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photo.phile: daeja fallas

til dawn

after an unintended and lengthy pause, photo.phile has finally returned to brighten your monday! i am incredibly excited to feature kailua's daeja fallas whose work many of you may already recognize. after spending countless hours studying collections to find something new to share on h|h, i began to notice an undefinable loveliness in the debut look books of a handful of emerging hawaii designers who nixed simple product shots for an editorial style campaign.

the one common thread turned out to be daeja who has photographed local labels like sugarhigh + lovestoned to style section staple geren ford. her storylines invite the viewer into perfectly composed painterly flirtations, town and country adventures, and carefree seaside escapes savoring what appears to be a fleeting, but somehow always gorgeous, moment.

daeja's portfolio is a study in the many layers of fashion photography from glossy shoots to quiet b&w compositions, and, on occasion, out-of-focus images and raindrops on glass (which happen to be two of my photography crushes).

rainbow & raindrops

{photo.phile notes}

what inspired you to pick up a camera and start clicking?
i honestly don’t remember one specific thing that made me want to be a photographer or the day i started. i grew up in a family of artists, my grandmother is a local watercolor artist and my mother is an art teacher so art has always been a part of my life. i remember as a kid wanting everything i painted to look as real as possible. if tutu was teaching me how to paint a still life i wanted my painting to look EXACTLY like what was in front of me.

i think photography gave me the opportunity to make art exactly as i see it in front of me. the beauty of it is that everyone sees things differently; my photos are only one point of view. it is amazing to look at other photographers' work and to see something as they saw it.

photography muses that spark your imagination?
my all time favorite photographer is paolo roversi. his images are beautiful, mysterious and dream like. in an interview i read about him in PDN he said:

“for me, light is life – and the first light that i see is the sun. so when i think about light, i think about the sun and nothing else. window light is the most important light for me. when i take a picture using window light, i always think about what a long trip the light is making to reach my subject.”

when you look at his images you have the impression that the light has traveled for years to help him create the photo.

favorite island moment caught on "film"?
my work isn’t ever really “caught". i would not consider myself a photo journalist who is able to catch the beauty of the random moments of life like brassai or kertész. most of my work is staged. however, there are many natural moments within a staged photograph.

there is a photo in the series i titled “rainbow” of michelle vawer in a stunning diane von furstenberg dress. just before this shot, it was pouring and we were camped out on the porch of the house we were shooting at in pacific heights. my assistant remembered he’d left something on the lawn and ran out to grab it, when he got up there he yelled COME NOW! so we all ran from the house up to the lawn, michelle with her dress only half zipped up and the stylist zipping as we all ran . . . and there it was, a magical rainbow in this beyond beautiful setting. something like that only happens in hawaii.

any simple tricks to share on how to capture a gorgeous fashion photo?
ask the model to take her hands off her hips. unless the clothing has huge billowing sleeves or a waist where her hands will define something about the dress, the hands on the hips pose is one i sort of wish we’d all forget about.

which camera stays close by for everyday shooting?
no matter where i go i have a camera. i love my old canon AE1. i have to admit that although i have several digital cameras i generally take snap shots with my iphone!

pay it forward with the best photography advice shared with you:
pay attention to everything in your frame from the subject to the tiniest detail.

local delights that are a must in your beach picnic basket?
i am ecstatic that it is summer which means mango, papaya and avocado season!

mahalo daeja for sharing a peek behind your exceptionally lovely viewfinder!

you can follow daeja on her blog as she travels around the islands and world-at-large on assignment. she has also opened up shop on etsy where you find a small selection of photography prints for sale.

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