We first worked with J Lucas Reyes last January 2 - our first wedding this 2010. It was a happy albeit cloudy day, but his photographs were just too awesome for words. They were just right in every sense, with that very relaxed & elegant feel.
There's something about his work ethic that reminds us of Dylan Thomas' In My Craft or Sullen Art,"...I labour by singing light / Not for ambition or bread / Or the strut and trade of charms / On the ivory stages / But for the common wages / Of their most secret heart."
We've said it before and we say it again: few photographers are gifted with the eye for form & substance, and J Lucas Reyes is one of those whose body of work truly inspires.
Beginning October 2010, Vatel Manila will be collaborating with J Lucas Reyes in bringing engagement sessions to a whole new level.
In this post, J. Lucas Reyes shares with us his thoughts on his craft. Enjoy! :-)
What led you to a life pursuing images?
Since I was a kid, I have always been a visual person. Thankfully, my parents raised me to love and do my thing so I set my heart on drawing, painting, playing/writing music early on until I learned and loved the soul of film photography while studying Visual Communication at the UP College of Fine Arts.
Funny thing though that after school, my closest friends became photographers so I chose the less-travelled path and pursued my other strength which is graphic design and art direction. It served as a successful career for ten long years, a place where I greatly excelled in, gained admiration, and helped a lot of businesses. Ironically, I haven't felt much personal artistic merit and purpose in it.
Almost two years ago, God led me back full circle into photography after a short vacation [where] I used a digital SLR for the first time. Soon thereafter, I was grateful for opportunities to shoot with my good friend, Nelwin Uy, on my first few weddings. I never looked back since.
Now, being a wedding photographer comfortably feels like a blend of it all - heart, soul, image, and purpose. It just feels amazing to be able to create art to my heart's content, at the same time give beautiful, meaningful photos for couples to cherish.
Tell us about your nature as a photographer.
I'm a huge fan of elegance, simplicity, candidness, and expressiveness. These are the timeless qualities I strive for in the photographs I make.
My style is fine art photography influenced by an editorial/lifestyle approach, which a lot of brides love as images 'look as if they would fit any magazine'. I've always wanted to show natural beauty and grace through something raw and natural, so I always try to keep things real and simple.
Typically I go for clean compositions and control extreme depth of field for dreamy backgrounds. I prefer a relaxed, moving shooting style that actively engages and loosens up couples rather than elaborately posing them with blank expressions. This usually makes my shoots fun, casual, and lively. I try to do as much as I can in-camera using natural light and don't rely much on post processing other than Filmtastic™ to create my images.
Tell us about Filmtastic™.
The idea for Filmtastic™ was born about a year ago when I wanted to bring a timeless finish to my images. I tried not to use Photoshop actions and plug-ins that other photographers use as these frequently reflect unwanted textures and funky skin colors that date images. While those may be fine for others, I chose to look for inspiration instead in the simple but artful medium that I've always relied on before - which is film. I decided to slowly bring it into the local wedding scene, believing it'll be a noticeable look that will stand out.
Filmtastic™ is quite magical. It's a special home-bred process of converting digital files into accurate film-grained images giving it amazing color and detail in a unique, soft, and saturated look that is comparable only to film. I figured couples deserve to keep photos [that are] not only rich in meaning but also rich in real, timeless color, something that will awe even their grandchildren. For a fraction of the cost, time and effort of using real film, shooting digital and developing film images out of it opens up new, unique, exciting possibilities for images to last a lifetime.
Even if it took me 9 months to personally develop this now quick-and-easy process, it was well worth the time as feedback has been surprisingly good. Couples have been recently booking me for this fresh, thoughtful approach to both color and style.
You can read more about Filmtastic™ here.
What to you is a successful shoot?
When I surprise myself and my clients with the results :-)
Who do you look up to?
The first photographer I've always looked up to is my father. He also gave me his SLR, which was the first camera I loved - a Canon AE-1 with a 50mm lens. I then grew up adoring more photos from Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliot Erwitt, Herb Ritts and Mark Seliger.
In a pipe dream, I'd be thrilled to shoot a wedding with Joe Buissink or Christian Oth. I'm also a huge Rodney Smith fan.
What influences your aesthetic?
Nature, art, design, and people. I love places that shine with natural light and color - gardens, trees, landscapes, parks, wide open spaces. Usually, I retreat to the beach to clear my mind and recharge.
Obviously, because of my design and art background, I'm always eager about good, thoughtful design in any form. Art is inspiring especially if it has a lot of history in it. Also, fascinating people are captivating subjects - always a joy to shoot.
What do you look forward to?
To shoot more. To be blessed with a lifelong opportunity to meet new people, gain friends, see new places and capture beautiful things unfold before me, anywhere around the world. And in turn, to be a blessing to others in any way I can.
What tips can you give aspiring photographers?
Master your camera, be yourself, and shoot what you love. It sounds simple but it really requires a lot of time, commitment, and hard work. It's the only way to grow as a photographer, to discover your own style, and to achieve your best work. And along the way, always treat people with respect and love, and everything else will just flow.
J LUCAS REYES
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