Dominique James, Photographer

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Archive for March 2009

A photographic portrait of a painter as an artist

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A photographic portrait of Filipino artist Katrina Bello.

A photographic portrait of Filipino artist Katrina Bello.

BY DOMINIQUE JAMES

Her name is Katrina Bello. She is a painter. I met her fall last year in New York. She was introduced to me as “Kim” by the couple Butch and Beng Dalisay, who at that time were vacationing in the East Coast. The first time I met Kim, we had lunch at the cafeteria of Conde Nast’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan. It was quite memorable because though I couldn’t exactly remember what I ate, I was taken in by the fascinating setting—the cafeteria was designed by the well-known architect, Frank Ghery. Since that first meeting, I must have gone out with Kim countless times, and I always tease her that Frank Ghery doesn’t know what a straight line means. We’ve become friends, Kim and I. Kim is crazy about art. And I’m crazy about her—as a friend. Whenever we meet up, we’re always manage to find ourselves surrounded with art—at a museum, a gallery or anywhere else. So far, we have been to the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and countless galleries and art shops around Chelsea, Brooklyn, and Queens. Since I’ve met Kim, and since I moved to New York, I’ve seen more art—paintings, sculptures, installations, performance, and yes, photography, than I’ve ever seen before. I usually end up getting a headache after each of our visual and experiential art trips. And, I always complain to her that I never understand 99.9 percent of the art I’ve just seen. She just laughs at me. One thing though that I learned to appreciate from her is cheese. We sat down over a selection of fine cheese that she ordered from the cafeteria of the MoMA, and she went on to educate my palette—coaching me to describe the taste of each of each of the cheese we nibbled on endlessly along with some biblical fruits. If it’s anything about food, I’m attentive. One time, I told Kim that I wanted to photograph her. So when we went to P.S. 1 MoMA, I brought with me my Nikon D2Xs and a couple of lenses, and as we walked in and out and around this fascinating art space, I was also somewhat “creating” my own art—taking pictures of Kim. I’ve shot a little over 600 images of Kim that day in the span of about 2 hours, and the moment I got home, I loaded it all into Aperture 2.1 on my 15-inch unibody MacBook Pro. So far, I’ve shown Kim only a couple or so of the shots from that afternoon session. The one picture you see here, which was recently used in a full-spread feature about her in GP Magazine, is one of those shots. It was taken at an “art building” across the street of P.S. 1 MoMA. I’ve yet to show Kim all the other shots I’ve done of her that day. Usually, I would randomly email her one or two from the entire set whenever the mood strikes me. I have quite a number of interesting photos of her, and I’m keeping these pictures to myself for now, thinking I’d surprise her when the right time comes along. I sometimes wonder though if she’s at all interested in seeing all the pictures I took of her. She never really asked me about those “other” pictures which she has yet to see. She is unusual in that way, among many other ways, because almost everyone I’ve taken pictures of are actually impatient (and even a tad demanding) when it comes to taking a look at their photos. But no, not Kim. We never even talk at all about her pictures when we’re together, on the phone or on email. It’s just there, those photos. [Note: For inquiries and for information on professional photography assignments for editorial and/or advertising purposes, as well as post-production digital image editing and enhancement, please send email to Dominique James at dominiquejames@mac.com or call 912-246-1131. Thank you.]

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Photographing and designing a new magazine cover

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This is the Spring 2009 cover of GP (Global Philippines) Magazine.

BY DOMINIQUE JAMES

Popular Filipino actress and singer Stella Ruiz graces the cover of the new and exciting Spring 2009 issue of GP (Global Philippines) Magazine. Stella recently gave up her lucrative showbiz career in the Philippines to permanently move to the United States. For some time, she was initially based in the West Coast, but eventually, she settled in the East Coast. Despite her now more quite lifestyle, away from the glare of the limelight, and away from the intrigues, Stella is still quite well known among a number of Filipino communities here in the US from coast to coast. Her popularity has even led to several solo singing engagements. Stella is noted for her edgy rock, pop and ballad songs laced with a selection of all-time favorite standards. The first time I’ve photographed Stella was when we were still both in the Philippines, at the time when she was about to launch her musical career. Fast-forward to today, we worked again for the magazine cover shoot. The recent pictorial therefore felt like a comfortable reunion of sorts. The mood was light, breezy, and fun. Doing a four-layout pictorial was therefore easy and fun. Much of the success of the pictorial is owed to Stella’s personality. She was gregarious and talkative all throughout the session, making sure that everyone feels comfortable and relaxed. The cover photo shoot was held at the Hyatt Hotel at Exchange Place in Jersey City, New Jersey. The exact location was at one of the boardwalks of the famous Hudson River overlooking the much more famous Manhattan skyline that prominently showed one of the tallest buildings in the world, the Empire State Building. The production team for this shoot included fashion stylist Zaldy Labaco (whom I’ve worked with on a number of pictorials in Manila and who also recently migrated from the Philippines to the United States), hair and makeup artist Ryzelle Bayacal, and production assistant Don Cendana. Production of the cover pictorial was managed by GP Magazine’s publisher, Manny Agbanlog. This Spring 2009 cover of GP (Global Philippines) Magazine featuring Stella Ruiz marks a radical departure from the old magazine through a dramatic redesign, refocus and rebranding. On the inside, this magazine features: Romy Luz, Nonette Teodoro, Camille Villar, Dario Octaviano, Kim Bello, Ysa Langdon, Chris Boucher, Toff De Venecia, Karlo Miguel, and others. It also features Roberto Tomas, Kaye Cloutman, Alex Uy, Florante Aguilar, Ric Ickard, Perfecto De Castro, Angelito Agcaoili, Victor B. Velasco, Amina Aranaz-Alunan, Amos Manlangit, Rommel V. Manlangit, Ace Durano, Stanie Soriano, etc. The print edition of GP Magazine is mainly available in the East Coast (generally in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and other nearby states), and it can also be accessed online for free at GP Magazine Online. [Note: For inquiries and information on professional photography assignments for editorial and/or advertising purposes, as well as for professional post-production digital image editing and enhancement, please send email to Dominique James at dominiquejames@mac.com or call 912-246-1131. Thank you.]

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