Recently we had the chance to sit down with photographer extraordinaire Tiffany Alonzo. Here’s how it all went down.
VcB: Tell the people of Vancouver a little bit about yourself?
Tiffany Alonzo: I’m a self-taught photographer and currently engaged to the love of my life, who is also my very best friend. Cheesy, but true.
I’m obsessed with Marilyn Monroe, NYC, animals, the 80’s, photography, painting, reading and writing. I’ve got to create something every day or my day seems wasted. Unless I’m spending the day at the beach.
VcB: You specialize in fashion and beauty. Any thoughts on branching out into lifestyle and other types of shoots?
Tiffany: I also do portraits for families, kids/babies, headshots and some commercial work but fashion and beauty are where the real creativity is. Lately I’ve really been into photographing people for my RAW Series, which is all about the person I’m shooting as them selves, dressed in their own personal style, without makeup. I also don’t retouch the people I photograph for the series. I personally don’t like photographing someone and retouching them from head to toe, however, in the fashion industry retouching is needed as photos represent a certain vision and promotes a fantasy world where legs run longer than highways. I enjoy not retouching the people in my RAW Series so that the end result shows the true person, so they can look at that photo and see them selves for who they are, not an edited version.
VcB: I’m interested to see some of the photos from the RAW series. Moving along, what led you to become a photographer, how long have you been a photographer and at what point did this become serious?
Tiffany: I’ve always wanted to be a photographer since elementary school but never thought it would be a reality. I began carrying a camera with me in the fifth grade, just taking pictures of friends. That continued throughout elementary, junior high and high school. When I was around thirteen I would tape ads from Calvin Klein and United Colors of Benetton on my walls because I loved how simple yet strong the images were. Through my love of Marilyn Monroe, I discovered amazing photographers she had worked with, like Eve Arnold and Richard Avedon, who is my inspiration. I started modeling in 2005 and the more I modeled, the more I wanted to be behind the lens. One day, my fiancé asked me what it was I really wanted in life and to just go for it, so I did. If it weren’t for his support, I don’t think I would’ve taken that step. I’ve never had any formal training or assisted another photographer, it was all trial and error. My first shoot was with Sisi Wang of Canada’s Next Top Model, which was in August 2006. Four years later I’m still behind the lens and loving it! I think I became serious about photography from the day of my first shoot. I realized it was something I’ve always wanted and now was my chance to live it. My only regret is not starting earlier in my life but it goes to show that it’s never too late to be who you may have been.
VcB: If there was one person, place or thing you could photograph who or what would it be?
Tiffany: If I had a time machine, I’d go back to 1955 in NYC and photograph Marilyn Monroe, of course. We’d trek around the city and I’d tell her to be herself and ignore the camera, photographing her as a regular New Yorker and not a glamorous sex symbol. I love vintage movies and vintage Hollywood, so to be able to photograph Elizabeth Taylor, Lauren Bacall or Eli Wallach would be amazing to me. Especially to hear stories from Hollywood’s “Golden Era”. They’re all alive, so at least there’s somewhat of a chance, haha!
I’d also love the chance to work with Victoria Beckham and Rihanna. Both have great personal styles so I wouldn’t even need a stylist on set. As for models, Coco Rocha and Agyness Deyn are currently at the top of my list. Another model I’d love to photograph is Stacey McKenzie, who has such a unique look. I would also love to photograph Paul Rudd because of my schoolyard crush. Oh and Taylor Lautner because he’s legal now.
VcB: What has been your best photography experience thus far?
Tiffany: One great experience has been meeting so many different people through my profession that I would never have met otherwise. I still work with some of the same people from my very first photo shoots and they are a part of my experience and journey as a photographer. I’d have to say the best experience of all is being able to say that my passion is my job. I absolutely love photography and to have it be a major part of my life is a blessing that I’m very thankful for.
Thank you Tiffany for chatting with us, readers check out some of her work below and also check out these links: