Career Snapshot: Framing Shadowman

IMG_8443-2In the not-too distant past, Artist Square’s Racquel Cruz was able to shine light on one of Orlando’s art scene icon, Richard Diaz. Through his words and works, a dominant theme of passion, trust, and eyeing beyond the overlooked define success.

The following interview exposes, in print and digital form, a non-filtered and wide-angled view as Richard Diaz, known in the world of photography as “Shadowman,” responds to:

Richard, explain to our WONO audience a bit about your alter-ego and your favorite photography styles and techniques.

I chose the name “Shadowman” because of a self-portrait I took of my own shadow. Reared from the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, my childhood was spent throughout beautiful landscape, mountains, and wildlife. It was during this time that I developed an eye to see beyond land, and I hope my style represents that vision.

When I traveled to the capital, San Juan, to visit my grandfather, I would spend hours in his dark room that he used to develop his work. I have good memories of those special days, watching my dad experimenting with new equipment and developing techniques. He also used me as a model for portraits. I believe these early childhood experiences offered me the inspiration to become a photographer.

Photography runs in my family; from my grandfather, who designed the photography curriculum for the University Of Puerto Rico, my father, a dedicated photographer, and now me. I’m studying photography in one of the oldest photography schools in America, The New York Institute of Photography. I have a passion for  photography, especially wildlife. As an outdoor guy, I love to capture nature and wildlife in its essence, as God created, so you can also enjoy it.

As for my styles, I consider myself an eclectic photographer. I love to experiment on each photo, letting my creativity loose to compose a frame. Some people say that my best photography styles are minimalist photography and portraiture. Some of my best photos are from simple things.

I find a great deal of personal satisfaction capturing those things we take for granted and overlook. I also love to photograph people, to capture their essence and allowing the soul to be exposed.

Capturing the person’s character is the most challenging task of a portraiture photographer. On another personal level, I love shooing portraits in black
and white.

I use a wide array of techniques, from black and white to HDR, falling in surrealism. I like capturing the beauty of morning dew on a leaf, a tiny speck of color on a dark background, shapes, and creating masterpieces.

What can you tell you that makes you unique from other photographers?

I am a firm believer that a good photo comes from the passion for simplicity and the composition of the frame that you create before one shoots. I always said that a good photographer is not measured by the equipment that he uses, but by the ability to compose a great picture from scratch.

As an old school photographer, I compose my pictures in my head, and then I shoot. I don’t depend on computer software to do that part, but to enhance what I just created.

I see beauty in the simplest things around me. I do not have to travel far, or visit famous places in order to create a photo worth a thousand words. In the eye of the beholder, my pictures capture the essence of the subject in my thoughts, and transfer the unimaginable to a real, visible canvas.

Thank you Richard for opening a lens into your world while offering an inspiration for those interested in pursuing photography and art.

For a closer look, you can view more of Shadowman’s artwork here:

Tracing the local art scene while encouraging individual and community involvement, I am
Racquel Cruz, Founder of Artists-Square

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