What do you get when you combine a photographer, model, and makeup artist all into one? One hell of a creative force. Puerto Rican-born triple threat Nicole Pagán stuns with her fashion and editorial work, but can also create concepts completely on her own. Take a look at some of our favorites from the series below.
What made you want to be a photographer? What draws you to the medium?
I started my first year in college back home in Puerto Rico with photo journalism and they asked me to buy a camera for one of the courses. I literally fell in love with this thing as soon as I bought it. I shot everything and everyone I saw. And was the first thing that made me feel truly fulfilled.
What is your process for your self portraits? Describe your inspiration.
For my self portraits I just have my tripod, my camera, a huge white wall, and some awesome lighting. That’s the key! Always awesome lighting. I do my own makeup – I’m always trying different looks and watching youtube tutorials like is no one’s business (its a guilty pleasure.) I use a control remote and just start posing with a feeling myself song in the background! I get inspiration from everything I see. Literally. When I feel the need to shoot I definitely have to release that energy and I found a way through myself.
How does your Puerto Rican heritage affect your work? What about the other places you’ve lived?
Puerto Rico is a huge part of me and my work. It’s what I am at the end of the day. Growing up near the beach and having access to it at all times is definitely a blessing. It’s beautiful, and I miss it dearly. Going to school in Boston made me grow, and it made me the professional I am today. I was recognized for my work a lot…. then I moved here. Los Angeles. What a change! It’s been hard, but I see my growth as a professional and I’m getting out of my comfort zone in so many ways. I’m getting to know myself more and growing as a human being. It’s been definitely a journey!
What kind of photography do you like the most?
Describe your camera setup. Film or digital? What’s your dream camera?
For my self portraits, I normally just have my tripod and my camera with flash or studio lights in a white wall. It’s like a canvas. I literally can create anything I want with the little I have. I shoot both film and digital, but mainly digital. My dream camera is definitely a Hasselblad.
Do you do a lot of post editing?
Who/what inspires you?
I’m inspired by nature a lot. I draw inspiration from my life, believe it or not, depending what my mood is. That’s what I shoot and what I get inspired from. I love the work of Ted Emmons and Aris Jerome.
Any dreams for the future?
So many dreams… but my main goal is to be able to support my whole family. Success can come later.
What are your thoughts on artists and social media?
Social media definitely plays a huge part on artists now a days. That’s how I get the majority my jobs. Clients can immediately see what they want, what you are and they can just hire you by emailing you. We can all easily connect with each other – photographers, models, makeup artist, hairstylists, stylist etc.
What’s your favorite memory from a shoot?
My favorite memory has to be when I first started. I had a 35 year old wife and mother ask me for pictures of herself to give to her husband because she wasn’t feeling confident. When we were done, she thanked me crying because she felt beautiful the whole time we were shooting. That’s why I love what I do so much – I help women feel confident.
Any advice for aspiring photographers?
Just keep pushing. Get your work out there! show it to everyone. Keep learning everyday. Never give up!
PHOTOGRAPHER/EDITOR: Nicole Pagán