The View hooked up with Armando Branco, a Dutch-based photographer and founding owner of FIC, a male exclusive model agency. He shares about his youth, how he got into the business, and what he thinks of moodboards.
TV: Tell us a bit about you.
AB: Always a nice question. So I am Armando Branco, born in ’77, raised in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and a professional photographer for 15 years now. Since a young age I have spent hours on top of a piece of paper, and could literally and figuratively lose days with sketching. At age 12, I told the school newspaper that I will eventually become a photographer, so I can lens famous and beautiful people. At 15 started to take the camera seriously as a tool, and two years later I applied and got in art school.
TV: Have you always wanted to work with visuals? How did you rolled into it?
AB: In my early youth I drawed and sketched a lot, and for some reason, suddenly decided to sketch portraits at some point. I would cut out pictures of beautiful people from magazines and tried to draw them to my best ability. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I realised I was more interested in the original picture than the drawing. Photography became the end-goal instead of the start.
TV: What are typical characteristics of images shot by you? What makes them stand out?
AB: Saying that my work stands out from all the visual jungle that we have today, would be wrong and boast. Everything has already been done, the creative or photographic wheel can hardly be re-discovered. I hope my work is seen of having a richness of layers, other than only it being a visual. Obviously, I am aware that my work will not yield world peace or a medicine for cancer. My area of craft is very relative and accessible.
TV: Can you tell a bit about your workflow? How do you go about an assignment? Do you research the client/brand, make moodboards, etc?
AB: Moodboards are authenticity killers to me. Although everything has already been done, I don’t wish to be hired by a team or client, to simply work as a copier. Of course, I understand that certain other people like stylists, makeup artists and clients, like to have a visual that can help them, but in all my career I have used moodboards sparingly to none. I don’t find it sufficiently interesting to share about how I pull clients or what my workflow looks like.
TV: What would you say are the biggest misconceptions people have about photographers, specifically dealing with a client?
AB: That we work for peanuts. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Some people don’t understand our daily tariff, and forget that we don’t collect a pension, don’t have a 13th month of extra salary, don’t have paid leave, and pay a lot of tax and insurances.
TV: You also have a model agency, exclusively focusing on men. Why men?
AB: Men inspire me. Of course, I also like working with women as a photographer, but guiding female models is much more complex than male models. Lots of young girls need to work on their body despite having size 34 already. It’s tough to tell a 15-year old that she is a bit too heavy for modelling. I have less issues by telling a boy to go to the gym.
TV: Can you share about how you develop your talent?
AB: Keep inspiring and stimulating yourself, get out of the comfort-zone. Do some projects with a new team to keep yourself fresh. Amaze yourself, be and remain your own critique. Never settle for less.
TV: Any exciting things we can expect from you in 2015?
AB: Due to circumstances, I live my days one at the time. In my view, every big or small production is great news. I don’t have my mind occupy thoughts of conquering 2015, this year is just like any other, the path I have walked for years. So I don’t have any scoops or news.
TV: Thanks Armando!
This interview has been translated from Dutch.