Photography Feature : Pepe Charlie

Photography Feature : Pepe Charlie

Describe briefly what you envision while you are at a shoot. Well, before a shoot I do a bit of research on the location just to get my bearings. From this research I think of 2 – 3 shots that are “musts”. Beyond that, I go with the flow. I don’t really like to plan too much because I prefer to focus on what’s happening at the moment. It’s much better to have a coffee, have some research and shots in your back pocket, and let the day dictate where I should point the camera. 

Where are you from ? and where are you going? I am from Miami. I moved to Boston for a brief stint and I travelled around Europe for a few months for a while. Now I am living here in Miami once again. Currently, I am going around Florida. I grew up here, but I never stopped to really take everything in. Miami, south Florida in general is such a magnificent place, I’ve been able to view my hometown from a different perspective because I was living in the northeast for the last few years.

How did you become a photographer? By chance. I bought myself a simple point-and-shoot camera for a family vacation. We were traveling around and I just kept taking pictures of all the important sites I have read about. I am massive history fan and whenever I would see an item, I’d think about how I would like to display that item or present that structure. Pretty soon I started learning about ISO, Shutter speed, aperture, and went down the rabbit hole of photography. A friend of mine who is also into photography would offer to go on shoots with me and before I knew I was actively learning how to get better.

Describe your ideal photo session. I make myself a coffee at home, pack my stuff and drive to the beach at about 4 am. I walk out to the beach in pitch black and set up my tripod and wait for the sun to rise. 

What’s your favorite gear? Aside from my camera, I’d have to say the tripod. You can do so much with it; great portraits, long exposure, night photography, etc. I’d be nervous if I was on a shoot without my tripod. That would be a lot of missed opportunities. Aside from my camera, I’d have to say the tripod. You can do so much with it; great portraits, long exposure, night photography, etc. I’d be nervous if I was on a shoot without my tripod. That would be a lot of missed opportunities. 

You are on a private jet and you can go to one place in the world. Where to ? Only 1 Place?! That is a tough one. There are so many places. I’d have to say Rome. I’ve been to Rome briefly before, and it wasn’t enough. I need to go back.

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Define Success in your own words. I feel that if you are content with what you have achieved so far and like where you are going in your life, then you are successful. This doesn’t mean to be complacent, because if you are going somewhere it means you are moving. You could be struggling, but if you are enjoying or like what the struggle is for, then that’s success. 

What is the next project ? It’s difficult to think of projects in the current situation with the pandemic. I’ve been looking more into scenic trails and national parks. We have plenty of trails and parks here in Florida and it’s worth getting out of my comfort zone of cafes, streets, and city photography to explore what moments I can capture in the more natural side.

Name 3 elements of a great picture (video). Location – I refer to where the photographer and possible model are. The location itself doesn’t even have to pop up in the picture, but if the photographer, and if it is a portrait shoot, the model are comfortable then the pictures will come out great. Cameras have the innate ability of capturing emotion, including discomfort. Best to avoid that if you want a great picture. Mood – Pictures have moods and if the mood comes across and hits the viewer, then it is a great picture. I’ve looked at pictures that have calmed me down, or done the opposite and motivated me to go outside. Story – Similar to the previous element, but quite different is the story the picture tells. This is probably why candid shots are the best. A posed photo on the beach is nice, but a candid shot of your best friend looking like a lobster from how sunburnt he is while he is midstride on the hot sand is a great picture.

What has been your biggest obstacle during this pandemic ? In terms of my photography, the social distancing. I mean, I do it, obviously. However, it is tough to take pictures of a nice downtown scene, when…..there is no one there. Similar to this is the traveling. Before the pandemic, I’d get in my car and drive to wherever, parked, got down with gear, and started shooting. Now I have to stay near my house because staying overnight at a hotel has become a bit more cumbersome and concerning. On the bright side, I’ve taken this time to check past photos, and focus more on my local community. 

What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos? Take your camera everywhere. It’s okay if you take too many photos. You can delete them later (unless you are shooting film, then ignore that last point, definitely think about what photos you want if you have film). That would have to be it. When I first got a dedicated camera, I took it on my trip, used it and abused it then put it away. However the photographer’s eye stuck and I saw things that I would have loved to take a picture of but…no camera. Take your camera everywhere. 

Anyone ever had you star struck ? Why ? I can’t say I have my friend. The two celebrities/stars I met (lead guitarist of King Buffalo and Lead singer of Elder) were in concert and are very down-to-earth individuals. 

When I listen to FM84 I am usually driving in my car with the windows down. 

Favorite Artist / Song / DJ to listen to right about now ? Artist – Tame Impala, Album – The Slow Rush (on loop)

Photography Feature Pepe Charlie

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