When I hear “Artiga,” I immediately think “energy.” Last summer, I had the good fortune of editing a gallery of Edgar Artiga’s recent work on a tight deadline, and the imagery he sent left my monitor sizzling. Edgar’s athletes popped off the screen with so much enthusiasm, that I was inspired to “up the bar” on my own fitness regimen as a result of the project. So when Edgar recently approached me about putting together an all-new website and print portfolio, naturally I picked up a fresh pair of New Balance sneakers and prepared to hit the ground running.
Edgar’s photo radiance doesn’t just come from his sports/fitness work. His lifestyle photography shines equally as bright, just with a bit less adrenaline. What’s fascinating about his photographic identity is that although these different forms of energy do send the two bodies of work into different stylistic directions, they both still end up very much feeling “Artiga.”
Rather than work against the grain, I proposed that we present his print portfolio as two separate books featuring identical cover designs with variations on the same color palette (Edgar’s signature orange, black and white). This would allow each of his bodies of work to function on their highest and purest level, while also adding some stylish branding to his presentation. Let’s not forget, this also provides a seemingly obvious solution to one of literature’s greatest quandaries: in the yellow woods, take both roads!
This decision influenced the direction of his website as well. We consolidated Edgar’s work into two potent galleries, split up similarly as “Sport” and “Life/Work.” Not wanting his website to be a mirror of his print portfolios, I was careful to build the corresponding galleries with similar themes and arcs, but utilized the different nature of the media to steer me towards image selections that were most conducive to each format. For instance, I had a blast utilizing Edgar’s expansive 11×17 landscape format print portfolio to build some broad, creative pairings that took advantage of the generous real-estate.
Edgar was very receptive to any thoughts I had about altering an image here or there to really make some of the pairings snap together.
When it comes to the question of “to alter or not to alter,” in my mind, anything that can potentially make a portfolio more than just a collection of images is at least worth considering. Signs of deliberate thoughtfulness in the organization of a body of images can truly enhance, if not intellectualize, the way the photography is perceived.
In the Sports book, I wanted to maintain Edgar’s level of energy throughout the whole sequence, so that by the end of the book the viewer might feel a bit like they themselves were riding the endorphins released from a few good reps. I suggested the book’s cover be the darker of the two, symbolizing an added punch of impact compared to its sibling lifestyle book.
Along with the home and family aspects of life, Edgar has a real knack for corporate photography of an active/lifestyle nature along with sharp business portraits. It became a crucial part of my strategy to have both the website and print lifestyle sequences start playfully and then migrate towards this poignant corporate work without any hiccups along the way.
It helped that he’s incredibly talented at taking one model and churning out several killer series of sometimes entirely different subject matters. The cohesion of this “cast” provided a means of unification between different types of photography. I thought more about editing it as I would edit a show or film, where the shot often jumps around between various scenes with different actor ensembles as they progress together towards the same end.
I was also pleased that the air-bound business travelers near the end of the book provide a quiet nod to the adventurous young aviator from the opening scene:
Ah, the circle of life.
Be sure to check out his website yourself, artigaphoto.com.