DANIELA JUNKO: INTERNATIONAL ACTRESS FOR A GLOBAL AUDIENCE

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Actress Daniela Junko at the Madrid International Film Festival for her film “Alone”

With her exotic looks, fighting skills and ability to speak several languages, Daniela Junko is an embodiment of intertwining cultures. With her recent leading turn in the film “Alone,” which screened at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, Daniela is not only a multicultural individual, but a global storyteller capable of connecting with audiences regardless of origin.

Daniela tells us more about playing the lead role of Ella in “Alone,” a story about Ella’s depression and a young couple who appears to have the perfect life. “The movie gives us the insight of their life. Although Ella is a beautiful model, with the perfect social media life…in reality she is deeply depressed.” Elaborating on the relationship component, Daniela explains that “Gabriel does his best to help her. She does not enjoy life anymore. Can’t leave her bed, does not want to be sociable, despite Gabriel’s attempt to help her, nothing works…[she] can’t leave her bed.”

Without giving too much away, Ella deals with a tragedy, a storyline that gave Daniela an important opportunity to show off her impressive emotional depth. It didn’t hurt that Daniela was working opposite Swell Soubra, who played Gabriel. Soubra, known for his work in the hugely successful TNT drama “The Last Ship,” gave Daniela a phenomenal chance to bring truth to an important story with a fellow foreign actor also at the top of his game.

“Alone” director Angelo Perrino, known for directing “How I Met Your Mother” actor Doug Heiar and Jose Rosete from “The Walking Dead: Red Machete” in “Dirty Spaghetti,” also gave expert guidance that clearly paid off and ensured the film would be received well by audiences. Daniela recounts, “I was amazed with the responses I got from my peers, and everyone we show it to. I can honestly say, either they like it or not, it brought everyone to tears, it had such an impact. I did not expect myself.”

The enthusiastic response to the film wasn’t the only cause for excitement, as being accepted to screen at the Cannes Film Festival and Beverly Hills Film Festival was yet another reason for the filmmakers to bask in the glory of a job well done. Rather humbly, but also in an indication of how she owns her tremendous success, Daniela recalls screening at the Madrid Film Festival where she was nominated for Best Actress, by saying, “It still sounds surreal to me.”

Of course, Daniela is no stranger to appearing in lead roles at exclusive and internationally renowned festivals. Daniela gave a powerful performance in the leading role of Charlotte in the film “Three Kings Down,” which was featured at the New York Audience Now festival and the MIA Film Festival (Mostra Internacional Da Amazonia), and reached millions of viewers worldwide via #TOFF (The Online Film Festival).

It’s no surprise though that the project was received so well by such prestigious organisations, as it presented an interesting take on the film noir genre by showcasing Daniela playing a female hero who manipulates card players in Vegas to help herself get ahead, and challenging a mafia boss in the process. Reinforcing her reputation as an actress who lifts the game of those around her, but also as one who only works with the best in the business, Daniela starred opposite Alen Matters (known for his recurring appearances on “Jimmy Kimmel Live”) in the homage to notorious femme fatale characters.

Daniela Junko clearly proves herself as an actress functioning as a leader in the industry – not only through her critically acclaimed performances in terrific projects, but because she is a performer who can represent various cultures from around the world, and access emotions that resonate with viewers in every corner of the globe

 

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Alice Esposito reminds us it’s never too late to change your mark on the world

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Poster for Alice Esposito’s work with Vincenzo Castella

In today’s day in age, it is nearly impossible to envision a world without photography. Picture yourself walking down the street toward the supermarket, only imagine a lack of billboards, advertisements in store windows, and posters on the walls. What would magazines look like? Or film and CD covers? How would we capture perfect moments in time? Photography is a universal language, spoken and understood by people from all different walks of life. It speaks to our eyes, but more deeply, to our souls. It is an undying profession and as technology advances, we are increasingly able to see the world through millions of different lenses. It is an exciting time to be a photographer and for artists like Alice Esposito, it only heightens a passion that has been embedded within her from the time she was a child. For Esposito, photography is both a skill and a hobby, but above all else, it is a job that she has enjoyed building into a career.

“For the kind of photography that I do, it is essential for me to travel, to meet new people, and to learn new cultures. It is something that I truly love to do and the way photography connects me with people all over the world is something rare and beautiful. The potential to tell stories in countless different ways is magical,” tells Esposito.

Esposito has differentiated herself from her competition by more than just sheer talent. She has developed a way to combine her photography skillset with her interest in filmmaking in such a way that gives her a unique edge and understanding of her industry. Her filmmaking skills have earned her several prestigious jobs across the world. For instance, Esposito worked as a photographer and videographer from 2009 to 2011 in Italy and was tasked with filming for multiple different events, conferences and Exhibit Shows. Later on in 2011, she landed herself a job as Vincenzo Castella’s photographer and personal assistant, where she experimented with different cameras and set ups to bring Castella’s photography to a different level. Whenever she was tasked with one of his projects, Esposito would heavily research the concepts, study any and all appropriate mediums, and determine how best to showcase his visions. She is a trusted talent and has an unprecedented ability to capture the ideas of her clients or employers flawlessly.

In 2011, following a conversation with a colleague, Esposito was inspired to tell her own, original, compelling story to the world via stop motion animation. She was excited about the opportunity to explore stop motion animation, as it was the first time she had worked with it. The video short that she created, called Thend, tells the story of a man who occupies a city but consequently becomes occupied by it. The story presents the idea that human beings often forget that when they invade the earth like a virus, they eventually find that the earth, or in this case, the city, ends up infecting and assailing man. Essentially, the story is a reminder for people everywhere to be mindful of the consequences of destroying the earth out of personal interest. Esposito and her team aimed to remind people to think about the repercussions of their actions and to be careful where they step, what they do, and ultimately, of the legacy they will leave behind.

For Esposito, the joy of creating Thend, in collaboration with Carlotta Roda, was based on the ability to both explore her storytelling abilities, as well as to dive deeper into the art form that she lives and breathes for. She took a lead role on the production, leaving herself in charge of the visual style that was to be achieved, the choice of equipment, the set locations, and more. Her natural affinity for photography and videography allowed her to see the project from a unique angle and to bring it the level of quality that the premise and script demanded. In the end, Esposito could have never anticipated the wide-range success that the short would receive. Upon releasing Thend, it was selected for a special screening event called Cronachedi Fotogradia in Verona. It was subsequently screened on the show VideoSoup at Artist’s Television Access in San Francisco in 2011 and was later shown at SiFest 2014 Urban Space Garden.

“The success of the film came as a surprise at first. It started out as something that was supposed to be a fun way to collaborate with other colleagues. When it became a success, I was honored. I loved seeing the way it was received and knowing that I took a risk in showing something new and different but that it paid off big time. It made people think and I enjoyed answering questions about the process of creating it. It was humbling to hear their thoughts and interpretations as well,” says Esposito.

For Esposito, creating Thend presented a series of unforeseen challenges that she is fortunate to have encountered. Every set back and obstacle allowed her to build and refine her skill set and provided her with a series of opportunities to learn new things about her artistry. The reality of working with stop motion is that it is precise and any minor mistake can create a large impact on the final result. The project required a very diligent, detail oriented artist like Esposito and the final result of Thend was a reminder that all of the hard work, time, and dedication that she put into its final production was more than worth it.

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Alice Esposito and Stella Tinucci on set, photo by Nilangana Banerjee

Today, Esposito continues to use her exceptional skills to show the world how powerful photography and videography truly are. She is currently working on creating her own, independent production company and with that, she has some short films moving their way through the editing process. In addition, alongside Director and Producer, Stella Tinucci, Esposito is collaborating on a television pilot called Surreal Estates. The show has been successfully crowdfunded and Tinucci attributes a large part of this success to Esposito’s prowess as a filmmaker.

“Alice’s efficiency, combined with her warmth, add to her talents and knowledge of her craft. She has a very keen eye and she cares about details. This attention to detail, coupled with her professionalism, make her a pleasure to work with. She is also a strong communicator, which is key in this industry. She will do great things,” concludes Tinucci.

Watch Esposito’s astounding work in Thend here.

Top photo by Claudia Caldara

Art Director Hanna Petersson creates visual spectacle for Samsung

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Hanna Petersson

When Hanna Petersson sits down at her desk, ready to take on a new art project, she doesn’t simply decide what looks good. As an art director, an appealing design is only a small aspect of what makes her work extraordinary. She has to design everything with her client in mind, thinking of end goals and the brand’s message. It is much more than artistry, it is intelligence and savvy, and Petersson embodies all of those things. She is an extremely in demand art director, working with some of the world’s largest companies, and she has no plans on slowing down.

Throughout her esteemed career, Petersson’s artwork has created dynamic advertisements for large brands, most recently Häagen-Dazs, Canon, Pringles, and T.J. Maxx. Her talent has earned her the reputation as one of Sweden’s best art directors; she is known for her creative imagery, and her artwork captivates. Millions across the globe have seen her work and may not have even known it. This is exemplified when she took on a project for Samsung, one of the largest and most well-known companies in the world. Working with WorkShop in Stockholm, Petersson took on the visual development and concept illustrations for the Samsung retail experience, called Experience Zone, which was a three-month installation at the three largest train stations in Sweden; Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo. She worked on the concept development of these pop ups and also created imagery used in the pop up to drive foot traffic. The Experience Zones attracted more than 200,000 people that came to look at the new Samsung products and interact with them.

“Samsung is one of the leading technology companies in the world, because they are not afraid to test things that have never been done before and they really embrace innovation to bring their brand and products further. They are a joy to work with because they understand that in order to really create the best experiences with their products, they need to trust in the creatives who work on developing campaigns and promotions for them. This makes for a great client-creative relationship, which is a good recipe for success,” said Petersson.

Initially, Samsung was looking for a way to promote their new products for the Christmas season, and wanted to target the three largest cities in Sweden. When reaching out to WorkShop, a Swedish company that specializes in branding and marketing for large companies, WorkShop knew Petersson was the right person for the job. She and her team immediately began coming up with a wide range of ideas that involved different ways of creating activations around the products. During this whole process, Petersson would bring ideas and also add conceptual sketches that she would then show to Samsung. She would describe the ideas and to get approval by the client to continue with a certain direction of the ideas, and then she started producing a physical space that would be inviting to a passerby, causing them to engage with the Samsung products that would be on display.

“When the creative agency I worked at was going to start this project, I was a part of the concepting team who came up with what the project was going to look like and how it would be possible to execute. The work was a lot of fun and I got a chance to experiment with new ideas and to bring innovative solutions to the table. The project was a great opportunity to really see a project from start to finish and I wanted to be a part of that journey and to make sure that I did everything in my power to make the project as great as possible,” Petersson described.

When Samsung approached WorkShop about the project, they knew they wanted the best team possible to help promote their brand. At the time, Petersson had already worked on a number of projects at the agency, constantly impressing those she worked alongside with her talent for concepting and coming up with innovative ideas even under a tight deadline. When building the Samsung team, Workshop knew Petersson could not only bring great suggestions to the project but also that she is a joy to work with. She also had a skill for putting down concepts and ideas on paper as sketches and illustrations showing exactly what she and the other creatives were imagining, so they knew that she would be a very useful asset to have on the team from day one.

In the end, Petersson’s contributions to the Samsung Experience project were essential to its success. She came up with different activations, ideas and designs for the final product. She consistently had innovative ideas and also produced conceptual illustrations for the ideas showing designs and potential activations. These sketches were used to sell the ideas to Samsung and to make them a reality, by being the guidelines for how the pop up location was built and designed. As the project went live, Petersson also helped with creating new events and designs for the pop up locations, which helped to further bring more people into the Samsung space and to increase sales by making more people try out the products and engage with them in a creative and fun way. This drive once again impressed all she worked with.

“Hanna has worked with several of WorkShop’s clients, including Swedish Match, Samsung and Apoteksgruppen. For Samsung, she participated in the creative process of developing a setup for a pop-up concept that was later realized at the central stations in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo,” said Helena Hammar, Head of Projects & Consulting at WorkShop when Petersson was working with the company. “Hanna was a very valued employee and is solution-oriented, tremendously good at sketching, and has an ability to adapt to the missions at the same time as she has a personal creative expression. Her willingness and ability to take responsibility and to constantly evolve makes her very versatile and strong as a creative.”

Beyond colleagues, Samsung was extremely satisfied with Petersson’s work. Not only did she help increase their sales, she helped engage customers and the model was then carried to other countries. Petersson then worked on another project for Samsung, creating illustrations for maps that were used to engage visitors in different stations during the Winter Olympics. Evidently, Petersson is truly an exceptional art director, and she loves every minute of what she does.

“There was so much to enjoy from working with Samsung. Not only did I get to try out new ideas and see them become reality, but I also got a chance to work with some really nice collaborators and to work together to ensure the best possible end product. I very much enjoyed seeing a project through from first day until the end and all the work that went into making it a reality. It was a lot of hard work but it was all worth it and seeing different ideas going from a sketch on a paper to a produced design or activation was incredible. It was really proof of how an innovative idea that I came up with can become reality and actually create value for people and for Samsung,” she concluded.

 

Marysia Peres on using her talents to make the world a better place

A common misconception about the modeling industry stems from the idea that models who are born “tall and skinny” have their careers handed to them. What these critics underestimate, however, is the grueling, cutthroat nature of the industry. The competition is fierce and opportunities are often scarce. For this reason, models have to work harder than most to build their careers and to ensure that they keep themselves fresh and ready for whatever is ahead of them. Oftentimes, this involves exercising, training, networking, and more. For many models, the obstacles and challenges become too much for them to persevere. For models like Marysia Peres, however, these obstacles and challenges are merely the fuel that push her to continue doing what she loves to do and to remain at the top of her field.

“The biggest challenge is the competitiveness of the industry. Casting sessions in big cities can be quite intimidating, with hundreds of girls auditioning for the same job. Everything from your portfolio to your personality can play a role, but ultimately, you have no control over a client’s decision making and I find it extremely important to understand that. I believe in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, working out, being curious and proactive, and most importantly, remaining true to myself, my unique character, and my style,” told Peres.

Peres learned how to pose for photographs from an early age, working the camera for her mother. As she grew up, she became increasingly intrigued by the unique career opportunities that modeling offers. Not only would she get to work amongst some of the most talented individuals in the fashion industry, but she would also get to travel the world in order to do what she loves. As a travel and fashion enthusiast, Peres couldn’t think of a more fitting job for her to work toward. Flash-forward to today, Peres has established a successful modeling career and continues to strive to improve herself in order to take on bigger, better roles. As a model, she does photo shoots for magazines, for fashion catalogues, and for other advertising campaigns. She also performs in fashion shows, as well as special art and fashion projects.

Not only is Peres a fashion and travel enthusiast, she is also a firm believer in philanthropy. She is an advocate for building a self-sufficient lifestyle wherever possible and lending help to others who aren’t as fortunate to do so. She finds personal value in the knowledge that with her career in fashion, she is able to merge her charitable intentions with her natural talents. Throughout her time as a model, she has committed herself to keeping true to her moral compass and with that, she has participated in a number of charity fashion shows. Most recently, Peres lent her modeling expertise to a charity fashion indicative called “Project Mother.” The project, spearheaded by the highly influential German photographer Laura Helena Rubahn, aims to raise awareness about nature preservation through a series of breathtaking photographs taken around the world. The proceeds from the project are to be directed to a nature protection and preservation fund and Peres was humbled to be able to help place a spotlight on this important, worldwide issue.

When Peres isn’t embarking upon a philanthropic journey, she is continuing to train herself and seek out opportunities to expand her experience and skill set. Throughout her career, she has modeled for a number of well-known fashion brands such as Kuraudia, Le Moir, and Key Wear. In fact, some of her most memorable modeling jobs occurred when she worked for agencies in Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Over the past few years, however, Peres has been modeling and acting in Europe where she has shot several editorials and runway shows. Her latest editorial work includes cover shoots for Vamp Magazine and Hilton Malta Magazine. In addition, spanning beyond editorial and runway work, Peres is also known commercial personality having shot a commercial print for Vodafone in 2016, as well as a video commercial for Radley London. Her skill, energy, and professionalism make her an asset to any modeling shoot and she is known for being a pleasure to work with. Even for her fellow models, Peres acts as an inspiration and a reminder that no matter how talented someone may be, there is always room to remain kind and humble. Marina Plotnikova has modeled alongside Peres on multiple occasions and understands why Peres has the reputation she has better than most.

“Marysia is always very responsible but more importantly, she remains positive no matter what the circumstances are. During shows, she is always happily involved in all of the activities. Most of all, she motivates the people around her by setting a good example. As a model with vast experience in the industry, she is always eager to help others. She is a joy to work with,” Plotnikova said.

When Peres sets her sights on a goal, she will stop at nothing in order to achieve it. She sheds her own blood, sweat, and tears in order to be able to sleep soundly at night knowing that she has brought her best possible performance to every task she sets out to do. Fortunately, the result comes with widespread recognition and at times, even awards. For instance, Peres’ talents were recognized sufficiently in June 2014 when Starcentral Magazine dubbed her Sexiest Woman of the Month. For Peres, this title was simply a testament to the fact that hard work pays off and that she can accomplish anything she sets her mind to with the right type of drive behind it. She is an inspiration to her fellow models and hopes to be able to bring even more prestigious titles to her resume as she continues along her career.

If Peres could offer any advice to young, aspiring models, she would tell them this: “It is a tough industry that requires a lot of confidence and hard work. You have to be not only be healthy, fit, and photogenic, but you also have to be communicative, easy to work with, and resilient. There will be several reasons why you either do or do not get a job, and those reasons shouldn’t give you an ego or make you miserable. Just remain true to yourself and remember that beauty always comes from within.”

Be sure to follow Peres’ modelling career on her website.

 

Photo by AJ Singh

AWARD-WINNING CINEMATOGRAPHER DEPICTS A WAR TORN FAMILY IN “LAST CALL”

Cinematographer Ruixi Gao can’t help herself sometimes, she is overwhelmed with ideas. This is the blessing and the curse of possessing a creative personality. It’s incredibly difficult to make a film so when you do, you want someone talented and driven like Ruixi to be among those enabling you to manifest your vision. This was the mindset of Zhipeng Xing, director of “Last Call” when he approached Gao to be the DP for this film. After receiving the script from Xing, Ruixi recalls, “I sat down and read it immediately. I think it is instinctual for many cinematographers, it most certainly is for me. I could see the scenes inside my mind as I read. The whole picture played out for me. I understood the lighting & the perspective of the camera in relation to the action. It’s exciting when you read a script for the first time and the film is playing in your head; I wish the audience could see it so quickly. That’s part of what motivates me as a DP; I see this wonderful movie and the desire is to bring that to life for others to witness.” Besides her obvious passion, Ruixi brings years of experience and talent to every production she is on. An emotional film like “Last Call” requires every bit of her sensitivity and expertise.

The relationship between Director and DP is commonly accepted as one of the closest working relationships in film. Each director has their own process and the cinematographer must be flexible to this to help said director achieve their vision for the story being told. “Last Call” director Zhipeng Xing prefers to focus on the actors instead of fixating on the framing of the scene in the lens. Rather than a shirking of responsibility, this was a result of Xing’s trust in Gao’s abilities and talent. This allowed Ruixi to communicate extensively with her team. Working with her Gaffer and Key Grip to establish the lighting plan, and framing with the PD, the effort was highly collaborative. Her plan used soft filters for imaging effects and a low-key style with warm and cool tones to control different emotions between war and home.

This story depicts war and its effect on family. The father and son are separated from the mother (& wife) who is still in war torn Iraq. They communicate via letters and a weekly Facetime. After one of the weekly family Facetime talks, the father is speaking with the mother after their son has gone to bed. Disturbing noises are heard and the signal is lost. A week goes by with no word from the family’s beloved wife/mother and they fear the worst. Unable to sleep from worry, on the morning of the son’s birthday, the husband hears a knock at the door. It could be the mother or a government official to announce her unfortunate death. The filmmakers do not reveal the answer, leaving it up to the viewer to decide what they think happened. The purpose of telling this tale is not to resolve it either way but rather for the viewer to contemplate the effect of war on real people with families. In the last scene, prior to the knock, the father receives a letter from his wife in which she states that she won’t make it to see them for their son’s birthday.  When the father reads this letter it’s impossible to not feel the pain of being separated by these circumstances. War is cruel, it makes people ache; it’s also what makes this film work and have such impact.

Ruixi was awarded two best cinematography award for this film: Best Cinematography Platinum Award WINNER at the LA Shorts Awards & Best Cinematography Gold Award WINNER at the NYC Indie Film Awards (the film also received multiple other awards at these festivals). Gao’s passionate disdain for war and its malevolent effect on people in many parts of the world moved her to dig deep in her abilities for “Last Call.” Edwin Beckenbach worked with Ruixi on the film and professes, “Ruixi brings with her the experience of an international woman to a domestic industry that has traditionally been dominated by men and is not known for inclusivity or diversity. Film as art is a powerful generator and amplifier of cultural values and perspectives and as such the addition of underrepresented voices, especially those as promising as Ruixi’s, can entertain as well contribute to the benefit of society overall. In an industry where many people place their image before their abilities and ‘fake it until they make it’, Ruixi is authentic to a fault and is singularly focused on the artistic and technical challenges of the job at hand. Her dedication to her craft and clarity of vision is a unifying motivator for the camera and lighting crew to perform to the best of its ability.”

For many viewers of the film the most heart-wrenching aspect of the story is the young boy’s difficulty in being separated from his mother. With the understanding that this character would have be both a catalyst and proxy for the audience, Gao took extra preparations including reading psychology books on working with young professionals and preparing props with stickers and colored tape to make them more enjoyable. Far from being the task of a normal DP, this type of approach in working with a young actor is indicative of Ruixi’s overall pattern of professionalism. By creating a positive and friendly atmosphere in a variety of ways she is able to get the best performance from everyone and thereby get the best shots with the camera, to say nothing of coming in ahead of schedule. While some prefer to stay in their “own world” Ruixi Gao feels that the images she wants to create allow us to see through the eyes and emotions of others, which is what “Last Call” is all about.

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Following a Dream: Indian Photographer Akshay Kandi

As adults many of us, at least on occasion, put our passions and dreams on the back burner when it comes to pursuing our professional careers and opt for jobs that appear the most beneficial for our bank account. Luckily though, just because we chose a career at one point in our life it doesn’t mean we have to stick it out forever if it doesn’t make us happy. For many people this change can be an intimidating decision, but many have done it and most will tell you that while it took a leap of faith, the reward was worth it. One courageous individual who chose to leave his former career behind and pursue a path fueled by his passion is Indian photographer Akshay Kandi.

“I have a bachelors in computer science,” explained Akshay. “But later when my brother brought me a camera I started clicking. It was a hobby, but it became serious in my life and I take it seriously as my profession.”

Once Akshay made the definitive choice six years ago to divert his path away from computer science and devote himself fully to his work as a photographer, doors began to open and international success quickly followed. In the early stages of his career Akshay apprenticed for well-known Indian photographers such as Badri Narayan and Bharat Bhirangi, which helped him hone his craft, and later served as the lead photographer for Kamal Kiran Photography.

As Akshay’s personal body of work as a photographer grew audiences and magazines quickly began taking note and in 2012 one of his stunning images was included in Better Photography Magazine, which is not only one of the leading photography magazines in all of South Asia, but it is the No. 1 photography magazine in India. A huge accomplishment for Akshay at the time, having one of his images featured in the industry’s leading magazine definitely helped showcase his talent to future clients and the public at large.

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Photo by Akshay Kandi featured in Better Photography Magazine

From shooting collections for renowned Indian fashion designer Archana Rao, who is frequently featured in Vogue and won the prestigious Vogue India Fashion Fund Award, to product shots for Cleanse High, one of India’s leading juice detox programs, Akshay has since been tapped by an impressive range of high profile clientele to capture the images that sell their products.

“It feels exciting and I’m so happy,” said Akshay. “I don’t want to say that I’m lucky but I will say one thing that this has shown me is hard work pays off.”

Considering that a quick glance at an image holds the power to generate interest in a brand to a potential customer, the competition between the photographers a brand chooses to shoot their product is high; and the fact that so many have selected Akshay to capture their products says a lot about his talent and the aesthetic appeal of the images he creates.

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Frau Frau Clothing by Archana Rao shot by Akshay Kandi

In 2015 Akshay shot a series of images for Archana Rao’s label Frou Frou, which were used to market the label to the public, meaning Akshay’s shots made it into several magazines, in addition to being featured on the brand’s social media outlets. Akshay’s shots brilliantly captured the modern, upscale personality of the brand while drawing attention to the feminine essence of the collection in a way that appealed to the taste of Frau Frau shoppers. His expertise in lighting was an integral asset for this shoot in particular, especially when it came to capturing the clean, white glow of the clothing, such as the blouse featured above.  

His unique way of setting the stage in order to make the products he shoots stand out to viewers has been a huge draw for many of the companies that have continued to hire him over the years– something that can easily be seen in the images he created for Cleanse High, which were featured in WOW! Hyderabad Magazine.

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Cleanse High juice shit by Akshay Kandi

Photographer Akshay Kandi
Some of the other major clients Akshay has shot for over the years include luxury leather shoe brand VAPH, Vellanki Foods, an Indian food company that has stores across the U.S. and India, and most recently A.K.A designs, which designs helmets for the U.S. Navy, and many more.

Aside from his exceptional creativity behind the lens and seasoned skill when it comes to setting up each shot in a way that accentuates the subject, one of Akshay’s unique strengths is his versatility. His ability to tune into the vibe of the client, whether it be a clothing brand or food manufacturer, and represent that in his images have made him a strong force in the industry. This was incredibly important for his shoot for the U.S. Navy helmets designed by A.K.A Designs, for which Akshay travelled out of the studio and into the elements in order to find the perfect location to showcase the product.

Photographer Akshay Kandi
Images for A.K.A Designs shot by Akshay Kandi

“I wanted to show a rugged look in the pictures, because these products will be used by Navy officers. We needed to have a realistic look in the pictures, so we went uphill where there were rocks and the ground was full of sand,” explained Akshay. “And after the hard work we got some amazing pictures.”

In addition to being sought after to photograph products for brands across the globe, Akshay has also tapped into the world of on-set photography, making a name for himself with his work shooting promotional and BTS photos on the set of films such as Manikandan Mathivanan dramatic film “Fated” and Alessandra Romano’s “HER- Levels of Love.”

As with any creative career, since he first began Akshay Kandi’s photography has evolved in a myriad of ways, especially in terms of inspiration and the subjects he chooses to focus on.

“Now a days I’m concentrating on portraits and fashion, I’m trying to come out of my comfort zone and take up new challenges,” said Akshay. “I keep traveling to different places and looking at different people and trying to feel the emotions on their face. It gets more interesting clicking their portraits and trying to create some kind of story. Sometimes I feel very shy to go and click their portraits but I push myself to get that one amazing portrait, because once you lose it it never comes back.”

Photographer Akshay Kandi
“Allegory” by Akshay Kandi

 

Multi-talented Actor Swell Soubra Knows How to Make a Film Shine

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Actor Swell Soubra at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival with the film “Alone”

The creativity and vulnerability of the actors in a film are tantamount to bringing a story to life on screen and drawing us in as an audience. Transforming words and creating a life to a character by incarnating them truthfully isn’t given to just any talent. The artistry of Swell Soubra as an actor is one of those rare talents that any director would just wish to cast in his film.  

Originally from Geneva, Switzerland Swell Soubra has become known for his performances in a vast array of films such as Frank Lopez’s (“Last Train Out”) “Three Kings Down,” Sam Macaroni’s (“Knight Rider 2016”) “Hunting Games,” Tekin Girgin’s (“Wash Away My Sin”) “The Incision,” Matt Hewes’ (“Grace Everlasting”) “I Am Tommy Talbot” and more. Soubra also turned heads recently with his critical performance in the premiere of season 4 of TNT’s hit series “The Last Ship,” which also stars Image Award nominee Charles Parnell from the film “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

Last year Swell left a memorable mark on audiences with his starring performance as Gabriel in the poignant dramatic film “Alone.” Directed by Angelo Perrino (“Dirty Spaghetti,” “The Effect,” Lost Samurai”) “Alone” follows Swell’s character Gabriel and his girlfriend Ella, who’s played by Daniela Junko from the 2016 thriller film “Rough Mix,” a young couple trying to deal with the debilitating effects of chronic depression. When Ella is no longer able to get out of bed and the whole world seems as if it’s falling apart, Gabriel goes to great lengths to try and understand her condition and give her the support she needs– even it means ignoring his own demons.

Swell Soubra
Actor Swell Soubra at the Madrid International Film Festival with the film “Alone”

“Emphasizing the truth about depression was very important to me, because many people tend to push away individuals who are depressed and marginalize them as being lazy or always tired,” Swell explains. “My aim was to unfold the truth of that condition and ease its acceptance in society.”

And that is exactly what he did as the lead actor in the film.

“Alone” director Angelo Perrino says, “‘Discipline,’ I think that’s what describes Swell best. He will get you where you planned and bad surprises will be out of your way. Moreover, him being a former banker, he has a lot of contacts to invest in projects he believes in. And that is such a valuable asset to have on your side especially in the film industry.”

“Alone” did astonishingly well on the film festival circuit, being chosen as an Official Selection of the Madrid International Film Festival, IFS Beverly Hills Film Festival and screening at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. The film won an award at the Madrid International Film Festival.

While Swell gives an emotionally raw and heart felt performance in the recently released film “Alone,” his role as Pierre in the 2014 dramatic crime film “The Incision” is the polar opposite– but it is one that provides incredible insight into his diverse talent as an actor. Bringing to the screen the chilling story of Pierre, a high profile entrepreneur who will stop at nothing in order to expand his organ trafficking business to the international level, “The Incision” is the kind of film that will make you question whether you really know the motives of the people around you, and much of that realization comes from the way Swell portrays his character.

Starring alongside John Asadi from the Golden Globe nominated series “Scandal,” Swell gave a knockout performance that sheds light on the inner workings of some of society’s most atrocious individuals.

The brilliant representation of his talent on screen, attracted a lot of interest from industry buyers, such as Direct TV and Netflix.

“The Incision” director Tekin Girgin says, “At an early stage Swell got involved in our film as a an actor. He was eager to rehearse as much as possible before the first shooting day. He would provide us with his best performance on every single take. It was amazing to see his creativity and improvisation skills in action. He allowed us to shoot within our time frame and promote our film internationally. His vision of how his character should be portrayed was very refreshing and a huge success.”