By John D. Adams
There are many ways to tell a story. Verbally we do it all of the time. There are writers of every stripe. Painters. Filmmakers convey a story through combinations of sounds and images. And then there is Nick Garcia, who as a photographer, has arguably the most difficult task – he must tell a story within a static, silent, two-dimensional photograph. Garcia’s talent is his ability to engage a viewer within the first second, and hold his attention, allowing the play of light, shadow, color, contrast, depth, and dimension to spring out of each photograph, as fully formed as any two-hour movie.
Tell Me a Story
A Nick Garcia photograph is all about the details. As a portrait photographer, he must build a scene that will convey at a glance his subject’s career status, job description, personality, basically anything the client wants. Oh, and to complicate matters, he just met the subject five minutes ago. It is a common situation and one that seems nearly insurmountable. “I like that,” laughs Garcia. “I don’t get scared of going to an unfamiliar place. I like that moment where I get to a place and there’s nothing there so I have to build a scene, create a new environment, and compose it in a way that is going to reflect the personality of the client.”
The background is the foreground
Look carefully all around the subjects in Garcia’s photographs. He pays special attention to architectural and textural details, lighting, focus, and, of course, color and movement. “I got to a point where I was able to shoot people, fashion, and portraits so my background helped me to look at the environment around as well as the primary subject.”
And for Garcia, this “signature style” sets him apart from other portrait photographers. “Most times we work with a very specific style. We emphasize the importance of the background and how it is lit and how it interacts with the subject. A lot of people don’t do that. They only concentrate on the subject. It is very important for me, how that person fits in there. A lot of times we are shooting in a hotel room or a room or environment that isn’t theirs, so I strive to achieve the feel that they are comfortable and belong in that environment. As for color, we are in Miami! I have been all my life surrounded with that high contrast, beautiful saturation, and that translates into how I view the world.
“For me it is all about the image. I’m not necessarily good with words. I’m not a writer. But I’m telling stories. I tell them through my images.”
See Nick Garcia’s work at www.nickgarciaphotography.com