But the keywords here are the "might" and the "sometimes" because being a professional photographer means that what you deliver has to be consistent with what your client needs, it means that the client can rely that you are not only going to be on time and deliver on time but that you are also going to in fact deliver, it means that every time that they hire you they will get the same quality and reliability that they got before.

Being a professional photographer means that the days that you are not photographing for your clients you are either meeting with clients or looking for new clients, or working on personal projects, or working on your self-promotion, or working on your accounting, or working on other administrative tasks. Professional photography means having to get and take care of photography equipment, computer, external drives, backup servers, website, domain name, business email, insurance... and the list goes on.

Working as a professional photographer means dealing with people, because people are at the core of the business in the form of clients, subjects or peers, and if this fact is ever ignored then the business is doomed to fail. Being a professional photographer means that we don't sell photos, we sell expertise, we sell solutions, we sell the ability to awaken emotions, we sell the feeling that someone gets when they see themselves or their products in images, we don't sell just a digital file or a printed piece of paper.

And finally, to finish answering the question I think that to make it as a professional photographer you have to understand that it is a job, and like with any other job you should get paid for it to cover your expenses and hopefully earn some money. Because professional photography is a career, it's a long-term endeavour to fulfil your passion.

Photo credit: behind the scenes by Andrzej Gruszka

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5 Minutes With JC

A couple of weeks ago, the people from #Photography Magazine asked me if they could interview me for their website on my career and my "Brexiters" project. The interviewer was the lovely Lisa Gillies who had some really interesting questions about my motivations for the project and the whole process that I went through in the creation of the series. One more time I want to thank Daisy and Genea for all their support and for featuring my photography project in their Europe Edition.

You can read the full interview by following this link.

Photo credit: Dan Clarke.

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#Photography Takeover

This week I'm taking over #Photography Magazine's social media to talk about my "Brexiters" photography project. "Brexiters" is a personal project where I explore the image that British people have of those who voted in favour of leaving the EU during the referendum. The sitters were asked to impersonate someone who they thought voted pro-Brexit. I was not interested in their actual political views. I was just interested in the image that British people had of this voter: how would they dress, how would they behave, how would they look at me while I was taking their photo. I specified in the ad that it didn't have to be a stereotyped profile; I just wanted to see their interpretation of this voter and see if it matched the description that the media was portraying.

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The Societies Photographic Convention 2017

Last week, the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers (SWPP) held its annual convention packed with educational programs and a representation from the big names in the photographic industry eager to show the latest in technology and design. As a member of the SWPP, I never miss the opportunity to come to this gathering and if you are a photographer who's serious about their craft you mustn't miss it either.

This year I particularly enjoyed The Flash Centre's stand, which featured photographer and retoucher Glyn Dewis, the backgrounds tutorial by The Photographer Academy, the motivational Blogging for Photographers talk by Donal Doherty from Engage, all the seminars on retouching and composites from Adobe (a big shout-out to Richard Curtis for putting together such interesting seminars) and the really inspiring tote bags from the guys at Folio Albums.

The SWPP is one of the strongest photographic organizations in the UK aimed at servicing the needs of professional photographers, whether in full or part-time occupations. The SWPP currently represents photographers who specialize in the following areas of expertise: photojournalists, weddings, portraits, children, animal, equestrian, digital, commercial, fashion, glamour, landscape, nature, sport, medical, scientific, press, PR, architectural, industrial, forensic, natural history, research, amongst others.

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Happy Is The New Beautiful

Throughout 2016 I worked really hard to make my portfolio more diverse and to try to do my part in making this Industry more fair.  I've worked with people from different genders, different ethnicities, different ages, different origins... But one thing I haven't done yet is work with people with different body types. And it might not be entirely my fault as most of the times I have no control over the castings but I feel like I must do something about it. Isn't it about time we stopped believing that beautiful only means skinny?

Alexandra Shulman, the editor-in-chief of British Vogue, wrote on her editor's letter for the December 2016 issue of the magazine how hard it was to get clothes for the cover's model Ashley Graham. Apparently, none of the designers that usually work with the magazine wanted to dress her because she doesn't fit the impossibly skinny sample sizes that these brands make. And like Mrs. Shulman, I too believe that the we are at a historical moment in fashion where the Industry is craving diversity from within. So how narrow-minded and retrogade can a brand be to not be able to realize that people, not only from the inside but also from the outside of the Industry (customers), want diversity? People want to relate, they don't want to feel ashamed anymore for not being white enough, or tall enough, or skinny enough; they want to get inspired by brands and their ethos and feel like the brands are talking to them, not looking down on them.

Beautiful means "pleasing to the senses". It doesn't mean "this" size or "this" colour or "this birthplace". It means that I see someone or something and I like them. And I see Ashley Graham and I feel like she is such an amazingly gorgeous woman that I would give anything to be able to photograph her and I just can't understand why a designer would not want to dress her?! And it's not only about women. Men are also prey to this nonsense. Beautiful guys from all backgrounds and sizes pass in front of my lens every week and they tell me about the things that agencies or clients tell them about their bodies and how they are constantly shamed into eating less and working out more or lie about their age and height and all I can think is "Why??? Is it even possible to make them more perfect?!".

And I'm not saying that I don't support a healthy lifestyle. We should all take care of ourselves. But I do believe that you can be healthy regardless of your size. You can most certainly be naturally skinny and healthy, but that doesn't mean that you can't be a bigger size and healthy as well. And that's the keyword: healthy. And not only physically, but also mentally. There is nothing more beatiful than someone with a healthy self-esteem. Happy is the new beautiful.

Photo credit: behind the scenes by Andrew Clark.

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I Am Looking For A Few Good People

People. We are born from people, we are brought up by people, we fall in love and we make families with people; we work for people and with people, people make us smile, they make us cry; what we eat, what we wear, where we live has been made by people... if people seem to play such an important role in our lives, why is it that we tend to value more the material things over our fellow human beings?

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to include in your resolutions for this new year that you will try to be good to others, not only in 2017, but for the remaining of your life. Because this last year got the worst of us and we won't survive long as a species if we don't start coming together. The future of the human race is in our hands and we can still do something to be remembered as the generation that brought communities together instead of the generation that lost hope and that let extremists get away with imposing hatred and fear.

One of Tiffany & Co.'s most beautiful advertisement campaigns states that "In this new year someone will fall in love, someone will have cake with candles, someone will move away, someone will come home, someone will finally graduate, someone will get a job, someone will be born, someone will propose to someone..." but I feel like it's missing that "in this new year someone will try to be a better person." I know I will. My wish is that you do too. Happy 2017.

Photo credit: behind the scenes by Andrew Clark.

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