"The Process"

I’m not sure what I could’ve or should’ve done when I first arrived in New York City. I spent almost two years just trying to get stable in the day-job situation. It was a little better than in San Francisco. I figured everyone who believed the myth of gold in San Francisco would leave New York City. Competition for a job was a little easier. And I mean, just a little.

When I wasn’t doing the day job, I was investigating the fashion business. I was looking everywhere for contacts and network. They say that the professional photography business has opened up with the Internet. It is and isn’t true. It is much more open than say 20 years ago. But you still must dig and dig and then, screw up. A lot.

The first big thing I had to do was rebuild the portfolio. There were people who told me that my portfolio was too ‘West Coast’ for New York. For the most part, I agreed. There were some images I could use for sure. But nowhere enough to properly fill up a portfolio or website. In 2017, I started to rebuild.

Cons, Scammers & Flakes

Probably the biggest eye-opening experience in New York's creative world is the number of flakes in it. Though later, I would discover that lowest regions of the New York City demographics, the number of cons and scammers is just absurd. I would come to live with a few of them. Completely by accident. I took notes on their behavior to see how they operate. The good news is that they aren't the brightest of creatures. If you know how they work, they are easily identified and defeated. But really, just listen to your gut. 

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The Models - Wow!

My first New York model was Russian born Olga. Met her on a modeling site and liked her previous work. Not signed with a modeling agency yet. She pretty much fit the stereotype of the Russian model: fantastic. Where do I start? I had some great wardrobe from Rent the Runway and she was spectacular posing in it. Every pose was ‘bang’. Nailed it. ‘Bang’. Nailed it.

I met native New Yorker Sarah, in red, on the street while doing street photography. I just thought she would be a good person to photograph. A budding fashion designer working as an assistant for one. She said she modeled as a child. It turned out to be one of my most iconic photo shoots ever.

Lastly, there is Russian born Tashi in pink leather jacket and jeans. It was supposed to be a simple shoot. I didn't even hire a makeup artist for it. One of my all-time best shoots.

Now, everyone in New York who says they are a model, might not be great. But my batting average in New York has been spectacular. There was one model who was a disaster whose images I've never posted. Great talent but professionally....

All of these models have been in their teens and early 20s. Beautiful and I'm sure, have been in some of the strangest and most heart-wrenching scenarios. I can excuse all kinds of behavior because I know this. But some just goes way beyond that. Luckily, I've only dealt with that once in New York. 

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Life Comes First. Always

So for a while, I didn’t work too much in reaching out to potential fashion clients. I worked on the portfolio. While I could’ve been far more aggressive in reaching out and marketing myself, I’m glad I didn’t.

My father died 15 years before I moved out to New York. It almost destroyed me. When he died, it felt like a big chunk of me was gone. Missing. Lost. I completely understand why people become addicts or have other mental health problems when a loved one passes. What saved me was photography. Or better yet, God had given this gift of photography to me years ago and I just never realized it until I did my first portrait shoot.

The next few years in New York were the hardest I’d ever live through in my life. Well, ever since I touched down. I could write pages and pages on this matter alone. Difficult life issues that came from years of dealing with my father’s death. And for the most part, being largely alone in New York City. But to keep it short, what got me through it was friends, family and my faith. You know the saying that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? Not only am 1000x the person I was when I moved here. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Even though I’m nowhere near where I want to be in my professional and personal life, I’m on the road to it. Making real progress. I feel like I’m becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be. Mixing the new ‘me’ with the good ‘old’ me.

It’s called ‘The Process’. No matter who you are, you have to go through it to accomplish bigger and better things. Hardship prepares you. That being the case, I can only imagine what God is preparing me for!

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Ricardo Gomez Photography

Originally from San Francisco, Ricardo is now a New York-based photographer specializing in editorial and commercial photography.
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