Exclusive Licensing Contributor Warren Giddarie has burst into the New York photography scene with his vibrant studio portraits and fun pop aesthetic. His work empowers people to feel freedom of expression and embrace self-love and acceptance. Browse his collection of work here.

Q: Tell us where you’re from and what you love about your city.

A: I grew up in Vermont but have lived in New York City for the past 12 years. Being in New York has allowed me to meet and work with so many incredible people from all over the world, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Q: What got you started in photography?

A: My parents were artists — they met at the Chicago Art Institute — so growing up, I would always play with their cameras, both still and video. I remember creating sets in my living room, tying a blanket around my neck, and making superhero movies with my babysitters.

Q: You use a lot of bold colors in your photography, has this helped define your visual aesthetic?

drew by Warren giddarie on 500px.com

A: I’ve always been drawn to camp and flamboyance. I enjoy a performance, and I find color to be the best way for me to perform through portraiture.

Q: You mentioned that you currently shoot with a Hasselblad but are looking to switch to a Fujifilm system — why?

A: My Hasselblad was a dream camera for me, and it has truly refined the way that I shoot. However, I often yearn for a more portable system. The new Fujifilm MF cameras are so appealing because of their versatility, but I’ve yet to make the jump.

Q: What has your experience in commercial photography been like? Any major roadblocks that come to mind?

jon by Warren giddarie on 500px.com

A: Photography for me has always been cathartic — the ability to express myself without words and hopefully make a connection with the viewer. Because it’s so personal for me, I haven’t had much experience commercially. I’d say that my biggest roadblock has been myself. Oh, and make sure your model releases are ironclad.

Q: What is your favorite type of portrait session?

alex by Warren giddarie on 500px.com

A: My favorite type of portrait session is one where I can connect with the subject, and we create something honest. I think I’m always trying to express a sense of isolation or despair, and when I’m able to work with someone who’s felt that, we make magic.

Q: If you could only choose one song to play on repeat during a shoot, what would it be?

A: Honestly, I’ve had “Some Body” by ionnalee on repeat since it came out.

Q: You recently published a 2019 Calendar titled “Heartthrobs”. What was your favorite part of this project? What was the biggest challenge?

Carlos Lolita by Warren giddarie on 500px.com

A: Wow, what a journey my calendar has been. I used a printing service for my 2018 calendar, which was great, however when I went back to them for 2019, they weren’t happy with printing my content, I guess because it was half-naked guys? When they wouldn’t do it, I decided I’d do it myself. So, I bought a giant canon pro-2000 and printed them all [at home]. Being able to shoot, design, and print everything myself felt like such an achievement. And then selling out of two full runs — I couldn’t have been prouder.

Q: By licensing your imagery, you are contributing content that will help to diversity commercial imagery. You provide buyers with the opportunity to incorporate LGBTQ+ content and individuals into their campaigns. Why do you think this is important, and where would you like to see the commercial space evolve to?

Ed by Warren giddarie on 500px.com

A: I believe it is important to be constantly inserting ourselves into the greater conversation and claiming space in every field or industry. Being able to provide queer content to commercial buyers sometimes feels like selling out, but ultimately if it can reach someone in the world who may not otherwise have access, then I feel like I have made a positive impact.

Q: What’s next on the horizon for you?

drew by Warren giddarie on 500px.com

A: Well, I’m getting started on the 2020 calendar and hoping to expand the printing business, focusing on working with queer artists so they have a comfortable space to create whatever they want without fear of rejection. [I am] also working on finding a way to print my own Zines. And, even further down the road, I hope to create a book of my work.

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