Hadriel Gonzalez; Photographer for Team Black Productions
Lets start with the basics, how did you get started in photography?
Ever since I was very young, probably about 5-7yrs old, I remember being drawn to the camera from the first conscious moment that I was introduced to it. I was at a zoo with my family, and somehow I got my hands on a disposable camera. I would not let go, even without knowing exactly what it did/how it all worked. I was told that at that moment, I wanted to take a photo of EVERYTHING; from the bird, the tree, etc. It wasn’t until freshman year in high school though, when I realized my passion and started to take it seriously. Towards the end of the school year I found out about a photography class in my school so I was determined to be there for sophomore year no matter what. Once in, all I did for the next couple years was teach myself everything there was to know about the subject, in and out of school. It even got to the point where I was very surprised that I was teaching my teacher a few things. It was a very humbling experience and it is how I quickly began to notice I was heading in the right direction.
What led you to fashion photography?
”Fashion Rocks 2007 – In My Tribe by Steven Meisel”. I was serious about photography but I did not discover the art of fashion photography until one day in a library. I looked through various magazines for curiosity but this one specific image in the editorial really changed my life. It was titled “goth” and it was a group shot of various models styled in a goth dream scenario. The whole editorial showcased different styles like “punk”, “raver”, etc, all shot as a group. Why that image stuck out to me was because I was your typical teenage goth at the time, chains/eyeliner and all, so when that image connected with who I was, I was immediately drawn to it and began to understand it.
What is something you would change about the fashion industry if you could?
I would like to see less of a monopoly. I feel like people are getting tired of seeing the same group of top individuals produce & star in anything that is considered major. I would like to see top guns bring up new talent, giving new people one chance could change their life & shape the future of art history. I believe in using your platform to help move the world forward with a positive influence.
How did you establish yourself as a fashion photographer?
It was really all about trial and error for me because I was self-taught. I would also describe it as a snowball effect, one small shoot you do can land you a gig two years from it, then that gig becomes a serious situation and it brings other gigs, which then lead to a celebrity and it keeps on going from there, for example. I tried to take any opportunity no matter how minute it seemed at the time because I began to see how small seeds planted can bring out a tree. My young age also played a big factor because it worked against me instead of for me, which was surprising. I was very young, in my teens, really trying to establish myself as the serious professional that I was. People would not take me seriously, simply for that fact. I am however glad that I pushed through and did not stop, because now 23, I have been named the youngest photographer to land an Elle cover!
Can you tell us about your production company?
Team Black Productions, is a company that I and my business partner, Phoenix Golden, worked on for almost two years before launching in May.
With my art direction, fast turn around, unique shooting style and master retouching, combined by years of Phoenix’s Hair/Makeup/Business skills, and our conjoined connections in the industry (Phoenix also being a former director of an International Modeling agency); We merged our producing/branding skills and birthed www.teamblackproductions.com.
Now, with an array of key team members, we cast/shoot/ and produce the overall project and/or brand design under the client’s direction, with or without them on set. Our trend forecasting, listening, understanding, and final adjustment skills allows our clients to trust their BRAND visuals with us. We are in full communication every step of the way, regardless of time zones.