March 29, 2018 by Jeanelly Concepcion
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San Antonio Fashion Awards Nominee for 2016 Model of the Year, Luis Martinez, has accomplished so much since we last spoke with him! We’ve seen him grow from up and coming model to published photographer and even landing a National campaign with the wildly popular, Smile with Lay’s. We caught up with him and got up to speed with everything he’s been up to for the last 2 years!
SLTV: Tell us what you’ve been working on since you moved to Dallas.
LM: Where do I even start!? I can’t believe it has been 2 years in Dallas already! I remember like it was yesterday when we were doing our interview at Lari’s office! I believe one of the main reasons of why I decided to move to Dallas in the first place, was to really get out of my comfort zone and to grow into the person I always knew I could be; physically, emotionally and professionally. My first year was a struggle since I was the “new kid” on the block and even though I had experience under my belt, I was still auditioning and competing among the best in the business. Hard work, PATIENCE and trusting my agents has paid off. One of my main clients is JC Penney. They have kept me busy since I arrived to Dallas, and thanks to them I’ve work with labels such as Levi’s, J. Ferrar, Stafford, Nike, Adidas, Columbia and others. Also been strutting the cat walk and showing for Armani, Gucci, John Varvatos, Zegna, Alexander McQueen and others! My most recent campaign is for Frito Lay! Their Smile Campaign featuring my smile on their Original Flavor! It’s been quite a journey, but been so blessed that I can almost say that I’m doing this full time!
SLTV: What inspired you to get behind the camera? Did you already have experience with photography? What’s inspires you when you’re working on a shoot?
LM: Photography actually started when I was still in San Antonio. And it all began when Lari Nelson was in need of new photographers to work with! With the very little experience of working on set as model, and seeing how photographer manipulated light and setting of their workspace, I figured why not give it a try! So I started by renting equipment and working with Lari’s models. At this point it all really was just like a hobby and something to do on the side. Fast forward couple of years, while living in Dallas and with the high demand of keeping up social media and having to create new content, I decided to invest on a camera. And well, the rest is history! In my free time and while hanging out with friends here in Dallas, I would take pictures of them just for fun. Next thing I know, they are posting the pictures on their social media, and their agencies started reaching out to me, asking if they I could work with their models! The next thing I know, I had people reaching out to me left and right, and well… here I am! At this point, I realized that photography was no longer just “for fun”. It became an obsession and a passion! I always thrive to be the best I can be in everything that I do. Since I had no experience or actual knowledge of Photography, I enrolled on online courses for editing and retouching. When it comes to lighting and composition, I always say that there’s no wrong pose or picture, the beauty of photography is that you can make it your own. So everything else outside of the editing and retouching, I’ve experimented and learned by myself.
Photography has become the way I express myself. I want my photography to speak for me and to captivate people the way it has captivated me. I love the connections and bonds that are created with the person in front of the lens, with the make up artist, stylist, and everyone of set. We become like a family, we are a team that is trying to create something that will express our feelings, emotions and personalities. Inspiration can literally come from anything. What makes it special and challenging for me is putting life and personality to that inspiration.
SLTV: Tell us about your recent published photos. How did you feel to be published for the first time?
LM: As a photographer I want to create and tell stories that will reflect me as a person. Like I mentioned, I believe that we can draw inspiration from anything and everything around us, and that’s exactly what happened with my very first publication and cover! While doing my grocery shopping, I spotted this beautiful yellow looking fruit that I had never seen before (horned melon). And at the time I was planning a beauty shoot with the talented Walter Fuentes (HMUA), so I took a pic of this fruit sent it to him and next thing I know he’s also sending me a picture of another beautiful fruit; The dragon fruit. It was meant to be. We decided to go with exotic, weird and colorful fruits, and since it was going to be spring, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.
This editorial not only spoke about the season and beautiful fruits, but also reflected every personality and emotion on set that day. That’s what I want and look for in any shoot.
I decided to submit my work for the first time to a magazine, so I sent it to 10 different beauty magazines. The feedback was more than I could ever asked, they were in awe. Out of the 10 magazines, 7 wanted to publish our work. One magazine, 7HUES Magazine, not only offered the back cover, but the Front Cover as well! And as a photographer, what else can you ask for!? Not only was I getting my first published editorial, but my first cover! I will forever be thankful and feel blessed to have had such an amazing team.
SLTV: What’s next for you?
LM: What’s next for me? geeezzz! I don’t even know where to start! Let’s just say that I have my second publication on its way and a third one in the works. Thanks to that first published editorial and cover, I’ve gained quite a lot of recognition that I was honestly not expecting it at all. But one thing I do love about the fashion industry here in Dallas is that we are all a big happy family. And without the support and mentoring of many artists (Photographers, HMUA, stylists, models, agencies, etc,.) I wouldn’t be in this position.
There’s so much room to grow, and that is what I’m working on next. I want to fine tune my work and have a “brand/ aesthetic” that when people see my work, they will know it’s mine!
Love Luis! So do we!
Follow him on Social Media and visit his site for more on his photography work!