Antonio is an international brand builder, creative storyteller, and digital innovator, who develops and explore ideas for clients by weaving words and images into simple narratives and visual stories. Antonio began his fashion photography career while working for Affliction Clothing in Signal Hill, CA.
After several years in Los Angeles, Antonio moved to Miami where he has built his extensive client base of international designers and fashion houses all while honing his creative eye and photography acumen. In 2015, brought is photography and creative direction aesthetics to Brooklyn, New York.
I would describe my style of photography as…
I describe my photography style as classic fusion, which is my vision, modern techniques, and a mix of the classic film masters of Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Horst P. Horst and many of the other greats I’ve studied.
What was your first camera, and how’d you get started in photography?
My first camera was a Nikon F4 Film camera that my grandfather purchased for me 2nd hand in 1992. I was introduced to photography as a child in the early 80’s by my grandfather’s lifelong friend, and civil rights photographer, Gordon Parks, when my family visited our relatives in Harlem, New York.
Why did you want to become a photographer?
I got bit by the Fashion Photography bug when I was like 15 when I saw Matthew Jordan Smith on the 1st season of America Next Top Model, and I remember telling my parents, that is what I want to do. My parents being old school, who saw photography as a hobby, encouraged me to go on to college and get a degree while letting photography be a hobby, not my main career. So I listened, and did just that, went on to North Carolina A&T State University and pursued a degree in Marketing & Management, then onto to obtain my masters in Management Information Systems. Worked for Lockheed Martin for about 12 years before being laid off in 2009. I then purchased a Nikon D200 with an 80-200mm 2.8 Push-Pull lens as a remedy to curb my boredom as I sought out employment. That playing around turned into a full-blown passion and obsession. So in 2011, I launched my career as a Professional Photographer.
What’s your most memorable shot or shoot, be it challenging to capture or interesting subject?
My most memorable project has been my “Colour Blind, The Beauty Behind the Hijab”, which is a personal project I started years ago and continue on to this very day. It’s a project that started out as just an inquisitive notion of wanting to know why Muslim Women had their faces or hair covered. During my time researching and producing this project, I discovered the true beauty of what’s hidden in plain sight. This project was personally taxing and challenging because this project challenged the status quo, biases, gender roles, and the fashion industry views on beauty.
What image are you most proud of from your photography portfolio?
I have 2 images that no matter when I show my portfolio or showcase the images in a workshop or public setting, they seem to be attention grabbers. Those images are from my “Colour Blind” series. 1, which the model is encompassed in an Electric Blue Hijab where the emphasis is on the eyeshadows, and the 2nd image is of the model encompassed in a Brilliant Red Hijab that brings emphasis to the lipstick. The colors of Electric Blue & Brilliant Red being bold and attention-grabbing, they tend to garnish the most conversations from people. Even as one viewer told me, that the images speak of irony and love of a culture that has been shamed over the last few years due to the changing times in America, yet the models are garb in American Pride of the Red, White (coming in a future series), and Blue.
My dream gig would be…
My dream job would be to have a 10-page cover and spread in the September Edition of American Vogue magazine. That is like the Superbowl of fashion for a fashion photographer.
My favorite piece of gear is…
My favorite piece of gear is…wow, that’s a hard choice, cause there are so many great tools on the market. If I had to narrow the choices down, then it would be my Nikon D810 (Articled was written before receiving my Nikon D850 & Nikkor Lens from Nikon). My Nikon D810 is truly a workhorse and never let me know so far….knock on wood!
Do you shoot tethered?
Yes, I shoot tether 90% of the time. My Nikon D810 is always tethered into Capture One Pro 10 with TetherTools TetherBoost USB 3.0 kit.
My favorite piece of Tether Tools gear is…
My favorite pieces of Tether Tools gear is the Jerk Stopper line and TetherBlock, because I’m sort of a klutz at times and will pull my Nikon untethered from my MacBook Pro. These two items saved my life!
What’s on your photography gear shopping list?
The number one item on my gear shopping list is the new Nikon D850 and a couple of Profoto B1’s.
The best advice I can offer a fellow photographer would be…
The best advice I can offer a fellow photographer is to shoot what you love and WIN ON PURPOSE. If you shoot what you love, the money will come. If you set your sights on winning on purpose, you will never see a failure as a failure but as a learning lesson.