Pero Like, Ernesto RomanNYC-Based Avant Guard Photographer
A native from Cartagena-Colombia, Ernesto resides in NYC. Winner of the 2014 Surface Magazine’s Avant Guardian Photography Competition.
Ernesto Roman is a tremendously talented photographer. His work in portraiture elicits a beautiful combination of sophistication, sexuality, and feminity.
Ernesto and I have spent many conversations discussing life in NY and how to move forward as a creative and thrive in a city like New York.
While I was last in New York, we had a chance to catch up and chatted over drinks at Hotel Delmano, a favorite hang out of Ernesto’s.
We discussed life, where we’re headed despite living in a city that can be really taxing for a creatives. We poked fun at our struggles. Discussed whether he will leave or not, about his recent loss of his mother and his plans for the future.
One thing I can say about Ernesto is he is resilient and through everything, his work seems to speak to his core.
What’s your story, did you always know your a photographer or did you fall into it?
Not really. I enjoyed taking photos with disposable cameras when I was a child. My mother was an avid photo enthusiast and was always taking photos of my brother and I, so I developed a certain sensibility for it. It wasn’t until college that I took a photography class and discovered there was something special there. I was originally a graphic design mayor before turning to photography.
What advice do you have for a young creative hungry to head to the city and “be an artist”
I would say to be bold and focused, but most importantly is to have a plan and set goals. This was the most challenging thing for me, I wish I had set those for myself when I first moved to the NYC, but life and other circumstances distracted me from the big picture. Also, don’t go on this journey alone. Make sure to surround yourself with peers and friends who can support and inspire you. It’s very important to have a support system. Keep it mind it wont be easy.
You’ve been living in NYC for a while now. What are your thoughts on living in the city as a photographer and the struggle of balance?
Well, NYC it’s still home for a great number of industry professionals and creatives who are there to follow their dreams. There’s great opportunity for networking and meeting people who will inspire and challenge you. It can be very rewarding if you work hard on your craft. It may sound cheesy but the opportunity is out there for those who give it 100%. It’s not easy, you have to ride the wave and be on top of your game. There’s a lot of competition. At the same time, don’t rush things or compare yourself to others, everyone has a different path in life to follow.
The cost of living in NYC is high and can be challenging for most. It can be a struggle for those who don’t have the financial cushion to overcome the many obstacles life throws at you. It’s easy to fall into the void of working long hour jobs to pay the rent and to be too tired to create and produce fresh and original work. It’s important to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and not let these obstacles push you back from reaching your goals.
What do you struggle with most as a photographer?
There’s been many struggles. Life has taken me off path and the lack of confidence to get back on the game has been tough for me, so that’s something I’m working on. Also, I may not be the most technical person out there..
What personal challenges are you struggling with creatively?
I come up with a lot of concept ideas for shoots, at random times and places. The kind of thing you write down on a napkin. I often fall through on actually executing them. I’ve worked a full time job different from photography, and finding the time and energy isn’t always easy.
What are your thoughts on the 9-5 way of living and how has it compromised your work in the past?
It all comes back to finances. As said earlier, living in NYC is very expensive and most young artists will need to work a 9-5 or in many cases a 5-1 (service industry jobs) to cover the bills. It’s a huge chunk of your time and if you don’t keep yourself disciplined it may pull you back from creating or working on your craft.
At the same time, you never know who you end up meeting at your 9-5: my first job in NYC was being a Barista. I had a regular customer whom I served coffee for almost every day for a while. One random day In conversation, I found out he was a Photo agent and end up getting me my first assistant jobs in the city.
You’ve had a tough year with the loss of your mother, how has that impacted your work and your view of life?
I’m going to skip this one, if you dont mind
Who is your creative crush?
At the moment, I’m crushing over the work of Alessio Bolzoni(photo), Albert Moya(video), Los Walters(music) and Wong Kar-Wai(film).
What do you hope to elicit with your work?
I do want to create a body of work that can be identified as “my own” style wise, and I hope it would provoke the same feeling I get when I see work that metaphorically speaking “turns me on”.
Dogs or cats?
What are 3 things you cannot live without?
The beach. A good bowl of ramen. Oh the cinema! Watching one of those films that shake everything inside you.
Do you see yourself evolving into other mediums? What would they be and why?
Before I took pictures, I used to draw and paint. I’ve been wanting to give that another try again. It’s also time for me to start exploring motion and create fashion films. I’ve just been putting it off.
What’s next for Ernesto Roman?
It’s a new chapter for me with new collaborative projects. I’m currently enrolled in the Mastered Photography program and I’ll be taking advantage of this learning opportunity and it’s network. There’s a handful of projects with them for the rest of the year, including a trip to South East Asia this fall which should be a wonderful photographic journey. I also have a personal project cooking right now, but can’t tell you about it.
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