F a s h i o n   &   B e a u t y   M a g a z i n e

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Fiona y Eduardo

Photographers / Filmmakers

Fiona y Eduardo are an artistic husband & wife team based in New York, U.S.A. As well as being photographers, they are also accomplished film-makers.  The duo’s work is very stylised, with a glamourous, indie aesthetic and a strong influence from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Eduardo’s extensive knowledge of cinematic lighting is beautifully paired with Fiona’s affinity for beauty, personality and eccentricity. They are rapidly developing a style that is becoming synonymous with their names. We caught up with the pair to ask them a few questions about their lives, work and aspirations for the future. Here’s what they had to say... 

Solstice: Could you give us some information on your back-story? Where do you come from? How you met each other?

Fiona: I grew up outside of Atlanta, Georgia and moved to Athens, Georgia to attend the University of Georgia where I double majored in Photography and Advertising. After graduation, I moved to New York to pursue photography (although I ended up landing a job in advertising where I worked for 5 years financing our photography work). Eduardo and I met in New York in November of 2013 and were married in June 2014. Since the first day we met, we’ve spent pretty much every day (and every waking moment together) and yet we still like each other a lot. In fact, we’re expecting our first baby in September.

Eduardo: I grew up in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. I studied Media and Communications at the Universidad Internacional. I started taking pictures while traveling around Europe and then worked for a few publications in Mexico. I also started working on film sets in Mexico which is when I decided to move to New York to pursue a bigger world of opportunity. I never saw myself living in New York permanently but then I met Fiona and everything changed. 

Solstice: How did you get into fashion photography? Did you study it at a university or learn on your own?

Fiona: The photography program at UGA was focused more on conceptual fine art. I mainly made digital composites of myself in fantasy realities I’d create with construction paper and other materials (i.e. tons of glitter- other people in the school hated this). I also did a fair amount of landscapes and cityscapes. Basically, I avoided taking pictures of other people because I was always scared I wouldn’t be able to show people the best versions of themselves. It wasn’t until I teamed up with Eduardo and we started contacting people together that I gained the confidence to take photos of others. My goal still is to always try to capture the unique beauty of everyone we photograph and portray them exactly as they want to be seen. I can’t say that we always achieve that ideal, but it’s always the goal.

Eduardo: I first started trying to do fashion photography while in college on my own but it never worked. I had difficulty finding people to collaborate with that understood my intention. When I moved to New York, my video experience opened some doors into fashion and I found myself in an environment with really talented people that could bring my ideas to life. I also began assisting photographers and interning at photo studios which helped me learn and grow as well.

Solstice: What’s it like working as a duo and how do you go about it? 

 

Fiona: It’s awesome. We are each others support and first assistant on set. We are also married which is great because we’ve perfected being panicked or upset in a secret way that doesn’t disrupt the overall mood on set. I usually put together the mood boards with help from Eduardo. We’ll discuss an overall concept and then he’ll send me some references he likes and I’ll build on that. When we shoot, we usually take turns with one person being the art/creative director while the other shoots and vice versa. We do the same when we’re shooting photos and video.

 

Eduardo: It was difficult in the beginning to share ideas and your art (which is kind of personal) with another person. Sometimes Fiona has a very specific idea and sometimes it’s me, regardless, everything comes together seamlessly on the day of the shoot. It’s amazing to have someone shooting next to you that you trust 1000%.

Solstice: What is your favourite of your own work so far and why?

 

Fiona:  Oh man, it’s like choosing between children. I think I have to say our shoot we did for you last year called Wild Cherry. We had an incredibly limited amount time to make this shoot happen before the model had to catch a flight and it came together like magic. Marta and the creative team were all incredibly talented and professional and made dreams reality in the matter of a few hours.

Eduardo:  The shoot we did with Amelia  is one of my favourites. That day was particularly special because there was just this incredible connection between us, the model and the MUA. I remember feeling really inspired and the resulting pictures are still some of my favorites. I love the simplicity of that shoot. We didn’t have any styling or other elements that defined the shoot, just the team.

Solstice: Your style stands out quite a lot, it’s quite feminine and glamorous with a hint of modern bohemia. How did you develop this style?

Fiona: Thank you so much for that lovely description. Our style developed very naturally over time. I think it helped that I was working full time for the first few years so we started very slowly and planned everything very carefully. I’ve always preferred things that are whimsical and dreamy and I tend to spider around when I shoot looking for interesting angles and compositions. Eduardo on the other hand brought his wealth of lighting knowledge from his experience on films sets and was able to develop the perfect lighting to complement the aesthetic we both share. He also has a more technical way of framing the pictures he takes which means at the end of the day we have one body of work with every possible option we could hope for. I think the lighting is really the key to how we shoot and convey the mood. Each lighting setup is very deliberate and calculated but hopefully looks effortless.

Eduardo: Thank you as well for that description. I don’t really think we ever had to develop a style. The way we portray lighting and the looks in each shoot are a reflection of who we are and the cultural influences we grew up with. The style is just the combination of the two of us, Fiona y Eduardo.

Solstice: What are your main influences? Do you have one or more photographers that you particularly admire?

Fiona: We’re influenced a lot by music and movies (we spend far too much of our time invested in both). I don’t have a particular photographer that influences me but I find a lot of inspiration in this new generation of photographers that question the status quo set by the few that have dominated the industry for so long. I have respect for them as well, to a certain extent, although less and less as the stories continue to leak about the abuses of power that have dirtied the industry, and the supposed culture and beauty it represents, for so long.

Eduardo: I’m not influenced by any one source. Some of the artists I admired growing up were Joan Fontcuberta, Paolo Roversi, and a number of Mexican painters. I loved the imagination of Joan and the technique of Paolo.

Solstice: What do you do to get inspired when you’ve got creative block? Since there are two of you, I imagine both of you don’t get creative block at the same time much though.

 

Fiona: I have a running list of crazy ideas that I get in my mind sometimes. Most of them don’t make sense when I read back through them but occasionally I’ll look at that list to get inspiration.

Eduardo and I are both really influences by late 80s-early 90s movies and music videos as well. The colors, the effects, the crazy nonsensical storylines, etc. The mood boards for one of our most recent shoots consisted of stills from Blade Runner and of my first love, Boy George.

 

Eduardo: I like to listen to music. Sometimes listening to music will send me on a search and I’ll find other artists or something visual or a lyric that will inspire me. If that doesn’t work, I like to take our puppy on a walk in the park to get inspired by nature.

Solstice: What would you be doing if you weren’t fashion photographers?

Fiona: Well, I’ve done everything from selling tile to retail to advertising but so far photography is the only thing I’ve found that I really enjoy. As long as I can use a camera, I’m in. We’d love to shoot more music videos and films. That’s a direction we’re gradually starting to move.

Eduardo: I don’t know, everything I’ve experienced so far has brought me to this. I don’t just see myself as just a fashion photographer though, I’m also a film maker which opens the door to a lot of other opportunities.

Solstice: What’s the best and worst part about being a fashion photographer?

 

Fiona: The best part is that this is literally the only thing I want to do and the fact we can do it for a living is an absolute dream. We’ve only just begun and the work I can see us creating in the future gives me so much hope and joy. We just need the budget and enough people believing in us to make it happen. The worst part is that we’re only just beginning and we’re still constantly fighting to convince people we deserve a spot at the table. We have made a very conscious decision to make work that we believe transcends the space and time we take the photo into another place- a reality where a picture can make a difference and bring people happiness. We could stick to the fashion and beauty standard (and totally will to all the clients out there) but that’s not what makes us happy. That struggle between sustaining a career and doing the thing we love which on paper is the same thing but in reality is a constant battle is the worst part. But there’s always tomorrow.

Eduardo: The best part is that we’re surrounded by really talented and creative people. It’s also really rewarding because fashion gives you a platform for people to see your work and respond to it which makes the work more fulfilling. The worst part is you have to balance between art and commerce. You aren’t just selling yourself, you’re selling a product. The other worst part is having to manage the business side of things. It’s not just about being creative but also handling all that monotony on the backend.

Solstice: What is it like working in NYC, and how does it compare to other places you have worked in?

 

Fiona: It’s unbelievable. I have to remind myself we’re in New York all the time because I can lose track sometimes. I do all the photo editing and spend a lot of time like a vampire in a small dark room in front of a screen. We have access to some of the best talent in the industry here. Our work would be nothing without the minds and skills of the creative teams we work with. The opportunities that exist here don’t exist back home in Georgia. Having said that, all my extended family lives in England and I’d love if we could get to a place where we divided our time between New York and London. We also have a huge affinity for the gorgeous work and talent in England as well.

 

Eduardo: I feel like New York is my real home and Mexico was my incubator. The fact that we get to work with the best people in the industry alone fills me with a deep sense of respect and gratitude while at the same time helps keep me competitive and focused. The other thing that I love about NYC that I haven’t experienced in other cities I’ve worked is that we can work hard on a shoot and at the end of the day go to a party and unwind without some of the barriers I’ve noticed elsewhere. Everybody can leave the shoot as creative equals, no matter their role, and just enjoy the time and place as people.

Solstice: What is it like working in NYC, and how does it compare to other places you have worked in?

Fiona: It’s unbelievable. I have to remind myself we’re in New York all the time because I can lose track sometimes. I do all the photo editing and spend a lot of time like a vampire in a small dark room in front of a screen. We have access to some of the best talent in the industry here. Our work would be nothing without the minds and skills of the creative teams we work with. The opportunities that exist here don’t exist back home in Georgia. Having said that, all my extended family lives in England and I’d love if we could get to a place where we divided our time between New York and London. We also have a huge affinity for the gorgeous work and talent in England as well.

 

Eduardo: I feel like New York is my real home and Mexico was my incubator. The fact that we get to work with the best people in the industry alone fills me with a deep sense of respect and gratitude while at the same time helps keep me competitive and focused. The other thing that I love about NYC that I haven’t experienced in other cities I’ve worked is that we can work hard on a shoot and at the end of the day go to a party and unwind without some of the barriers I’ve noticed elsewhere. Everybody can leave the shoot as creative equals, no matter their role, and just enjoy the time and place as people.

Solstice: Do you prefer location or studio work? And why?

Fiona:  If wishes were fishes, I’d say location. The reason we first got into beauty photography was a result of space limitations in our studio which we’re by no means mad about. Our space helped us develop our aesthetic. But I think in an ideal world where budget was limitless, we’d love to create more dynamic and cinematic concepts in the context of larger spaces and things.

 

Eduardo: I like both. To me it is just two different ways to play. I like the challenge of being outside with no lighting or being on location with minimal lighting. I also like to be in our studio and have full control over every detail.

Solstice: Do you find that you are still learning about fashion photography or do you feel you have a firm grasp on it?

Fiona: There’s always more to learn. I feel very confident in the way we work and I know that based on our combine work ethic, we can adapt and evolve as needed. I still feel like a kid in the lunchroom on the first day of school when it comes to navigating the industry and finding opportunities though. When aspiring photographers ask us for advice, I always tell them that it’s not an overnight kind of industry. It takes time, networking, and most importantly to never stop shooting.

Eduardo: I don’t think you can ever have a firm grasp. You’re always learning because fashion is a reflection of culture and culture is always evolving. You’re always discovering new materials, new color trends, new people, new technology, etc.

Solstice: In what ways would you like to see your career evolve? Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

Fiona: I’d like to see our work evolve to larger scale projects with more elaborate concepts. I want to get to where we can put the things in our heads into actual landscapes. We’d like to eventually open up a studio space with equipment that we could offer to aspiring artists so that creativity isn’t lost to the constraints of living in the city. We’d also like to open a store/gallery featuring designs and work by Mexican artists/creators and to have a massive animal sanctuary full of all the animals that we aren’t currently allowed in our NYC apartment. That’s doable in 10 years, right?

Eduardo: Just being happy with my family doing what I love with the people I love. I want to be working harder and traveling more.

Interview conducted by James Joyce