:: Photographer Spotlight :: Miami Based Fitness Photographer Kemuel Valdes of Valdes Art House
This weeks Q&A from beautiful Miami Beach, Florida with published fitness photographer Kemuel Valdes, aka Valdes Art House. Kemuel finds inspiration from the man who created the Pieta & David. He believes practice makes perfect and knows how to transform sex appeal into an exquisite art. He loves finding balance & collecting moments. He has an eye for some of the finest physiques. Read how this Exercise Physiology major transformed his knowledge of the human body into a fulfilling career behind the camera. Find out what his inner voice tells him and why he jumps rope naked.
(You can Apply here to submit pictures and apply to shoot with ValdesArtHouse)
Q&A with Kemuel Valdes
1) Where are you from? Born and raised? Where is your family?
(KV) I was born in Cuba and lived there until my family moved to Miami at the age of 13 and I've lived here ever since.
2) Where do you live now?
(KV) Now I live in Hollywood FL.3) What got you started in photography? Or how? When and where?
(KV) I started figure drawing in High School and had the curiosity for photography. In my first year of college, I bought a camera and started experimenting with pictures. This taught me that practice makes perfect.
4) More about that- obviously you are a fitness/fashion photographer. What do you love most about it?
(KV) I love the balance between elegance and athleticism. It's a reflection of my personal lifestyle. When I started taking pictures, I was in college for Exercise Physiology and had access to a lot of athletes. This facilitated a lot fitness images. I still love the ideals of longevity, balance, visual aesthetics and elegance.5) How long have you been shooting? What are your other hobbies, interests or activities?
(KV) I've been shooting since 2000. It came as a gradual transition from figure drawing. These days I don't draw as much. When I'm not working, my girlfriend and I like to travel, spend time with friends, find amazing restaurants. Aside from these things, my hobbies remain psychology, cinematography, reading, swimming, cycling, playing chess.
6) What inspires you most to keep going after it?
(KV) There is always room for improvement. I look at my old pictures and often find something from which I can learn; then I set out to improve that.
7) Who has been an inspiration for you? Who has been a supporter for you?
(KV) Michelangelo has been a big inspiration. His work shows a combination of inspiration and skill. I like how he played with light, shadows, color, texture, form. I have also learned from how hard he had to work. Being an artist is much more about hard work and perseverance than about fame and fortune. Along those lines, one ends up recognizing the support of family and friends. My family has always been supportive. It feels really good to know that your family is proud of you. My girlfriend over the past 9 years has been consistently respectful and encouraging of my work. I often run things by her just to get a contrasting opinion. My friends have also been a source of inspiration; sometimes by giving their opinion and sometimes by posing for my work. I am very grateful to a lot of people; much more than words can express.
8) What do you find most challenging about your niche photography and why?
(KV) The most challenging aspect is separating art from business. You can have the most perfect image get no recognition and the most mediocre picture make a ton of money. There are many factors at play, from networking to marketing.
9) What has been your proudest moment or accomplishment and why?
(KV) More than a single moment, there is a collection of important moments. The first time I got hired by an international company and given creative freedom; seeing my mom admire my work during an exhibition; reaching specific financial goals; anytime I unexpectedly see my work in someone's house; meeting people who have been inspired by my work. This last one sounds a little egotistical, but there is a difference between someone liking your work and someone being inspired by the result of your hard labor. This motivates me to keep listening to my inner voice.
10) What awards, acknowledgements or exposure have your received?
(KV) Besides being featured in publications, postcards, company websites, guest speaker, interviews, etc, I'm always aware that there is no shortage of talented photographers and anytime a client chooses my work, it is a great acknowledgement.
11) Do you prefer shooting indoors or outdoors? Why? How do you usually recruit models?
(KV) I prefer a mixture of both. Variety is the spice of life. Most models come referred from previous work, but sometimes I see someone who gives me an idea or fits within an idea and if I'm certain, then I bring it up to them.
12) What is your preferred camera equipment of choice? Why?
(KV) I love Canon, but the way I see it, equipment comes second to skill. A bad driver is a bad driver, regardless of car and vice versa.
13) Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
(KV) I hope to be in a position where my commercial and artistic works are more balanced.
14) When you are not shooting a fitness model, where can we find you and what are you doing?
(KV) Well, I could be doing business headshots, shooting jewelry, bathingsuits, nudes, abstracts, working in other business projects, or finding balance at a spa.
15) What is your favorite movie and why? Do you have a favorite love story movie?
(KV) This is very difficult. I watch at least two movies a week. I like the cinematography of "I am love". I like "The Bourne Identity". I can't get enough of "Games of Thrones". As far as favorite love story, it is hard to top "The Notebook".
16) What is your favorite food? What is your least favorite food?
(KV) I'm a foodie. Cuban food has a soft spot in my heart, white rice, black beans, skirt steak, tostones. However I love trying local food during trips. My least favorite will be anything too spicy.
17) We hear you like to jump rope naked. What started this trend for you? Does it help you stay in shape?
(KV) It is a very effective equilibrium exercise. I think my friend Reid (FYC's DP) presented me some research on it. Plus jumping rope is great for longevity! Lol.
18) What is one thing that many people may not know about you that you would like to share about yourself?
(KV) I have a very big sweet tooth. I love sweet juices. Mango, guava, blackberry, dragon fruit. Mix these with some Prosecco and you have quite the drink. In a tall glass or poured over a hot body. lol. A good chocolate cake from Whole Foods is a must have as well. Also, I would have to say that I do not want fame. I would like my work to bring me additional work doing what I love but I am not looking to have it interfere with my private life.
19) What connects you to the FYC & Venture Pro Brands?
(KV) I love the brand's message, they are new and exciting, the quality of their product in terms of fit and finish. The coastlife has been a constant in my life and that makes it an easy brand to relate with.