néstor díaz-valentín

PORTRAITJOURNALIST

ajourney

TIMELESS STYLE


Wouldn't it be nice to be able to step outside yourself, to see yourself reveling in a perfect moment? You can.


In my 20-plus and still counting career, I have completed many weddings, Mitzvahs, and events. I have also co-created infinite numbers of photographs under what I refer to as ‘expressionistic fluency’. I continue to be one of the most highly active photographers of our time. As a whole, I am an artist who is always pushing the limits while continuing to co-create art that challenges the mind, soul, and spirit, especially the heart.


I’ve learned this;  the main purpose of photography or any other artistic expression is to be able to learn how to develop full creative expressiveness and fluency! Understanding life can be extremely difficult. I am evolving at the same pace as everyone else. No exceptions! I am looking at everything. Looking further into the stars, galaxies, and all existences, on this planetary space and outside of her. Art mimics nature. Life represents all that exists. Photography represents my life and that of others. This is the reason I refer to my photography as portraitjournalism.


Chrissy and I married in 1995. The photographer was 30 minutes late, high, we don’t have pictures of the reception and we paid $3,000 for the pictures. We paid $1,000 for the DJ (music). The DJ was drunk; and couldn't even pronounce words correctly. He played the wrong song for our first dance. Both companies, photography, and DJ, accumulated trillions doing exactly that multiple times. And, yes, humans call that business! That conduct is definitely extremely full of unethical behaviors. We don’t see it that way since we are accustomed to seeing our own culture do it, promiscuously over and over all the time. This behavior is not only happening during weddings but in all other human interactions.


This is one of the reasons I wanted to become a wedding photographer. I wanted to try becoming an ethically oriented person as well as a just and ethically oriented photographer.

It is not always easy, I became very interested in peace while attending Temple University and West Chester University since we as a human family have been involved in so much violence that creates so much destruction. As I watched the news and studied philosophy and history, I couldn't help but feel a sense of despair. Every day, there seemed to be a new headline about violence, bombings, and wars. It all made me wonder, what would the world be like if we all just got along? I attempted to study pre-med at Temple University. Later graduated from West Chester University (BA. Philosophy, minor in Peace and Conflict Studies). I also studied at the New York Institute of Photography.


But amidst all the chaos, I found solace in my own memories. The best memories I have are of my own wedding. It was a beautiful day filled with love, laughter, and happiness. As I looked back at the images captured on that day, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of joy. It was like I was transported back in time, reliving one of the best days of my life.

This is the reason why I decided to dedicate my life to photography. I want to capture the love and happiness that people experience on their special days. Whether it is a wedding, a bar mitzvah, a quinceañera, or a corporate event, I want to be there to witness those moments of pure bliss.


There are days when I come across difficult clients, troublesome weather, and technical glitches. But at the end of the day, it is all worth it. The photos I take to capture a moment in time that would be treasured forever.

MORE THAN A DECADE OF EXPERIENCE


"I always thought the camera made the picture, it didn't make it. I made it. I don’t take pictures in a technical/academic sense. I co-create artistic expressions. I’ve learned to not use my rational thoughts and only feel the emotions I see. If I minimally intervene, the artistic imagery is given to me”


As I look back on my life, I realize that I was searching for peace all along. Maybe we can't change the world, but we can at least capture and cherish those moments of love and happiness. It's a small step, but it's a step in the right direction.

I always knew I had a knack for capturing moments on camera. But it wasn't until I stumbled upon the work of John Kellar and Denis Reggie that I realized that there was so much more to photography than just technical expertise.


Their words echoed in my head as I set out to capture my next shot - "I co-create artistic expressions. If I minimally intervene, the artistic imagery is given to me." It was a new philosophy, one that required me to abandon my rational thought and only feel the emotions I saw.


As I frame the shot, I let my instincts guide me - the lighting, the angle, the subject. It is as if the picture is already there, waiting for me to capture it. And when I look at the final result, I am amazed. It is not just a picture, it is a work of art, a moment frozen in time.

I realize that in portaitjournalism, the moment is much more important than any camera setting or technical expertise. It's about capturing the essence of a moment, and the emotions that are imbued in it.


I approach my photography with a new perspective - one that allows me to co-create artistic expressions and capture moments that are more than just pictures. As I quickly learned, "the subject" matter is so much more important than the photograph." And I couldn't agree more.

As I look back on my journey, I am reminded of the power of photography and the beauty that can be captured when we let go of our rational thoughts and allow our emotions to guide us. And with each new shot, I am excited to see what artistic imagery will be given to me.

Perhaps one of my most important influences is a photographer named Joe Buissink. There was a time when I thought that photography was just a matter of clicking pictures. However, that perception changed when I stumbled upon Joe Buissink's breathtaking photographs. The way he captured his subjects was nothing short of magical. I was completely mesmerized by his work and wanted to learn more about his techniques. 


As I delved deeper into the art of photography, I realized that it wasn't just about getting the right shot; it was about capturing the essence of the subject. Joe's work taught me that photography is as much about the heart as it is about the eye. 

I had the opportunity to attend one of Joe's talks in Pennsylvania, and I jumped at the chance. As I sat in the audience, listening to him speak about his craft, I knew that I had made the right decision. His passion for photography was infectious, and I left feeling inspired and motivated to continue on my own journey of artistic expression. 


Meeting Joe in person was the highlight of my day. He was gracious and kind, and he took the time to answer my questions and share his insights. As I walked away from our meeting, I felt a sense of purpose and direction. I knew that I had found my calling.


Today, I am a successful photographer, and I owe it all to Joe Buissink, Denis Reggie, and John Kellar. Their work taught me that photography is not just a skill; it's an art form that comes from the heart. I also owe it to Charles Eisenstein for allowing me to learn from the ideas he has been sharing. And for that, I will always be grateful.