The fun whimsical photographic art of Anna Devís and Daniel Rueda
My TOGCHAT guests this week are Hasselblad Ambassadors Anna Devís and Daniel Rueda. Based in Valencia, Spain, Anna and Daniel are both trained architects who have combined their love for geometry, perspective, and storytelling to become the ultimate creative couple.
This creative duo uses their architectural backgrounds to tell stories through fun and surprising images that are far from conventional architecture photography. Their style is characterized by their visual sense of humor, creativity, precision, and a delicate aesthetic inspired by the city, geometry, and minimalism. Their images succeed in establishing magnetic and joyful narratives that smartly suggest both the nature of human relations and the fascination with the urban environment.
Although it may seem surprising or hard to believe, besides some basic image processing, Anna and Daniel create these surreal scenes without the use of photo editing software. Instead, they carefully set the scene in real life using all sorts of everyday objects, unexpected locations, and tons of natural light.
Recently included in the Forbes Europe 30 Under 30 list for “the inventive use of everyday objects and the bright natural light of Spain” in their photography, the duo’s unique and unmistakable style has also led them to work with brands such as Netflix, Disney, Facebook and Pantone, among others. In addition, their work has illustrated festival posters, book covers and has been published in numerous publications such as Surface, Marie Claire, Glamour, and El País newspaper.
The interview with
Joe: [00:01:32] I am so excited to introduce you to my guests this week. Their names are Anna Devís and Daniel Rueda. This creative duo is based in Valencia, Spain, and they are my new creative obsession. It is impossible not to smile when you view their work. And I encourage you to take a look through their portfolio while you listen to this interview, I have links to their website and Instagram profiles in the show notes.
I should mention that combined, they have over a million followers on Instagram. There is so much more that I want to share about Anna and Daniel, but I want you to hear from them first. So let’s dig in …Anna and Danielle. I have to thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today. Welcome to TOGCHAT!
Daniel: [00:02:21] Thank you so much for having us. How are you doing?
Joe: [00:02:25] I’m great. Thank you. And I feel like a little kid in a candy shop. I have to be honest, the two of you have become my new obsession. I stumbled on your work a few weeks ago, and I’m really disappointed that I didn’t know about it sooner. I found an article that led me to the Hasselblad website and then to your website. I have to say your work. Is brilliant, but I don’t want to use my words. I would like to have you, if you could tell me a little bit about the way that you describe your work, your photography.
Daniel: [00:02:58] I think what’s very important about our work is that we are both architects. And I think that really defines what we do because architecture is always in, it’s always the focus of our photography and of our work because we come from that background of buildings and design and all these.
Serious stuff. We always found that you was very difficult for people from, people from outside the architectural world to grasp the importance of that because everything, it’s all about plans and abstract images and very elevated concepts. And we wanted to bring that down so that we could all enjoy architecture and beauty around us through, creativity and the humor and good design.
And, we found that we could add up to something without photography and that’s what we are trying
Joe: [00:03:47] to do. I think it’s absolutely brilliant. And in describing your work, I’ve seen some interviews that you’ve done, where you use the word minimalism. But you are very specific about the idea that not only is your style somewhat minimalistic, but the choices that you make within the frame, the elements that you make, you try to be very minimalistic with those two. How does that thought process work?
Anna: [00:04:14] We believe that less is more, there was a German architect that we, this was his claim, and we believe that less is more in everything. When we tried to tell a story, we tried to farm the minimum elements that make possible this story. So you don’t get lost in decorations or things that are not necessary.
And this is what we tried to do. Just. Take decisions and focus on what’s important in the image to connect with who is watching with the audience.
Daniel: [00:04:45] And we also tried to understand that we live in a very global time. So whatever it is that you are doing, it needs to be understand not only by the people around you that shared your language and your cultural references, but also maybe some people who don’t even share your same language.
So you need to make something. As simple as possible, so they can be understand by every culture, every, everyone else on earth. And I think that minimalism really helps up with that because if you have less things to understand, you’re going to get the message faster than in any other way.
Joe: [00:05:21] That’s brilliant. And that brings me to a thought, the two of you, if I read correctly were born in 1990, which means that I’m very jealous of both of you for your talent. Congratulations, sincerely. But that being said, my first question is how long have you been at this? And then secondly, based on your last comments about the international aspect of your images, How long did it take for you to develop this style? Did it hit very quickly? Was it something that you had done some work together and then looked back and said, Hey, we have something here. And then the third piece, how far into it before you realized. We need to be aware of the international scope of how our work is viewed. And then did you make any changes to your style as a result of that?
Daniel: [00:06:17] I think everything has been a very organic process for us. I don’t think we started with a huge idea of we are going to make it because we were already working in as architects, and we were really happy with our career and our studies. But the thing is that we discover that doing what we love, which was photography or Harvey.
We were actually reaching some people that we didn’t even know, like through social media, Instagram and stuff. And it’s not like we were looking for that, but I think our whole career has been a, a trial and error history story, because I think we’ve been. I dunno from the very beginning, just trying to tell these stories through our visual concepts.
And we’ve just been learning image by image. We haven’t been doing something very consciously. It just has been, our careers in architecture and our knowledge in design and minimalism has been shaping our way of telling stories. Yeah. It’s
Anna: [00:07:16] As you gonna any marketing, everything started like a hobby.
As I get to X, we love to travel and visit other. Are there CTS and of course, other like other buildings, other works of other architects and for us, this is so exciting to visit other regular buildings. We are not saying that we are visiting, for example, the Eiffel tower that everybody wants to say that or.
We were visiting like regular buildings. And we wanted to share this passion with people that maybe they are not familiar with design and architecture, because we think this passion, we think that we could share it. Everybody that lives in the building, everybody works in the building. And we think that everybody should be interested in architecture so that what we were doing, we were traveling as students, and we were taking pictures to the buildings.
We. We admired. And we were telling stories in this buildings, we were at indirectly with architecture and that’s how it started. We were telling stories to our friends and family. Then we realized that the audience of these stories was growing. And yeah, at some point we realized that we were speaking to an international audience.
Joe: [00:08:30] That’s awesome. So, as a couple and essentially all of the work that you’re doing is a collaboration. You have a system with your collaboration. Do you each have specific roles or. How does that balance?
Daniel: [00:08:47] So, yeah, there’s two of us in this team, even though we make a lot of stuff, there’s always just the two of us.
And I think even though we kind of work in everything together, I think each one of us has like a strong role. So in my case, I would say that my part is the technical one. So yeah. I come from the architectural photography world. So I used to take pictures for architects you know, to show the images of their works.
And that’s a very specific type of photography, like very rigid, very abstract, but very professional, very technical one. And I used to love that. I love it. Still, and I try to add that to what we’re doing today and the creative part that’s coming her and specifically maybe the craft team process.
Anna: [00:09:35] Yeah. I’ve always been surrounded by creativity and I’ve always. Working with materials and forming materials into objects, because that’s what I was seeing since I was little, my parents used to work as window dressers, and I’ve been always playing with materials and this be what we’re doing today because we, in the images, everything is real.
So we have to build our own props. We have to sketch our own ideas and that’s all I do. It’s transforming our thoughts into sketches. And then. Thinking. Okay. How can we transform this sketch into something that it’s real? Yeah, we are like a demon gang couple. And then you have the expireds. Daniel focuses on the technical part and I focus more on the messy staff, the creating and a production.
Joe: [00:10:27] And you just said that. Everything in the images is real. I think it would surprise a lot of people in today’s world, but you don’t use a lot of Photoshop. Do you?
Anna: [00:10:41] No. We love Photoshop. Of course, we work the images. It’s not like we are working with analog analogic cameras, but we try to set everything informed in front of the camera because reality set U.S.
limits. And for us that’s helpful to create. So yeah, we could appear flying, or we could have year. I don’t know I’m doing crazy stuff, but there’s gravity. There’s things that you can do. In real life you can’t do, but that’s what we like setting does is limits and knowing what we can do. And we are able to do help us to think and to come up with ideas end up, shooting.
Joe: [00:11:22] That’s awesome. And in addition to making sure that you’re using real things, I’ve noticed a trend in the images that I’ve had the opportunity to look at. I don’t see any artificial lighting. It doesn’t look like you’re going out and setting up the, strobes and all kinds of things like that. It looks like you are working mostly or exclusively with natural light. I see a lot of shots that you’re clearly working in the shade, but then I also see other shots where you’re not shying away from working in direct sunlight. Do you stick strictly to natural light?
Daniel: [00:11:54] Yeah. And I think this is. Coming directly from our architectural background again, because we were so interested in taking pictures of these buildings that we were visiting.
And of course, when you are taking one of these images in these huge facades, it’s that it’s not like you can lay those with a small flash or with anything like that. Like you need to work with what you get and that’s about it. And then. But then we realized that we, we need to adapt to those locations into the light.
It needs a Pacific one, but we found that this is one of our main assets. The fact that if you look at all of our images, they have an uh, a timeless feel to it. Like they feel like they were all taken at the same time because the light is always very much the same or very similar, even though.
And those images had taken in completely different places in the world, which is really nice to us.
Anna: [00:12:50] Is there, you can see pictures from Qatar, from the desert or pictures from LA or pixels from here from Valencia, and you have this sense of it’s they’re similar. At the end, the sun is everywhere.
It’s something, wherever we travel, it’s there. And we played with that for us. Shadows are not part of our work because we think that shadows are powerful they tell a story. We don’t need them in the stories, at least in the stories we are looking for. And yeah. So everything, it’s all about planning.
And we have this process where we produce everything. And also we have to check when to shoot this picture because for us lining is super-important and it requires a lot of planning too.
Daniel: [00:13:37] And it also comes with a lot of. Problems and risks because of course, if you plan your whole shooting in a place and at a time and you go there and it’s raining, or it’s very windy, we’ve been having these situations times, it’s part of the career we’ve chosen and the way that we’re doing things.
So we try to adapt as much as we can, but sometimes it is really. Frustrating, but it is what it is.
Joe: [00:14:06] So now, how did you make the transition when you started this? You were a young couple in school. You had this shared interest, you were traveling, you were taking pictures and this started to evolve. At what point did you start to turn it into more of a process and how did that process develop?
I completely understand the idea of. Using apps and checking the weather, to figure out where is the light going to be? What kind of shadows will you have? Even, we have the luxury of Google street view these days where we can see buildings that we’ve never seen before and have a sense of what the local lights.
So I, I completely get the idea of the tools, but I’m guessing you didn’t quite start that way. You mentioned it started more organically. So how did that transition occur? And tell me a little bit more about your planning process today. Like how does the ideas start? Is it based on some place you’ve been to go or is it sometimes an idea that you have then it’s a matter of, let’s find the right piece of architecture to do this. How does that happen?
Daniel: [00:15:14] And I think that’s, I think that’s actually how everything started for us. The moment we realized that it was just not. As having an idea and sharing it with each other we should do this. Yeah. Let’s do that. But the time we discover that through sketches, through drawing, we could basically think of any idea before we shoot it.
So it would, it was much easier to plan and to decide and to understand how difficult it was to actually make something into reality. So you don’t need to actually go there and try and maybe realize at the very end. Oh, this is not going to work and you’ve done all that work for nothing. And then one day we realized that sharing our ideas and our concepts, Anna could be doing these nicest sketches in our paper.
And we could just be looking at what we’re about to do, and we could decide the outfits, the locations, the geometry, the compensation, the posts, everything, all of the things until we get a drawing that is basically that photograph. Before the photograph, if
Anna: [00:16:15] right? Yeah. It’s like the sketches help us to make this decisions, because as you were saying, at first, everything was casual, and we wish you shooting with the outfit we were wearing at that time.
But then we realized that everything that it’s in the frame, it’s important. For example, if you are wearing a piece of clothes that maybe you’re wearing two different colors, you are distracting. And right now we plan everything. We decide. Like the composition, the office, if we need props or not before the shooting.
So that helped us to make sure that the story’s clear. And you will also mentioning that, like, how does it start? Like I protect your idea. That’s a very important part and a very interesting question for us because actually our photography has two main concepts. It actually has a concept and it also has architectural needs.
So you need both. Do you make one of our images, if you find the beautiful location, but you don’t have a concept, you don’t have, you don’t have an idea. The image is going to be beautiful, but you’re not telling the story. And if you have an idea, but you don’t have the locations to tell the story, it’s okay, you just have an idea.
So when you both.
Daniel: [00:17:29] it’s interesting because we have some ideas that, when someone asks, how long does it take to get one image? We say it could be just a couple of days, maybe a week, or it could be up to four years because any, and it’s kind like a joke, but we have ideas. That it took us that long to find the proper space or maybe to you know, get the permissions and the whole thing in the location, because we have the idea, but we don’t know where to shoot it.
I think that makes it even more challenging. And
Anna: [00:18:01] then sometimes we find a location, but we don’t have any idea, and we just save it. And it happens to us. And then three years later we need like a window, like in specific shape. And then we come back to that location that three years ago we found it’s super difficult to say, how much did they do shoot a picture?
Joe: [00:18:21] That’s great. And you mentioned getting permissions. So especially now that your work is well known and you’re even doing images for commercial clients and that how much of a headache is that? And is that something that you are now doing essentially with almost every location you go to or does it depend? What triggers the “I need to make sure that I have permission”.
Daniel: [00:18:47] It really depends on the location on the building and our how specific it is because also something that we try to convey with our work is that every place, every city, every street can be beautiful. And it’s not always about the architecture or the location, but about what happens.
In them. So we are, it’s not that we are looking for fancy places or beautiful scapes all the time. We are also very interested in the mundane and just the regular buildings that we face every other day of the week. And so sometimes it’s very easy to just go down the, down the street and you find a.
Pastel color building that it’s nothing special. So no one really cares, but if you find the very specific one, maybe it’s a university or some sort of company, then of course you need to ask and you need to be very polite and that’s about it and be especially super patient because what we do, it’s not only that we take pictures, which is already difficult for people to understand sometimes, but we also intervene them. It’s like we create props, and we create some kind of installation for them. So sometimes it’s very difficult, even though we always have a sketch to point out, how is it going to look? Sometimes they just really don’t understand. Is it going to be permanent?
Is it going to damage a window or a building? We just tried to be nice people and just be very, I dunno, understandable because. It makes sense that they might be afraid of
Anna: [00:20:13] some vandalism. Wait, when you say it, because when we are shooting, you are seeing the emails because it’s there it’s real. So at some point we feel like street artists because we normally shoot like early in the morning.
So we have a lot of people, especially if we are shooting in the city yeah. Sometimes. People, excuse me what is this? Because it really looks like an art installation, but of course it only lasts the couple of hours we are shooting and then it’s gone. So nobody knows.
Joe: [00:20:41] So that actually was going to be another one of my questions. You mentioned, having to deal with people, you have images of the Eiffel Tower. How do you work around people? How often is that a problem? Have you gotten to a point where you’ll maybe actually try to simply ask people to stay away from a certain space while you’re shooting. How do you deal with that?
Daniel: [00:21:03] I think the secret is that we wake up super early
Anna: [00:21:09] for right. Cause like when everybody’s leaving your working and you get the best light you don’t have people around, so you are comfortable. We always say that the city, this is like our playground, and we like to be alone when we are playing. So that’s happens early in the morning. And especially during the weekends, Because people love to just sleep too.
Daniel: [00:21:32] It’s just that we’re trying not to bother anyone. And I think those times, and those days are the easiest for us. So yeah.
Joe: [00:21:39] Very cool. Daniel, with your background in architectural photography, what are some of the things that maybe you could list as tips, but also priorities for you folks? When it comes to light, what’s going to make a great architectural image.
And I realize like anything else, there are probably certain, differences with different circumstances, but what are some kind of go-to tips that are really gonna make a building stand out?
Daniel: [00:22:07] That’s a great question. I think for us, life has always been the main source of creativity for us.
I think that even though we always have our, our idea, and we know what we’re going to do with it, I think we always need to have the perfect lighting. So even though most of the times when we shoot anemia, we don’t shoot it the first time we go, there we go there in the morning. Then we. Go there close to nights so that we can choose what’s the best lighting.
And I think that’s really important. And for us now it’s easier. It’s a little bit easier these days because we found the kind of light that we are into. But I think that’s something that as a photographer, you need to. Panels uh, find yours, like we, we found that this very soft light that we use is the one that we are for, but some other photographers they work with the light and the shadow.
And that’s great. And also as an architectural photographer, I think that it goes back to what we were saying about the stories and the ideas and the humor. And I think that most of our architectural photography, it’s all about. The geometry and the building and the facades and the, the abstraction of the projects.
But I think that you need to tell a story because we’ve already seen so many architectural photography that we need to convey some sort of messages, and I’m not trying to imply that everyone should be doing what we are doing, but I think it’s really interesting when you see architecture, photographers, showing who’s living in those places who is using those buildings, those houses, how are they using it?
So that instead of just showing an empty building, that is very beautiful because of the design that the architect made. Let’s try to show the story of the people living in it, or the context of the city where, what it is built.
Anna: [00:23:56] Yeah. It’s like we argued the decks. We love spaces so much. We love materials, but we forget that when we are designing buildings, we are designing for people and yeah.
You need to show people how this space is going to be lived, how it’s going to be. I don’t know. It’s like you need a scale, you need a human in the image. So you can imagine, because for us, we can read completely a layout, and we might think the space just by seeing a paper, but we understand that not everybody has a spatial vision and yeah, you need to show, um, like humans in architecture of it because that’s.
Architecture is for
Joe: [00:24:38] very cool. You mentioned, having an idea, seeing a location, maybe you don’t figure out the shot that goes with that location for several years. If you could think through the ideas that you have on file right now. And if we were able to travel freely, which of course we can’t at the moment, but.
What’s should we say number one on your list for a location that the two of you have not had an opportunity to work at yet, but you really, you have ideas that you want to be able to go there and create. Your portfolio at this point is it’s prolific. You have, you have such an incredible depth.
So often we see ideas that have humor. And this kind of simplicity and 15, 20 pictures. And it’s very impressive. But that’s the extent of it. You guys have gone way beyond that. There seems to be no end to the potential creativity that you have behind this. So I’m curious, like where is it and what is it that you’re really anxious to do?
And actually another question that might be worth asking here also. Having done this as long as you have, and having created so many images, do you find that it gets a little bit harder? In other words, you’re you’re creating a very high bar for yourself, which is amazing. Is it becoming more challenging and even have you adapted your process a little bit to try and meet that challenge?
Daniel: [00:26:05] Yeah, we were talking actually about this the other day that it used to be so much easier and so much quicker. And nowadays it’s just, these images are not photographs are actual projects because we need to build, we need to craft. Outfits props everything. And just by ourselves, even, we try to, team up with some people if we need some help, but most of the time it’s just the two of us doing everything.
And of course we’ve been getting better and better at what we do, but yeah, some images right now, like we are working right now for a commission project, and we’ve been working the entire week, and we have. Much work to do. And the funny thing is that then you see the EMS and it’s so simple and it’s so minimalistic and it’s so bold and direct.
We need a lot of time and work to get that, that style. Yeah. But
Anna: [00:26:58] even though now it takes us more time and more effort to, to achieve what we want. I wouldn’t say that. It’s more difficult to create. The other day we were discussing, I think that’s clear DVD, something you can train. I think that our brain is like a computer and you are always having your brain working in like you maybe you’re watching TV, but then your brain is still working and it’s still creating.
And. It happens to me a lot, the many times that I’m showing. And then I have an idea because I’m all the time thinking and yeah, at the beginning, maybe we were not focusing on what we wanted, but we, now we have our own obsessions. So we find that maybe right now, it’s easier to come up with AVS because we fell knowing we have created our own style and our own universe.
So we. We didn’t know where we were shooting these images where we created some serious. So now for example, we had the word had serious. That is focused on creating an interaction between people wearing hats and creating like a shape story and object. And we have at least of 20. Almost 30 ideas we want to shoot because we were focusing on all hats, for example.
Yeah, I mean, of course it takes us out of time right now to shoot, but let’s say that when you are working, ideas come easily.
Daniel: [00:28:29] Yeah but not only that at the same time we’ve crafted our process. Also, like at the very beginning we have ideas, but we were not sure how to make them real, but I think at this point, even though his project is very different, I feel like we know what we’re doing and it’s that because of that extended a bit easier
Anna: [00:28:47] trial and error helps you to.
To understand how materials work, what you are able to do. And if you know what you are able to do, you can dream of many possibilities.
Joe: [00:28:58] That’s great. So as a couple collaborating together, I can imagine on one hand that is both a lot of fun and can simplify parts of the process. And I can imagine on the other hand, It can make the process challenging sometimes.
So what I’m really interested in is the tug of war. The closest example that I have, it’s not a relationship, but when I work with a makeup artist, for my beauty images, I make it very clear to the makeup artists that. They better have opinions. Otherwise, I don’t want to work with them. I don’t want them to just come in and do what I’m thinking and what I’m saying.
I want them to contribute. I want that collaboration. And I describe it sometimes as a tug of war. They’re ideas and their opinions, my ideas, and my opinions with the goal being to mutually create something incredible. Are you guys just that unbelievable couple that is completely in sync all the time?
Or do you actually maybe tend to come at your ideas? I realize one being more technical, one, maybe being more of the artists, but. How do you resolve that? And where does the blend, like, how does that puzzle fit together?
Daniel: [00:30:18] I think over the years, we’ve realized that when working together we work best.
Because I think that, like you just said, I’m very technical. I always try to find the perfect image and I work on that a lot, but I think for me, an image would never be good enough. It will never be finished. And I think Anna brings that positivity as well. This is good enough. This was our idea.
So this is done. And at the same time I compliment her by saying, yeah, but we need to do better. And that’s something that it’s always against each other. And we’re doing that for the team, I would say. But yeah, we are not a perfect couple, not even the slightest
Anna: [00:30:58] humans. But creatively. When we’re talking about creativity, it’s true that even working for many years, so our brains are aligned.
I we, we know what we want and it’s better when we are working together because you have an idea. And this idea is good, but maybe when you’re talking to a friend to a colleague, they can give you another point of view and that suggestion can make the idea better. So why not collaborate with all the people?
And we feel the same when we are working together. We feel that ideas get better when we are transforming this first time.
Joe: [00:31:37] That’s excellent. Let’s talk a little bit about Hasselblad, obviously, a camera company with, an incredible history and reputation. Just like the brand that I use at the other end of the scale.
I’m an Olympic shooter. These are not two of the most commonly used brands today. So how did you migrate to that format? And by all means, I know you’re ambassadors and I’ve let everybody know that for you and your work. Why Hasselblad? What is, what does that bring to the table for you?
Daniel: [00:32:06] There are many aspects that for us, the hazard makes it the perfect camera.
And one of those, even though it’s maybe not the most important for photographers and creators, but for us, the object in itself, for us, it says a lot about the brand and about the camera. So when you hold any other camera and you realize so, okay, so this is a product that it’s a tool and that’s great.
That’s amazing. That’s what they are built for. But at the same time, Then when you grab a Hasselblad, you see a history, you see all these care for the details and the materials and everything. And I think you can see that translation going also, not only into the software as well, but on the quality of the files that they get.
And that’s something that you feel from the very, very first minute that you unboxed the thing. I think for all the products that we’ve been working with. When you receive that you are enjoying the hazard that experienced so to speak from the very, very beginning. And that’s super important for us, not only as photographers, but also as architects and designers, we feel that from the very first moment.
Joe: [00:33:20] Excellent. So what are your, for the type of work you’re doing? What are your go-to focal length lenses. And are you shooting since there is architecture involved? Are you shooting with any tilt shift lenses or anything like that? Yeah. The funny
Daniel: [00:33:32] thing is that when we began our relationship with Hasselblad, they told us to use the, the most, 30mm, for example, like something very architecturally related.
But for some reason, we very early on, we discovered that we prefer something like the 45mm or even the 90mm, even though that’s not very related to architecture at all, because you want as much space as possible. But for some reason that’s the lens that we gravitate towards these days. And I think that.
Three of our latest images, having shopped with that one. And we really enjoy those crispy images produced by the 90mm. Yeah,
Joe: [00:34:10] That’s awesome. Also, you start this project in college and it becomes a passion and you get to the point now where I know you have companies that reach out to you and say, And we want to have you photograph our products in your style.
I’d like to understand a little bit about is the transition. I think for a lot of photographers, regardless of what their genre is, it can sometimes be a bit of a culture shock of sorts. When you go from shooting, whatever you want, the way you want and how you want and when you want, and then suddenly you have a client and the client has needs.
And the client has standards and styles and all of these things that you suddenly have to meet. And I’m curious, given the distinctiveness of your work, if maybe you get a little bit of a past there, meaning clients that are coming to you are coming to you very specifically for what you do and are they literally just handing you the product and saying, please create with this.
Or are you having to modify your process or your style a little bit? To meet the brand. How was that transition? Let’s see that we are not like regular photographers is um, we have our own very peculiar style. And when brands when brands, want to work with us they already know what they are going to get.
Anna: [00:35:42] So you’re going to get like these whimsical, colorful impetus. We like to create these campaigns from scratch. Of course, we have briefings, but normally these briefings, as you were saying, it’s like, you have this product does these tests and that, and you have to showcase it, but we don’t get this kind of briefings.
You have to share this model doing this and that, because otherwise we will say, no you, we will recommend another photographer for doing that. In our case, we will like. It’s more like a whole campaign. We received the product, we study the possibilities of these products, and we start to get some ideas, and we create a campaign from scratch.
And that’s what we like. It’s we don’t only show the images, but we tell the stories that go behind it. And when we are working with clients, we don’t make a difference. It’s like we, some of our favorite images are actually the result of a collaboration with clients, because some ideas just happened when you are going outside your comfort zone.
And that happens when you are working with a client, because maybe you are studying topics that you would never. Thought about, and that’s what we do is like we don’t be friends. We don’t make our differentiating clients and our work. We always believe that these hours could be hanging in a living room.
And it doesn’t matter if we are showcasing a washing machine as we did or a perfume, it doesn’t matter. It’s just something we can play with, and we can still story
Daniel: [00:37:16] with it. The thing is also, I think our process makes it very easy for brands and clients to, it’s not like we are not flexible to work with any brand in the work is I think that they come to us, not only as photographers, but also as art directors.
And we can think of the whole thing. And so you where that thing is going to be. But also our process makes it easier because even before we get to the location and to the props and the outfits and everything, we have a very detailed drawing of what your campaign is going to look like. And I’m not sure if.
All the photographers in the world have that I don’t have that. Anna has it. She has these gift of translating our ideas into the drawings that makes it easier for the client to, Oh, okay. I see where you’re going. Maybe let’s try to steer it a little bit. And that’s, changing a drawing. It’s easier than redoing a whole shoot. And I think for us that it’s yeah.
Anna: [00:38:14] Especially when you were working for yeah. And when you were working for clients, I think that’s important for example, and if you’re working abroad, because that happens, we should have campaigns, for example, in berries. We’re going there. Everything has to be clear, because otherwise somebody should go out and buy something last minute.
And we don’t want that. So we schedule it radius. We send it to the client give the feedback and maybe they change something. So we are always changing before the shooting and the shooting. We have everything in front of the camera, and we don’t have to. To transform anything. It’s everything goes smooth because they already know what they are going to get.
Joe: [00:38:56] That’s excellent. So from a marketing standpoint, obviously you have built an incredible reputation and you have certainly gotten quite a bit of press for what you do. Where would you say that most of your work comes from at this point? And what I mean is. Is it from that reputation? Is it word of mouth? Is having an Instagram following of a half, a million people where that awareness is coming that is, is bringing you the work. Is it simply your website? Do you have a rep? How does that work?
Daniel: [00:39:31] I think it’s a combination of all of those things. I, at this point we don’t even know where people come from, and they always have a different place.
And of course we have a management team that’s working with us. But it’s very difficult to trace back to where all those images coming from. But at the same time, I think that’s a huge advantage of our work because the fact that our images are very popular online and on social media and on Instagram, it’s not forcing us to create something fast and something that it’s very easy to consume.
We are trying to make it. As a special and as good as possible. So they have these timeless feel to it because we are not trying to have X amount of likes on Instagram, and we are trying to make something that is timeless in like in history for us, at least,
Anna: [00:40:22] what I mean? Yeah, let’s say that social media for us is important because it’s like a gallery open to the world, 24 hours, 24, seven, and people from all over the world and can go on and see this images.
But we are not leaving for social media. It’s like for us, it’s just the platform. And I think it’s important for photographers to understand that they should create what they want and what they feel comfortable. And with the reason they feel it’s comfortable for them, because otherwise it’s you’re going to get crazy if social media is your boss, let’s say.
Joe: [00:41:02] That’s excellent advice. So you mentioned having a management team at what point. Throughout this adventure. Did you start with the management team and kind of what gave you that realization or what got you to the point to say, we need to end this part of our business off to someone.
Daniel: [00:41:20] Again, it was really organic. I think he was at the same time that we discovered that, if we are building a prob, and we wanted to be perfect, we maybe need a laser cut machine to do that instead of U.S. with the assessors very slowly and. I think we, we met them at the right point where we were having conversations in which we didn’t know what we were talking about.
The budget didn’t make sense to us, or maybe the times were too tight, and we didn’t know how to answer back. If you want something special, we need. More time or more budget.
Yeah. It’s we always
Anna: [00:41:56] forget that the company has a lot of different departments and you have to deal with clients. You have to answer emails, you have to discuss budget and then you have to know all about licensing Eva.
Eternities it’s there’s a huge world behind the photographer job. At some point, we thought that we were spending more time behind the computer, dealing with clients and. And writing emails and producing and creating. That’s the point where we needed to jump and say, okay, we need somebody that helped us with this department of our company.
Joe: [00:42:32] That, that’s great advice for anyone. What were the big priorities for you and in finding the right help and the right management team? What were the most important values that you were looking for to feel comfortable handing off that part of your business? Yeah.
Daniel: [00:42:48] The thing is that at the very beginning, we didn’t even know what we were looking for.
We just knew that we needed some help. And I think that’s the first step, which is okay. I have no idea what I’m doing and need some help. And. Accepting that I would say it’s very important, but then I think there’s also something to say about the quality of the person that you’re talking to. And I think from the very beginning, we’ve been very calm, very comfortable with them and with lauding and Gabriela, which is our management team.
And I think we do not only, benefit yeah. From having someone that knows a lot more than you in these certain topics, but also having someone to speak to very frankly and not afraid of being judged by someone because you can’t be working with someone and being afraid of, are they thinking that I’m stupid because I don’t know this or that.
And I dunno, it’s thing, the quality of the person. And, as a person is also really important. So if before you work with them, you can get to meet them and understand them as a person. I think that’s great.
Anna: [00:43:53] It’s like you are hiring somebody. It’s like this person is going to be part of your company.
It’s going to be your colleague. So you need somebody that you are like, you’re in this, on the same page and that you like this person,
Joe: [00:44:07] That’s that’s awesome. I do have one last thing that I’m curious about Daniel, especially since you were doing architectural photography, and since you were both architects, how is your work seen in the architectural world?
The reason I asked that is as an outsider, who, who has only dabbled in some simple architectural photography decades ago. I imagine the architectural world being a bit traditional and stuck in their ways as many industries are. Do they, do they see your work as just whimsical and not relevant, or have they actually embraced your work for the attention that it actually can bring to.
Architecture and you know, that, that whole
Daniel: [00:44:58] industry Philly, that’s really interesting. I would say that we have a huge audience of architects and designers, because we talk about the things that they really care about, being that minimalism or beauty or creativity or. Composition, all those things that every designer and architect is really into at the same time, we don’t really care that much, what they think about, because I know that they already love architecture, and they love design, and they love beauty.
But what I’m trying to do here is share that same passion that they, that I know that they already have with. My mom or, or a friend from, from school that they are working in something completely different, not being aware of how important the city actually is and that’s who I’m talking to.
So if, of course, if I can be relevant to architects and to designer that’s great because that’s how I feel like I’m an architect, even though I don’t build, or I design. But our main focus is everyone else because they are already convinced.
Anna: [00:46:03] Yeah. And the thing is that we architects speak for architects and that’s something we realize for years.
And we want, we wanted to break that because right now, many architectural companies, they have somebody managing their socials because they realize that. And I get so talk to architects, planes don’t understand, so what we try to do here is just to speak a common language, to show our passion, to make them feel what we feel when we see and I, and architectural masterpiece.
And I think that I keep and appreciate that to realize that they can speak in other. Let’s say in other words, and then I works, they, their designs can be more appealing to people if they change how they speak or how they show their,
Daniel: [00:46:57] yeah. Hopefully they understand that these that we’re doing, we’re not doing it just for us or for them, but for the whole humanity, if we care more about architecture and how these cities look, we are just going to be living in better places because we will be contacting designers and architects because we actually understand of those things. So by trying to just raise awareness of that, I think we’re trying to make something better, again, not just for us or for architects, but for everyone else,
Joe: [00:47:27] I have to say listening to the two of you that the passion that you both demonstrate in your words and in your thoughts for architecture it’s infectious to listen to. I mean, I give you so much credit for that, and I hope that people that are watching and listening really pay attention to the amount of passion you have for your subject matter. So I have one last question, I asked this earlier and I loaded on two more questions. So I didn’t get the answer. I don’t want to make sure I get the answer. What is the one place that you haven’t been to yet that you haven’t been able to create an image at yet that you really want to go to? I
Daniel: [00:48:06] haven’t asked that. I just forgot to answer it, but yeah, I do.
Joe: [00:48:11] That’s okay. That’s all. It’s my fault. It was a three-part question. It’s my fault. Go ahead.
Daniel: [00:48:15] The thing is that I’ve, one thing that is really complicated for us to shoot. It’s skyscrapers, but for some reason I’m always dreaming about taking pictures of skyscrapers from, from an, from an ask from a skyscraper.
You know, it would be a dream for us to go to New York to one of these cities, infected by skyscrapers. And just the other day, I was watching these documentary on Netflix about New York, and he was so inspiring, and I was just thinking. How long till we can go there and actually shoot one of these images in here.
That’ll be, yeah, amazing.
Anna: [00:48:56] Perfect. I’ve never been to New York because we went to Miami, but the airport, it’s not New York. So fingers crossed.
Joe: [00:49:06] If you do make it to New York, you have to let me know because I’m only about two hours away. I’m in New York routinely. I would love to be able. Amazing. Yes, you’re good.
I have to thank you both so much for your time. This has been incredible. And I do have to say one thing. It’s interesting listening to the two of you. And obviously I found out about you as photographers because of your photography and you routinely in the conversation. Switch back and forth from calling yourselves photographers, calling yourselves architects. And we do, we live in a world where labels are such a big thing. And I have to say, and I hope that you take this as a compliment. It is hard not to simply call you ARTISTS. And I mean that, so sincerely, your work is just brilliant. You have a new biggest fan. I can’t wait to see what the two of you do in the future. And again, I have to thank you so much for your time, and I wish you both the best of luck. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Daniel: [00:50:08] This was so good.
Links for Anna Devís and Daniel Rueda
Anna on IG: https://instagram.com/anniset
Daniel on IG: https://instagram.com/drcuerda
Anna and Daniel have a great course on Creative Photography for Social Mediabit.ly/creative-photography-course
“Sometimes the simplest pictures are the hardest to get.”
— Neil Leifer
Born in 1942, NEIL LEIFER’s photography career has spanned over 50 years since becoming a professional while still in his teens. Beginning in 1960, his pictures regularly appeared in every major national magazine, including the Saturday Evening Post, Look, LIFE, Newsweek, Time and, most often, Sports Illustrated.
Leifer eventually became a staff photographer for Sports Illustrated before leaving in 1978 to become a staffer for Time magazine. In 1988 he was made a contributing photographer at LIFE magazine and spent the next two years dividing his efforts between Time and LIFE. When Leifer left Time Inc. in 1990, his photographs had appeared on over 200 Sports Illustrated, Time, and People covers—at that point, the most ever published of one photographer’s work in Time Inc. history.
Leifer has published 16 books, 9 of which have been collections of his sports photographs. Leifer has traveled all over the world on sports assignments. He has photographed 16 Olympic Games, 4 FIFA World Cups, 15 Kentucky Derbies, countless World Series games, the first 12 Super Bowls and every important heavyweight title fight since Ingemar Johansson beat Floyd Patterson in 1959. He photographed his favorite subject, Muhammad Ali, on almost 60 different occasions—covering his biggest fights and over 30 one-on-one studio sessions.
I grew up in this business as a huge fan of Neil Leifer. He mastered the decisive moment in sports. His images put you in the action and his portraits showed the grace and a respect of athletes in a way that we weren’t used to seeing. One of the many reasons that I admired Neil Leifer were his stories of getting access to photograph Yankees games as a teenager. Something that I did in Philadelphia, talking my way in to photograph the Eagles, Phillies and professional soccer – the now defunct Philadelphia Fury. The idea of talking your way in is all but impossible in today’s world – but back then – professional camera equipment was rare enough that frequently that’s all you needed to gain access.
I encourage you to check out Mr. Leifers website. He spends his time now as a filmmaker, but still makes it a point to cover his favorite sport – boxing from time to time.
Up & Coming
This week’s UP & Coming photographer is Aijani Payne.
Born in Virginia and currently based in Brooklyn, NY Aijani Payne is known for delivering imagery with great components of distinctive shape, color, and a sense of nostalgia.
Aijani has contributed to major brands & publications has also held an art show in collaboration with Carhartt WIP named “Besides High fashion” which explores images consisting of ambient portraits & macro shots.
His work has a 1990’s kind of vibe to it and it is raw and full of emotion.
Be sure to check out Aijani’s work. The links to his website and Instagram are in the show notes.
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