Fashion in LA
selected works by Cosme Hernandez
we'd like to introduce you to Cosme Hernandez, the mastermind behind Golldsmith Photography, who's quickly making his mark on the LA fashion scene.
Asymmetric Magazine: Tell us about your work as a fashion photographer.
Cosme Hernandez: I first started out as a concert/event photographer. I have many friends that are musicians, and they would ask me to take photos of their shows but also of their outfits while going to their event or for their promotion on social media if they were sponsored by a brand. Hanging out with them inspired me to get into fashion photography, as I would see that many bands had great styles that were unique in their own way. I've tried to implement such style into my own photography, and I try to be creative with not only the clothes the models are wearing, but the background settings they appear in. Studio photography is cool, but people wear clothes to be seen, and there is no better way to show off one's style than to capture it on the streets of LA.
AM: Where do you get the inspiration for your shoots?
CH: I try to stay busy as often as I can when finding inspiration. Both the Internet and people play a big role in my inspiration. One of the reasons that I got into photography was because you could capture people's stories. I've met a lot of people that have given me ideas about certain photoshoots I could do with just their story alone. You can incorporate anyone's story into fashion photography.
When it comes to the Internet, the explore page on Instagram has been the most helpful overall because I can find a lot of creatives on there that show off certain locations, or I'll see a model that I find interesting, so I want to shoot with them. Other times, I'll read books on photography, and they have certain concepts that I want to try out. Twitter has perhaps been the most recent location for inspiration, as I began to follow more photographers on there. Twitter has less app rules to posting photos, so the photographers are more willing to share their raw work rather than placing it through the filters of Instagram.
There is no better way to show off one's style than to capture it on the streets of LA.
AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
CH: Most of my work revolves around the city of LA and the little pockets of unique backgrounds within the city. I think as a photographer, I see a lot of the little details that maybe other people will miss if they're driving around, taking the bus or the metro in LA. I look at things with the thought of 'how will that location look in a photo?'. LA is such a diverse area that you can go to five different locations within a five mile radius of one another and get different backgrounds. Sometimes I want the backgrounds to be gritty or sometimes I want them to be clean. It all depends on the fashion ideas I come up with the models and we work together to try to capture the styles they're wearing with the LA urban scenery. Being in LA also allows me to find unique locations that one can shoot at, as a lot of people are using Peerspace to host photoshoots and other creative events. Some of the photos featured here were done at such locations, and this is what allows me to have different backgrounds other than everyone else in LA at times. I try to stay away from certain types of work I've seen people constantly do. Sometimes I go to meet ups and people jump on trends like having models hold a crystal ball or using a prism to give a rainbow over the eye. I'm not really into doing photography trends that every other Instagram photographer does. By staying away from that, I think that I can say that my work is my own rather than looking like someone else's.
AM: So, what's your favorite location to shoot in LA?
CH: This is a tough one–there are so many great locations to shoot, but I prefer areas that are not crowded. With this in mind, I would say my favorite outdoor location to shoot is the Los Feliz area near Griffith Park. The homes and apartments in this area are quite nice as as backgrounds.
You can incorporate anyone's story into fashion photography.
AM: Do you do the styling for your own shoots?
CH: For the most part, yes. I've only worked with an outside stylist a few times.
AM: What's your styling process?
CH: Most of the time, I set up a shoot with a model and give them the location along with the style that I am going for by presenting a mood board. Based on the location, the model will bring certain clothing and we will work together to figure out the best style. Other times, I provide them a full outfit from a vintage store that is about fifteen minutes from my house. I'll choose the dress or shirt along with accessories from inspiration I found on the Internet and the owner of the store is great to work with so she lets me sift through her inventory at times. The outfits with Cristina all came from the vintage store. I bought the dress that Jasmine is wearing on Amazon for about $10. The rest of the photos, the models brought the clothes, but I styled them depending on the background that we were working with.
AM: What themes do you typically pursue in your work?
CH: For the most part, I work with natural light and try to infuse color in the photos as much as possible. I would say that most of my work is a mix between vintage and contemporary in style.
AM: What do you like to shoot when you're not focused on fashion work/portraits?
CH: When I was broke and didn't have a car, I would take the metro around Downtown LA or Hollywood and do some street photography. However, as of late, I've been focusing more on nature. I've always loved nature, and I would hike many of the trails in LA. Now that I'm driving, I can get out of LA and do more nature photography.
AM: What music are you currently jamming to?
CH: I've always listened to music from smaller artists, but ever since I stopped working the LA concert scene as a photographer, I hardly keep up with new bands or solo projects. As of right now, I'm just supporting my friends like Little Wolves, Olivver the Kid, La Bouquet, Disco Shrine, Wes Period, Lostboycrow and King Shelter. They've been putting out great music lately, so I've been playing their tracks over and over or I'll listen to music I grew up with.
AM: What can we expect to see from you next?
CH: Currently, I'm only working on paid shoots, but I am making plans to start producing my own personal projects with a help of my friends. I hope to submit one of these projects to an art show in the future. One of my goals is to highlight the chicano community and explore their relationship with Day of the Dead and being Catholic. Growing up in a Catholic household in America, I was never exposed to many of the rich Mexican traditions that are not Catholic based. Living in LA affords me an opportunity to begin to get to know people that are in this community and want to keep their roots alive by dressing up in traditional Mexican clothing, practicing rituals, etc.
View more of Cosme's work on Instagram.