RESPECT, Perfect Timing Featuring Diwang Valdez
Iowa-born, bayou-raised photographer/director Diwang Valdez has made his career capturing the South. As one third of the Motion Family, the Atlantabased collective has cut videos with some of the scene’s hottest MCs and snapped the stills that tell 1,000 tales. With Motion Fam continuing its climb into the big-budget big leagues, Casio and RESPECT. caught up with Valdez to talk about how he spends his time.
When you’re on a shoot, where does your inspiration come from? I like to see what the artist is about, [so] I just dive into the music. Most of the time, I’m pretty familiar with the artist already, just from being a fan. If the artist has any ideas...it’s definitely a collaborative effort between the art director, the management, the artist and myself.
How long would you say it takes you to produce a finished project? It varies. The bigger jobs for the labels could take like a month or two. It could be a month or a week, you know? It depends on the size of the project.
Do you have a time of the day you like to work? I’m definitely a night dude. I like to edit at night. I like to shoot later on in the afternoon, right before the “golden hour.”
Do you ever worry about time when shooting? If I know there’s a time crunch, I’m not going to stress about it. I’m pretty used to doing last-minute shoots or having an artist not have a lot of time. I’ll shoot as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
When do you know you’ve nailed a shot? There’s that feeling you get when you’re shooting, when you’re really into it; it just comes together. I like using a lot of natural light or [a natural] shooting environment. Sometimes it’s the right window, just the way everything looks- you can immediately tell you’re going to love this shot. It’s a feeling.
What does it take to make something timeless? I think it’s the subject matter you’re shooting, and if it’s something you can relate to. I like to shoot some raw images. Sometimes you can’t even tell when it was shot. How do you create timeless images? That’s the goal. It’s just a goal. That’s what you strive for.