The sea and the sun. Colors of Madrid and Mexico in Felipe Huertas’ works.
Felipe Huertas is a photographer and an art director who is working in Madrid and Mexico. Felipe is inspired by living near the sea that finds its way into the photography by bringing in colors of the sunset. The heat of the weather and the nearby water sources create a genuine feeling of being free in a seaside resort. Felipe tells how he made his way to becoming a photographer from collaborating with local fashion stores to studying the subject.
Hi Felipe, tell about yourself. You are a photographer and an art director. Do you think the skills you need to be a great photographer are similar or different to the skill set you need to be a great art director?
I am from a very small town in the north of Costa Rica. I didn’t have an art-rich environment, so when I was fifteen years old, I started to plan my photos. I used to get in contact with the shops in my town, and they would give me their clothes in exchange for my product. It distracted me from school and fascinated me.
Instead of escaping through video games, I made low-cost productions, haha. Until I turned sixteen years old, when I moved to the capital to study photography, I realized that the skills I had obtained as a photographer in my town had been of great help in concluding what I wanted to tell with my photos and grow professionally.
I believe, a photographer is always looking for stories to tell, and the search for this story puts you in a complete creative position.
I think the skills in all creative sectors are very similar, beyond the techniques that differentiate us from one another, the skills may be the same. In my case, photography was my main tool for my development as a creative director.
Traveling between Madrid and Mexico how do you find the culture differs in the circles of photographers in those cities?
In my case, I think Mexico has a more mature way of working, there is a solid industry that works every day to grow, and there is a lot of mutual support between photographers, stylists, editors, etc.
Regarding Madrid, I perceive a more experimental industry, which is quite good but at the same time everything seems to be moving slowly and it becomes difficult to achieve something.
The most beautiful thing I find in my photography, as a result of the cultural difference, is that everything changes, the way a complete team works, the essence of the image… It’s like going from childhood to adolescence, the same person but with hormonal changes.
Tell about the concept for the campaign you did for Revista 192 and how did you reach the final color?
For 192, I did a publicity campaign for a designers shop in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We worked with the discipline of sports, the positive and the negative sides of it. Sometimes people who play sports take it to the extreme, without thinking that they can also hurt themselves by taking the discipline too far. The final colors are related to the satisfaction and fatigue you feel with the sun!
What sunglasses brand do you wear?
To be honest, I have no idea, I try not to spend big money on them because I always lose them. I prefer buying colorful and extravagant sunglasses for less than 10 euros in flea markets, which I already have a bunch of, hahaha.
What is the most memorable present you gave someone? What was special about it?
“When I turned 10, my grandfather gave me some cash as a gift for Christmas — He told me to spend it on what I most wanted. It was the first time I had some money, so I decided to spend it on gifts for my family. I was very happy spending it that way, more than on anything else”.
You are working a lot with colors. You have subtle pastel colors, vibrant colors, sun-kissed sea colors. How do you reach the final product? When are you satisfied with the image you have created?
I think that the fact of having lived a long time on seashores, the colors I work with I will always be inspired by the bright and pastel colors of the sunset
I am also very influenced by the music I listen to, I like to translate it into colors in my mind and then in my photos, so when all these factors agree, I am satisfied :)
Sometimes, it is about capturing a right moment, a right smile, a right movement. People in your works relate a story of the specific moment that you succeed to catch. How do you work on the set? How do you direct the models?
I usually try to explain them the concept I want to achieve so that they have it in mind before starting to work, because when I have my camera in my hands, I let myself be carried away by their beauty and feel themselves, beyond an acting. I love the moment when the subject relaxes his shoulders and breathes through his eyes without thinking about what they have to do.
What was the weirdest or most unexpected thing that happened on the set when you were shooting?
To be honest, nothing strange happened to me! Although, I would love to witness some paranormal activity, haha.
What is your favorite fruit?
It had always and will always be the Mamón Chino. Translate the name into English, don’t be scared, I swear it’s a fruit! A red hairy fruit from the tropics.
What are you up to next?
I really want to start directing and recording more videos, I've only had the opportunity to direct one, and I loved it. At the same time, I’m trying to establish myself in Madrid, and produce more work, I am focused on that one hundred percent.