For Cris Molina, perhaps it was his mother’s call from Chile, letting him know that there was an ad in the Washington Post looking for a photographer what changed his life forever: from being a truck driver hauling Persian carpets, he ended up becoming a White House photographer and one of the most in demand celebrity photographers in the world.
Bill Clinton, Angelina Jolie, Michael Jackson, are just some of the names in the long list of celebrities photographed by Cris Molina, the 16-year-old who began his journey in commercial photography in the United States, and has lived in cities such as Washington, Buenos Aires, Istanbul (where he had an apartment in front of the Bosphorus) and ended up settling in Miami, where he exhibits his work as commercial art.
In this long journey throughout the world, working for Cosmopolitan, Fortune, Elle, Coca Cola, Architectural Digest, Marriott hotels, and for Hollywood stars such as Sylvester Stallone and Penélope Cruz, he always stood out for the sensuality emanating from his photos, which became his distinctive hallmark.
And so, almost without wanting to, he noticed that the dazzling colored works he was creating for his clients had a more artistic feel when printed in black and white. As a result, all of that material that was gathered throughout the years became part of a collection presented at Art Basel Miami 2018, entitled “Hyper Black and White.”
The collection, consists of more than 30 photos (with five copies each), printed on sheets of silver metal, with three-dimensional images, captured in acrylic paintings of up to 72 inches by 84 inches.
The installation was made in the atelier of the renowned Venezuelan fashion designer Ángel Sánchez and interior designer Christopher Coleman.
“Sanchez saw my picture of the pool and we decided we had to something together for Art Basel,” Molina tells azureazure.com, from his Miami gallery overlooking the sunny Bay of Biscayne. The photo he alludes to is one of the most popular in his collection. In the piece, you can see the young, sculpted bodies of men and women lying in the pool, enjoying the water and the sun, seemingly indifferent to real world concerns, without ever making eye contact with the camera. The idea is to “provoke and engage the public; I want you to imagine what is happening in the photo, based on the poses, the way the subjects are dressed and their body language.”
Although the exhibition was held during Art Basel, one of the most important art fairs in the world, Molina claims he wants to continue being a 100 per cent commercial artist who exhibits his black and white creations.
“It’s pretty simple, I love exploring human passion. When I see a passionate moment, I take a photo. Sometimes artists are too convoluted, I have a more straightforward approach.” he explains.
Throughout his career, that now spans more than three decades, he’s created unique pieces that highlight his passion for the sensuality of perfect bodies, an organic approach to the use of light and an ability to capture the essence of each fleeting moment.
Currently, he is working on advertising for the Renaissance hotel chain. But he want to be the photographer “of the one percent of the privileged elite of the world. My intention is to develop a luxury segment, generating visuals of everything related with privileged lifestyles,” he adds.
This line of work is inspired by requirements and demands made by his clients. “There are people who ask me to take a picture of their daughter as if it were a magazine spread in Vogue. Or a woman inspired by Angelina Jolie in an African desert. Or a man with his car collection.” But always with his personal touch of seduction and glamor.
Molina clarifies that his work is very far from photos that are published on social networks, such as Instagram, where people claim to create great works of art that are actually ephemeral and heavily retouched.
“My productions are made with light, they involve a lot of people, trucks with equipment, make-up artists, models. A photo can cost US $40,000.”
Certainly, Molina has found a niche in Miami where he claims, “nobody else does this.”
Cris Molina is Creative Director of The Photographer’s Gallery, where he offers photography and video services. For more information, visit www.crismolina.com, call 202-333-4344 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. ■