© elliot + erick 2012
For a while now, I’ve considered writing some posts geared around inspiring other creatives in my industry. As artists, I feel we have a shared responsibility to support one another and encourage each other’s development- in whatever capacity we are able. One of the things that inspires me most is the work of my peers. With that in mind, I thought it would be encouraging to hear the stories of some of our industry’s most exciting talents – starting with photographers.
Many of the photographers I admire, are duos working in tandem. This post marks the first in this series, with more to follow. I’ll also be featuring Stylists and a range of other creatives. Now, on to the interview…
Elliot + Erick Jimenez are a Photographic duo working in fashion. Based out of Miami and New York, they also happen to be twins! You may remember me posting their work around this time last year.
© elliot + erick 2012
Growing up as brothers (twins), did your collaborations begin at an early age? Can you provide a little background on your creative journeys as individuals and together?
ER: Initially my interests lay in film. The idea of producing, writing, and directing always fascinated me and it still does today. I gravitated towards photography because to me, at that particular time, it was the easiest and most accessible means of creative outlet. The transition into more fashion and commercial photography took me some getting used to in the beginning.
EL: Our family works in the beauty industry so that’s something we’ve always been surrounded by. When I started taking pictures, most of my friends volunteered as the subjects. They would bring their most fashionable clothes and do their own make up. It was only a matter of time until I realized fashion photography was what I wanted to do.
How supportive/encouraging were your family?
Our family is supportive of what we do today. It wasn’t exactly what they envisioned for us originally, but eventually that changed. Our grandfather always told us “do what you love, even if you’re waiting tables. As long as you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life”. It’s a very basic philosophy but an important one to live by.
What are some of the main motivators/pros for working as a team rather than individuals? Does the twin factor enter the equation?
EL: Being twins has it’s advantages, we would say mostly for marketing. It’s something people find intruiging or interesting, especially clients. We don’t think it has a better influence on our work though- lot’s of duo photographers are amazing and they’re not twins. The important thing is understanding each other and sharing one vision for the assignment. We discuss things a lot. We think very differently, but we balance each other out amazingly well. We started out working separately (the competition wasn’t healthy) and then decided to team up. Wouldn’t change a thing about it, we can’t imagine working without the other today.
ER: You have four eyes instead of two, LOL. It’s a symbiotic relationship.
Do you each have specific roles within the team?
We don’t really have specific roles, we share everything equally (suppose it’s the way we were raised, being twins). We split the looks we’re shooting, we split the work we’re editing, and we are very organized. We know exactly what each other is going to do before we get on set. If one doesn’t know something then we teach it to the other. We think it’s important to stay active on both the shooting on set and editing of our work; we don’t split responsibilities apart.
Now if a problem or disagreement over something arises, then we paper, scissors, rock it. It’s worked for us so far.
© elliot + erick 2012
Where are you now in your career and what is your idea of success/where you want to be?
Right now, we are a work in progress! We are very fortunate to do this as a full time job and we love what we do, but there is definitely lots of growing left to do in our work. We dream big, so our idea of success can stretch a very long way. Sometimes we don’t feel we’ll ever be 100% satisfied with what we’re currently doing or exactly where we are, but we think that most artists aren’t; we are always hungry for something else, something new, for more. To put it metaphorically, we are tadpoles in our career. We don’t have small expectations, so it’s just the beginning for us.
Do you have any tips for emerging artists who are looking for agency representation?
There are many different ways you can go about it. We think the most logical one is to assist and teach yourself as much as you can about the business. With technology at our fingertips, you are constantly learning and growing. Developing a portfolio then walking into some of the agencies to hear their input is always a good start.
What are some of your aspirations? What do you see as obstacles that might challenge that journey, and how do you plan to overcome these?
Right now we’re working on a lot of things, not only photography related but still part of the industry. It has set us back a little on what we originally had in mind but that’s life. By no means is this an obstacle, but a platform to do something more than just what we were doing before. Perhaps it lies in our many interests or just our inability to stay on one subject. However, we have very obsessive personalities, which helps in a way because it keeps us focused.
What was your first big break and how did you get it? What tactics if any, did you employ to bring you to that point?
Hmmmm that’s a good question, because we feel like we’ve yet to get there. But to answer your question probably our first publication, when we realized this was serious and it is what we will be doing full time. Part of being successful in this business, we believe, has to do with who you know. We worked with someone who knew an editor for a magazine and one thing led to another.
What do you consider, are some of the biggest challenges emerging artists face today in a competitive industry? and what suggestions do you have for overcoming these?
EL: The biggest competition today is anyone who wants to do this. Many people seem to want to be a part of this industry in some way. It’s very saturated with talent, there are many people willing to do anything to be a part of this industry. The best thing to do is to follow your gut and stay focused, if it is truly what you want to do you’ll overcome the obstacles or die trying!
ER: I think you just said it, it’s an extremely competitive industry that has exploded into something that many wish to pursue. Some become successful because of who they know, others because they will offer their services for less to get the job. It can be overwhelming because it’s many people fighting for one position. Success is a primitive game; survival of the fittest. Having a determined will and the support of people helps.
© elliot + erick 2012
What essential pieces of equipment should every fashion photographer have in their kit? and how have you improvised in the past?
EL: Well, to be a photographer everyone knows you need a camera, lens, lights etc. but the most essential piece of equipment for us is creativity. It’s the one thing no one can replicate and the one reason a client will hire you. Your work is as unique as a fingerprint. We improvise all the time, whether it’s natural light instead of studio lighting, or making your own head piece our of twigs to complete a look.
ER: As Elliot mentioned,creativity and (I’ll add to that), resourcefulness can be the most essential tools. In our experience, you should never back down or feel discouraged if you don’t have certain equipment. When we first started out we never limited ourselves to doing something just because we didn’t have the best equipment available at the time.
What has been invaluable to getting you to where you are now?
EL: The most valuable thing to us has been determination. As long as you know what you want to do, you remain focused, passionate, and love what you are doing you will overcome any obstacles. Learn from your mistakes and continue pushing forward.
ER: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, we grow from them, and always remember there is someone else out there that is better than you. Thinking you are the best at something does not give room for growth.
Elliot + Erick | Website | Tumblr | Facebook
All images featured in this post remain the exclusive copyright of the artists and have been published with their express permission and credited accordingly. Please remember when sharing images to give credit where credit is due and make the internet a happy place for everyone!