You know, it's funny. A couple of decades ago, not much would have been provocative about young photographer Ysa Pérez's
approach to shooting actors, musicians, and models. She gets to know them, feels them out, waits for them to step out of their comfort zones, and...CLICK.
But, these days, slowing down and waiting for things to happen behind the lens is getting rarer and rarer. With a quality, Internet-connected camera in everyone's hand stocked with photo-editing apps and filters that mimic the pros, what's the point of traditional photography? The answer can be found in Pérez's intimate portraits of people like Solange Knowles, Jemima Kirke, Riff Raff, Debbie Harry, Peaches, Violent J, and many, many others for a flurry of publications. Soft, expansive, moving, and sometimes challenging, Pérez's images are pieces of art worth waiting for. After all, what's more provocative than stopping people in their tracks and making them think about what they're seeing?
The biggest risk I've ever taken
"At school, I wanted to learn how to get into Rolling Stone, Spin, magazines like that, but my college was really technical, more focused on studio lighting and things like that. I knew I just needed to get out there and try things for myself and listen less to their version of ‘how to become a photographer.’ So, I took a quarter off school and interned at Nylon magazine. I went to shows and began photographing the music scene, and got known for shooting intimate portraits of certain artists. It was a lot easier to finish school knowing I could ‘make it’ in NYC.”
How I'm changing the game
"Right now, there’s this incessant need of ‘instant imagery.’ But, what I do is a craft. I take time in my work. I capture a feeling. It's something rare and unappreciated these days. I know it’s old-fashioned, but I’m standing by my process, my methods. If I wanted to be another person with a DSLR and a flash shooting pretty girls against a wall, I could do that. But, I want my work to be about quality, not quantity. I want to be hired because I’m good at what I do, not because I have 6,000 Instagram fans."
What I do to amp up my look
“I’m really into eyebrows — I think most girls are, but guys don’t get it yet! I'll darken mine heavily for a night out.”
Blush Glenplaid Bomber, $2,350, more information at
Satin Bra, $295, available at
Tabitha Trousers, $285, shop a similar style at Farfetch/The Webster; ASOS
JAK Flatform Shoes, $64.82, available at
Running Man Ring, $2,200, shop similar styles at
Hair by Bethany Brill; Makeup by Ashleigh Ciucci; Styled by Laura Pritchard