It takes a special kind of person to be a wordsmith with a pen, but rarely do we see someone who is just as crafty with writing as they are with photography. Andres Tardio is one of those people who has an eye for well-crafted photos and write-ups, a rare gift. Recently, the Los Angeles resident visited the set of Belly's music video "You" for an exclusive interview and behind-the-scenes photos. As a result, a stunning smoke-dazed photo of Kehlani came about. So, of course REVOLT wanted to know more about the picture and Andres' multifaceted talents.
1) I see that you are a writer and photographer. Tell me a little about yourself. When did you start doing both? Were you into photography first or writing?
First, thanks so much for acknowledging both sides of my work! I’m grateful anytime that happens. Like you said, I’m a writer and photographer out of Los Angeles, California. I’ve been interested in both fields for a long time, but for many years, I compartmentalized them in separate categories. Professionally, I’ve been a writer a little longer than I’ve been a photographer, but I’ve always had a lot of love for both. Early in my career, I shot a few festivals, but I still kept those worlds separate for the most part. I didn’t fully combine those two crafts until I worked at MTV News under Rob Markman. He hired me as a writer, and when he saw my work as a photographer, he encouraged me to merge those worlds more. With that encouragement, I pushed forward with both, shooting and writing as much as I could. I’ve been blessed enough to shoot everyone from Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West to Justin Bieber and Fifth Harmony, which I mention just to show the range of acts. I’ve also been able to shoot and write in articles for a lot of sites I respect: Complex, Noisey, Rap-Up, and Billboard. It has all been an honor. Honestly, combining those worlds has been super fulfilling and something I’m very proud of because it pulls two major passions in my life into one.
2) What do you love about taking photos? Why do you like shooting artists/musicians; I see you take a good amount of photos with them.
I love a ton of different things about photography. One of them is the challenge of capturing moments that are compelling, photos that convey emotions, and slices of time that we can never get back with every shot. With concerts and video shoots like this one, though, the challenge is always in the outside variables. You never really know what those elements are gonna give you and that’s always fun — to rise to that challenge.
I love shooting all people, but shooting musicians has been fun because I get to capture them in different ways. For example, I love shooting concerts because it shows the musician in action. When I shot Kanye onstage, I loved that I was able to capture him doing what he’s known for as this powerful figure. On the other hand, though, I also love shots of artists in other elements that they’re not known for too. Like, when I shot Kendrick at Dodger Stadium, he was signing autographs for kids and I captured this little girl’s smile. You can see his fan-loving nature in that photo, his dedication to his city, and in her face, you can see her innocence. She was looking at him in awe, like he was a superhero. So, I love capturing artists in these different elements to show their different sides, too.
3) You were on the set of Belly's music video for "You." Were you there to interview, shoot photos, or both?
I was there to interview Belly and shoot some behind-the-scenes photos for Rap-Up. We did a really great article and I hope readers check it out because Belly allowed himself to open up in some really interesting ways about his work, his bond with The Weeknd, and his friendship with Kehlani.
4) You took really dope photos of Kehlani smoking, how did that happen? Was it spontaneous? Or was it a part of the music video?
Well, I don’t want to give anything away because I know they have some really cool visuals planned for this song. Kehlani and Belly are pretty open about their love for smoking so I’ll leave that for the fans to see more of when the vid drops.
5) Did she get a chance to look at it? If so, what did she think about you?
She didn’t get a chance to see it, as far as I know, but if she does end up seeing the shot, I really hope she digs it. That’s very important to me. I want the people I photograph to love the pics as much as I do and I always hope I can capture them in ways that are interesting for others too.
6) How much did it resonate with others? I saw that Rob Markman RT'ed it as well.
Yeah, I’m grateful that people seemed to gravitate towards this pic and this set. Rob was kind for RT’ing it and I think that helped many other people see it too. When I posted it on Instagram, some Kehlani fan pages also shared it, which is always cool. I think her hairstylist might’ve shared one of my photos from the set also, which was dope. Like I said, Kehlani’s a captivating person and I think that these pictures just help accentuate that coolness she embodies.
7) What do you hope people will take away from looking at this photo?
That's an interesting question to answer. With a lot of my musician portraits, I'm more concerned with capturing great photos of the artists in the settings they choose to present whether that's a concert or a video set, like in this case. It’s also difficult because everyone has such different lenses that they’re viewing these pictures through and different experiences that inform their opinions. But I would love for all of my photos, including this one, to be striking and memorable in some way.
Check out Belly's visual for "You" featuring Kehlani below: