Full of punchy colors and geometric shapes, it’s easy to tell Tropico Photo’s work apart from the crowd. But what else do you know about the faces behind the Atlanta, Georgia-based photographer duo? We asked Forrest Aguar and Michelle Norris a few questions about where they’ve been, where they are, and what inspires them to create.
Where are you from originally?
Aside from a year in Italy, Forrest has lived in the Atlanta area for most of his life. I (Michelle) grew up in several different places because my dad was in the military. After we met at UGA, we both moved to Atlanta and ultimately started working on commercial photography productions.
How did you get involved in photography?
I went to an art academy in high school, which is where I first discovered the darkroom, and Forrest had been doing various forms of art for as long as he can remember. Photography ended up being a perfect outlet for us, and we both majored in it at the University of Georgia.
How did you two meet?
See above. But seriously, we met one semester when we had every single class together by chance. So we saw a lot of each other.
If you weren’t photographers, what job do you think you would be really good at?
I would be great at something in fashion. Or at least I hope so, as it’s my greatest love outside of travel and photography. Forrest would be good at making murals—big ones.
What genre of photography do you typically shoot?
It really varies. Lately, it’s been more advertising and fashion, but we’ve been known to jump into lifestyle, product, and editorial as well. Everything we do is defined by our style.
What is your favorite shoot you’ve ever worked on?
It would be really hard to choose our favorite ever. We know that we love a creative challenge, so shoots where we can think of wild ideas for how to show off a product are really fun. We recently did a couple of shoots for Treehouse Kid & Craft that were like that.
What is your favorite image you’ve ever taken?
Our favorite image is one that we’ve named “Running Man”. While on a trip to Greece, we were shooting for an editorial in SUITCASE Magazine. A man dressed completely in red entered the all-white landscape and began running up the stairs. When it happened we were so stunned and thrilled. It was a perfect example of the type of environmental portraiture that we love—framing minimal settings and having a figure activate them.
How did you come up with the name Tropico Photo?
We wanted a name that represented our style, and tropical fit our colors and quality of light. Changing tropical to tropico felt catchy and unique to us.
What do you think differentiates you from other photographers?
We have a specific aesthetic and visual language. Our style focuses on bright color and dynamic composition with an emphasis on a flatness of space. We look for really specific moments with models that feel unplanned and organic. When we are out shooting, or even creating sets in the studio, we try to create spaces that feel like another world.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as photographers?
Staying inspired and pushing our limits. It’s really important to constantly try new things, and it’s difficult to get into that headspace at times.
What is one question you wish all clients would ask?
Are you available to travel?
See more of Tropico Photo’s work on their website.