The US-based Filipino lensman’s works have been on the cover of international fashion magazines
Fashion magazines aren’t just reading materials for leisure time. They are portals to fantasy worlds where art and clothing meet. Leading this visual experience are various fashion creatives, each contributing an element to complete a spectacular editorial spread. Before, many thought that pursuing a career in the fashion industry is only limited to just being a fashion designer. Now, there are so many roles one can explore that will suit their strengths. And with hard work and dedication, a dreamer can even make it big abroad.
A testament to that is US-based Filipino fashion photographer Aldrin Del Carmen. Once a fashion stylist dressing local celebrities, he now channels his passion for fashion as a photographer, capturing stunning images—some have been on the cover of international magazines.
On a mission to capture the beauty of fashion and the male form one stunning image at a time, Aldrin chats with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle as he shares his early beginnings in the fashion industry, his experience working abroad, and his tips to budding fashion photographers
Hi, Aldrin! First off, what inspired you to pursue a career in fashion?
Ever since I was young, I always had a fascination for clothes and print media. My favorite pastime was going to thrift stores and bookstores back in the Philippines. I still do that today. I can say that my love for fashion began when I started thrifting and I’d find the coolest pieces back then. My early exposure to fashion was through the vintage Vogues and GQs from this bookstore near my home. Looking at those magazines, I was so fascinated by how they were able to get those images. A good amount of those editorials I saw were all by Grace Coddington. She has this incredible ability to tell a story so I wanted to be a stylist and style shoots.
When it was time to apply to colleges, I took up Communication Arts at DLSU and I interned for Runway Productions, the team behind Philippine Fashion Week, and also for celebrity stylist Adrianne Concepcion. I was assisting her with her celebrity clients and her editorials for Garage Magazine. After those stints, I fell in love with fashion and I knew after college that I’d love to be a stylist.
You were a stylist before? What influenced you to shift to photography?
Yes, I was. For almost five years, I was a styling associate for StyleList, Inc. Upon moving to America, I didn’t know anyone in the industry but I knew I still wanted to be a stylist. I decided that I could produce my own shoots and style them. I shot guys who I met off of the street and I would post it on social media. Eventually, people started inquiring on Instagram and the rest is history.
What are the lessons you learned from styling that you now apply in photography?
One of the most important lessons I got when I was a stylist was to tell a story through clothes. Now, I just do that using images and, of course, still with the clothes. I still style a good amount of my photo shoots! I will always be so fascinated with clothing and a concept almost always start with a piece I see while pulling out and eventually try to use that to formulate the shoot.
How would you describe your style in photography?
Warm and sculptural. I love mixing fashion and the male form. I love being able to tell a story using those and shooting in places with elements on them. It could be the ocean or the desert or in the middle of a busy city. My biggest inspiration is Herb Ritts. He’s a master at doing that.
So far, what magazines have you worked with now? How was it working in the international fashion scene?
I have been very blessed to work with the Indonesia-based men's fashion and lifestyle magazine, Da Man, a lot. I had two print covers the past year and it was amazing seeing them out on the newsstands. I also had the opportunity to have a Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam cover.
Working in the international fashion scene is wild. I moved to New York City a year ago and it has been very challenging. But I am always up for a challenge.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to become a fashion photographer?
Keep doing photo shoots. Keep learning. Every shoot I go to, I still learn something new. The only way you can discover your photography style is by trying everything.
Another thing I learned is to shoot with a purpose. Don’t shoot. Try to have a theme, a vision, and a mood board for every photo session so you’re not going to a shoot without research.
What can we expect next from you?
My goal is to work with new clients and be able to have a coffee table book one day. Right now, I am just going with the flow and just incredibly grateful to be able to do what I love and make a profit out of it.
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