Photographing Lucas Vidal, Composer of Hollywood

It’s always fun when the phone rings for an editorial photography assignment, especially when it involves creating an environmental portrait of an artist. Last July, Natalia Torres, from Glamour magazine, called to see if I would be willing to photograph a celebrity in Los Angeles. I said yes, and two days later I was in Santa Monica, producing a number of portraits for the Spanish fashion publication. Although for many of my portraits, I’m happy to work without an assistant, I was lucky to have talented photographer Emily Hart-Roberts help me out, especially since my right hand was in a cast. She was my right-hand woman.

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The celebrity turned out to be Lucas Vidal, a young Spanish music composer/director who had just finished the score for The Raven, and has since produced the music for The Cold Light of Day, and is currently working on AfterParty, The Quiet Ones, Combustión, Cold Skin, Non Stop to Brazil, and White Fever.

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His business partner, Steve Dzialowski, wasn’t part of the assignment, but in my research I discovered how important he is to Vidal’s success, so I included him in some of the portraits, which Glamour ended up using as a double-page spread.

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Steve and Lucas met at Berklee College of Music. The school supported them in their business endeavor, and they now make sure to employ interns from the school. 

All the photos were taken at the Mumo (Music & Motion Productions) in Santa Monica: the writing room with red walls and a baby grand piano, a waiting area with walls covered in sheet music, and a reception room decorated with a painting by Kito Mbiango. Mumo just moved to a new building in Venice Beach. I look forward to meeting Lucas and Steve again, and to photographing in the new location.

Glamour-cover-september2012The photos were used in the September 2012 issue of Glamour, as the opening spreads for a story on Spaniards making a living abroad, given the tough financial times in Spain. You can read the magazine in Zinio through the Glamour website.

The assignment didn’t call for a video, but he was kind enough to let me do a quick interview in which he plays some music, talks about his work in The Raven, how he finds inspiration, and how surviving cancer inspired him to excel.

You can also see Vidal directing during the recording for The Cold Light of Day in the clip below… pretty inspiring dude. I love my job. Thank you, Lucas and Steve!

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Chimayo, 1990

Back in 1990 I toured New Mexico, photographing mostly with infrared film. I also had a couple of rolls of Tri-X and I think one roll of Kodachrome. When I visited Chimayó, I happened to have Tri-X in the camera. I went behind the little church to discover three crosses resting against the wall. The crosses were empty, so I thought that Jesus and the two thieves had gone up to heaven by means of the ladder. Just as I clicked, a boy ran into the picture and stroke a perfect pose, and the sun broke through the clouds. I never took the photo I had seen, with the three empty crosses. The next frame on the roll is of the boy riding his bicycle around the church.

I went back ten years later with Carlos Fresneda to work on a travel story for Siete Leguas. The place had changed completely. News of the miraculous dirt from the little church had spread far and pilgrims were now visiting from all over the planet. A row of port-a-potties filled the enlarged parking lot. I went behind the church looking for the crosses, but nothing remained.

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