Over the past few years, I’ve been exposed to the work of many incredible photographers using luminosity masks for their work. One of the best is Brazilian photographer Jackson Carvalho. There are many photographers who excel in a particular niche of photography. Jackson is one of those unique artists who has mastered multiple domains. His gorgeous landscapes, dreamy composites, and fine art portraits are all awe inspiring. I can’t help but feel like I’m transported to a completely different place when I view his images. As a photographer who has worked across multiple domains, I can absolutely say that this is an amazing feat. Each subject requires different skills. Landscapes require scouting and knowledge of natural light and weather. Composites require a well-developed vision to see something that does not exist in the real world. Fine art portraiture requires the ability to interact with and bring forth emotion from your subject. And the post-processing skills required for each of these styles are just as varied and complex.
I interviewed Jackson to learn more about him as a photographer, what inspires him, and how he approaches his craft. Jackson also provided some before and after images to show the dramatic transformations he makes during post-processing using Lumenzia and Photoshop. I particularly enjoyed his perspective on how to draw inspiration from others, and yet remain unique as an artist: “The more you drink from different sources, the more the result will be your own, and the world will realize. Learn from everyone. Do not copy anyone.”
Please see the full interview below.
Me: How did you get into photography?
Jackson: I started shooting during childhood when I received a a disposable camera as a gift from my Aunt “Diva” and haven’t stopped since. I had always photographed as a hobby, until 2009, when I invested in my specialization. I studied photography in various international centers, including the ICP (International Center of Photography in New York), the IIF (International Photography Institute in São Paulo) and the Future London Academy in London. I learned from great masters of photography, among them Italians Settimio Benedducci and Danilo Russo, American Steve Hurt, and Australian Peter Coulson. Currently I divide my time between advertising and photography.
Me: Your art includes a wide range of topics: surreal night composites, long exposure black and white, fine art beauty, fashion and more. Which captivates you the most?
Jackson: I love photography. I specialize professionally in fashion and advertising photography, but I have a great passion for wildlife, urban landscape, architectural photography and fine art.
Me: Where do you find inspiration?
Jackson: I like to imagine, create and do different things. I like to plan my work. I always create a script for my locations to imagine the final frame. I study lenses and realize my shots with exposure adjusted so that every detail of the scene can be recorded. Thus with the information in a RAW file, I am able extract and richly exploit the detail for fine art editing.
Me: If you could photograph anyone or anywhere, what would be your dream photo shoot?
Jackson: I would love to shoot the big names of the fashion world. The fashion world is very restrictive and closed. In the region where I live, there are many clothing manufacturing companies. They are investing in the concept of fashion, but it is a slow process and the big names of the fashion world are still a distant reality. I would like to shoot model Coco Rocha in some medieval city in Italy.
Me: Who are your favorite photographers these days?
Jackson: I enjoy many works of renowned professional photographers, including Gui Paganini and Jacques Dequeker, both in fashion. But the most amazing of today’s photographers undoubtedly is the Brazilian Sebastiao Salgado. His career, use of lighting and images are simply amazing.
Me: How has your own work been received?
Jackson: I love to connect and interact with people through my work. I have received international awards and recognize and value what they have done to give my work worldwide exposure. Especially the Trieremberg Super Circuit, which is the largest hall in the world art photography held annually in Austria, where I won gold medal in 2014 and 2016. I was chosen as 2015 Photographer of the Year (Bronze) by the photographic community Eyeland One, which has more than 80,000 photographers enrolled worldwide. The Graphis Photography Annual in New York awarded me 1 Gold trophy and 2 Silver trophies this year. To be recognized among these great professional photographers is invaluable to me.
Me: Would you mind sharing a little about your processing and technique?
Jackson: The key for me is superior optical lenses. I use Canon equipment (EOS 5D S and R) and the Hasselblad H4D-40. I use prime lenses with both, which is important for the kind of results that I seek in photography.
Regarding my philosophy of post-processing for works of fine art (landscape, cityscape and artworks), I try to put into them that which is inside me, in my mind. In this way, I seek to create an artistic interpretation that can be shared from me with others. My techniques involve constant learning and development of skills that allow me to turn my way of thinking into images that can be seen, interpreted and materialized in prints that other people can contemplate with their own imaginative interpretation.
I seek to be a creator of images. I seek in my work an artistic bias. I put my view of the scene and subject into my work. I only use a few tools. Basically Photoshop CC with two panels that are complementary and powerful tools for the type of work I do. The first panel is Lumenzia, which provides me with precise control and generation of light in 16bit, which is fundamental in my workflow. The other panel is the Beauty Retouch panel from Retouching Academy.
Another critical element of my work is to keep an open mind to the world. Travel, observe, have the patience to evaluate, study and plan the final image. Knowing the scene that you see at the time you take the photograph is only the means to the end goal of your imagination. I am currently producing tutorial videos in which I will share step-by-step professional post-production techniques and will soon be available online.
Me: Anything you’d like to share?
Jackson: I try to be quite objective in everything I do. When I speak with young photographers, or those who praise my work and would like to do something similar, I always give the same suggestion, which is: study, study, study and study more. There is no other way. Watch and see the details of the work you admire and that you would like to develop. Learn the various techniques of several different areas of photography. Make a mixture of all this and put your look, your dash, your personality, your history, your pulse, the result is a work with your DNA. The more you drink from different sources, the more the result will be your own, and the world will realize. Learn from everyone. Do not copy anyone. So you will be different from all and equal only to you.