Giovanni Moran is a fine art, fashion, and portraiture artist. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, California.
Entirely self-taught, (doing so in a short period of five years) Giovanni focused on his photography career, with a main focus on fashion photography. In this short period of time, he has established a style as well as a name for himself and has been published in many reputable magazines. This doesn’t come as a surprise to me after hearing how much value Giovanni places on inspiration. He is inspired by life-experiences, dreams, fantasies and beauty. When listening to Giovanni explain how important the relationship between artist and inspiration can be, I actually teared up.
Giovanni’s work will take you through a story, allowing the viewer to distinguish their own interpretation of his photographs. His style is a combination between surrealism and exaggerative color manipulation. “However, what you see is what you get, everything was there beforehand, as intended to be. Now this is my photography…”
Join us, for one of the most inspirational interviews on PHLEARN yet.
You bought your first camera at the age of 19. With that being said, how did your interest in photography come to fruition?
I remember very vividly being curious about photography because I wanted to express myself creatively and document all of my experiences, then after my investment, I started exploring self-portraiture, what we now in our digital zeitgeist call “selfies,” but I took a more conceptualized approach in my early stages as an artist, allowing an image to convey a symbolic reflection of my current inspiration.
Do you have any formal training in photography or would you consider yourself self-taught for the most part?
No training, entirely self-taught! I took subtle courses here and there, luckily enough with research, experimentation, books, trial and errors, careful observation and through networking; it has brought me to where I am now and I continue to improve by expanding my craft. The learning experiences will never end; it’s essential to our internal growth.
What’s currently on your gear list (Cameras, lenses, editing software, etc…)?
I work with Canon (All the Nikon people can hate me now, lol), but I’m constantly investing in new equipment over time, when I’m fortunate enough to be purchasing new and better equipment that I find suitable. I edit my work via Photoshop cs6, and prefer natural light as opposed to studio light. I worry less on the technical and more on the aesthetic.
Who are some of your favorite artists and/or photographers?
Guy Bourdin for his enigma, Steven Meisel for his sophistication; David LaChapelle for his colors, Alexander McQueen for his surreal narrative, Sølve Sundsbø for his romanticism and Tim Walker for his whimsical story-telling. These five have influenced my work in one way or another, and I especially admire the ones who had to rely solely on developing film as their source creation.
What is your personal definition of fashion?
People think it’s only based on materialism and superficiality; contrary to popular belief, it has more to do with what you’re doing NOW and with WHOM.
Within your photography, you’ve seemed to explore as many mediums as possible. Do you have a favorite type of genre of photography you like to shoot? Why?
I’m an avid enthusiast towards simplicity, I love shooting portraiture, and there is a delicate connection I experience with the person I’m photographing, which I enjoy! If not obvious enough, I love telling stories through images, it’s challenging and thrilling for me, a total euphoric mental high when I’m at that moment, and I simply live for that one moment! Every opportunity I get to just pick up my camera is a privilege; I never take for granted, regardless of what I’m shooting or if anyone else sees it or not, to me, I am eventually creating a memory.
When conceptualizing ideas, what is your process like? Do you ever draw out sketches or create mood boards to help yourself visualize what you’re going for?
It starts with an inspiration, an idea clicks in my head that I can realistically and confidently create visually in photographs. I have sketch-books of all my thoughts and ideas that I have ready for my projects and potential clients to execute in a photograph. A moodboard is essential in communicating with team-members with limited words, as well as communicating with agents, editors, collaborators, patrons or clients, in the direction I’m taking. Then on the day of the photoshoot, while all of the chaos is at its peak, moments before shooting I sketch a storyboard, that way I know exactly what I’m doing photographically and can lead my team to a successful shoot.
On average, how long would you consider your creative process like to be? (Conceptualizing, planning, shooting, editing, etc…)?
It goes something like this: It can take somewhere between 2-weeks to several months, all depending on the project and if there is a deadline.
Get Inspired > Network > Contact Team Members > Choose a Shoot Day > Scout Location or a Studio > Emailing > MoodBoard + Call Sheet > Cast the Appropriate Muse > Pre-Prep for the Shoot > Budgeting Errands > Shoot Day > Post Processing > Editing > Emailing > Submitting > Finished and then Repeat.
Aside from photography, you’ve also experimented with videography. Tell us about how your interest developed in creating films? Also, what do you find to be the most satisfying thing about film making, and what would you consider the most challenging?
I took the interest simply for the fact that I wanted to challenge myself more, it’s definitely much more difficult because moments are moving, and you have to pay close attention to the details. I enjoy the outcome more so then anything else, and have to constantly adapt to my environment by taking calculated-risks. I enjoy the editing process along with my collaborators, yet the most difficult part is the process in itself. For some people it might be tedious but …HEY! This is what I signed up for!
When creating a series of work, for example an editorial, how big of a team is usually within a project?
I like to keep my team tight and know exactly who I’m working with and their contribution, so I’m usually the leader and am responsible for the project. Then there’s a wardrobe stylist that pulls clothing from local designers, showrooms or PR boutiques. There is also a make-up artist, hair stylist, a manicurist and the muse. Sometimes I’ll have an assistant or intern and an art-director that contributes throughout the process as well.
How important would you consider Photoshop and/or post-processing in your works?
Yes it is very important! This is a digital industry that values “light,” hence editing is only inevitable: color, tone, mood, composition, angle, retouching and formatting the appropriate dimensions (20×30-inch / 9.6×14.4-inch), format (RAW > Tiff > Jpeg), and resolution (72 /100 < 240-DPI).
What is your proudest moment as a photographer?
My Solo Photography Exhibition!
Tell us about your 2012 Solo Photography Exhibition in Los Angeles, California (US). How was the exhibition? Is there any other shows or exhibitions coming up in the future?
It’s a different feeling seeing your work against a wall as opposed to behind a monitor screen, thus the process was exciting yet equally terrifying and LUCK played a role too. 223 people attended the show, exhibiting new and archived work, we had several musicians performing as well as champagne. There were a lot of different emotions throughout the night.
Isn’t that every photographers dream to show their artwork in a gallery for the community to applaud and even sometimes ridicule (rhetorical question)? The process took a tremendous amount of resources, networking, collaboration, teamwork, donations and sponsorships to make happen. I was under the mercy of everyone, but essentially it all fell on me to lead. You need to inspire other people, in order for them to believe in your vision and contribute to your dream as well as their dreams, businesses and brands. Future shows and exhibitions? I certainly hope so; exhibitions are entirely unpredictable, let’s see who wants to take a chance on me.
What do you hope to do and/or say with the work you create?
I think as an artist, but act like a business-man. It’s a reflection of me, my intentions, my goals, values and my dreams in a form of realities. I feel inspired and want other people to feel inspired too!
Where would you like to see yourself in about 5-years’ time? What goals do you hope to meet?
It’s been a little more than five years since I started and I feel accomplished a lot as a photographer, artist and a human-being. My father always said, less talk and more walk! …but an inside scoop of my next goal is to gain recognition and form a relationship with a reputable Photo Rep to have my work more marketable to potential clients, collaborators and curators.
What’s your favorite photo that you’ve ever taken? Why?
This image from “The Piper, the Spirit and the Willows,” I was actually surprised at myself, because I sketched this concept a year earlier, I was able to mimic my drawing exactly as I photographed it. I befriended a man I met on the bus on my way to Downtown Los Angeles, he was a Children’s Novelist and author from Norway, he told me about a story he was working on, and this is what I envisioned in my head, thus when the time felt right I created this story.
I was overwhelmed with inspiration that day, and remembered being in “the zone.” Time worked in my favour because I experienced it in slow-motion; I was able to pay attention to the details and felt the adrenaline rush palpating inside my heart, my blood flowing throughout my entire body reaching threshold, a “tingling” sensation within my mind, my pineal gland activated, I can feel it! I love that definitive feeling; it nourishes my existence to tell a story.
Can you tell us about the importance that you feel lies on the relationship between inspiration and an artist?
Yes, absolutely! As an independent artist, I feel it’s important to constantly stay inspired, every single day of your life, no exceptions on missing out on a day and the same should apply when you’re hitting the gym! (…chuckles). Why? You can plateau, lose track, lose hope, procrastinate, create excuses, and face personal or external experiences outside of your control that can hinder you from moving forward. Plus as an artist, once you reach your goal or completed a project, what you did yesterday is done! Finished! The question every artist should ask themselves afterwards is, “What’s Next?”
When reading excerpts from your interview with Ice-Cream Habit Magazine on your web-site, it was very clear to me that you are passionate about inspiration. Can you tell us what inspires you?
Ah! That’s an easy one! FEAR of course, (dissociating it from danger), the details in itself is irrelevant, but every artist established or in the becoming will only reach success once you face what you feel will hold you back from your goal and your lifelong dream. It takes courage for an artist to admit this; it’s the healthiest and foremost most important source of inspiration. I like to stay optimistic and hungry for the truth!
What doesn’t inspire you?
Referring again to excerpts from your interview with Ice-Cream Habit Magazine, you exclaim that you have “maladaptive daydreams” and you state that “the dreams that we have in our sleep shapes our spirituality.” Could you elaborate on this, and on the importance that you personally place on dreams?
Yes! It’s a gift and equally a curse, the artist life came with a price, and every artist has to pay that price. I remember in my youth during elementary school, my teacher called-in my parents for a meeting, stating that I “daydream” too much in class and had trouble focusing on the topics at hand. Luckily I’m able to differentiate it in my adulthood, so I don’t get too lost in my fantasies and focus on the realities as well as the responsibilities present in my life. Although arguable, I can elaborate it even more in the sense that, for the past couple of years aside from photography, I’ve been personally exploring lucid dreams throughout my sleep, which has influenced my conscious thinking-patterns, my intentions and the perception I have of the world, as well as a deeper understanding of the personal self (which I feel we all are subjects in exploring within our own infinite destiny). With that being said, I came to the insight that there is no one reality; the only thing existing is what we perceive, our mind is a universe in itself, our thoughts are the very connection to our soul, there is a greater purpose than who we think we are and what we do; foremost, I’m on that journey to figure that out and define it for myself, NOW!
Do you have any advice to offer us fellow artists and photographers?
(Words courtesy of Brian Buirge and Jason Bacher)
Keep up with Giovanni Moran on his website, Instagram, Behance and Facebook Page.