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Carlos Dandridge: Beauty is You

Photographer: Carlos Dandridge @photoscarlitosway Model: Tenekka Tanka @tenekkadamodel
Photographer: Carlos Dandridge @photoscarlitosway Model: Tenekka Tanka @tenekkadamodel

Carlos, can you tell us about yourself, please. Where do you live now and where are you from? How did you discover photography and what motivated you to get started?

I currently live in Pomona California, but I was born in Madrid Spain. What’s hard for people to believe is that I’m also a truck driver, but the previous 10 years to driving for 5, I was a mortgage banker until the market crashed in 2010. Photography has been a passion of mine since I was 15 which makes it a 44-year love of mine. Until 3 years ago, when someone on Instagram asked to purchase one of my landscape photos. Being a driver made it easy to find amazing views, but I wanted to try people. Once I shot my first portrait 3 years ago, I saw a career in my passion.

What's the best part of being a photographer? What do you love the most about your job?

I love love love enhancing the beauty that is right in front of me. Oh, and I also love my expensive obsession with purchasing the latest and greatest lenses or accessory for my camera

How would you describe your photographic vision?

I’ve always been an empathic person, so I like to look at basic photos of my subject and after considering their purpose for the shoot, I give it reason and purpose in my mind, then think of their and my choices for the shoot, then look deeper and think of their hopes and desires. I want to bring a feeling into every shot.

What are the most important lessons you have learned about photography so far?

The Photographer is the Director. We should obviously listen to the subject but in the end the Subject must listen to the Photographer and trust their Vision

How do you connect with your models? Do they tend to be people you know or strangers?

I’ve been very lucky. I’ve gone to photographer/model Meetups and have found a handful of models who then refer me to their friends, and it’s been spreading from there.

Are you the sort of photographer who plans for every minuscule detail or are you more spontaneous with your creations? Where do you find the majority of your inspiration?

Sometimes I see a piece of clothing and consider the composition of a photograph along with a model I’ve shot in the past. The next shoot I’ve planned for the first week of May, I’ve rented a 6-bedroom home in the mountains on Big Bear Lake. It came to mind when I was considering a weekend away to relax and was looking through rental listings. The interiors of this home just struck me, so I booked the rental, booked the model and now my anxiety begins LOL. Yes, I always get anxiety before a shoot, always thinking “I’m not good enough”. But once I’ve gone through my process of visualizing the shoot for a few days, it goes away.

How do you keep yourself motivated and your photography fresh?

I look at the work of other professionals. I scan through Instagram posts. My fellow photographers keep me inspired with their amazing works.

What's going through your mind when you are on set behind the camera?

I’m asking myself “who is this person in front of me, deep down” At one of many nude shoots recently, I asked the model how she was able to look so comfortable in front of me. She said, “I sing the National Anthem in my head over and over.” But she added that I made her feel very comfortable because I was all business by suggesting her poses and movements. We all must remember that behind and in front of the camera we are all just people who have anxieties and feelings.

Carlos, how would you define "beauty"? What does it mean to you?

Beauty is You. Our true self is the beauty within us all.

What are your future plans/goals for the next couple of years?

I’d like to quit driving a truck and have a live-in working studio somewhere near the coast of Southern California

Where can our readers keep up with your work and get connected with you?

My IG @PhotosCarlitosWay and



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