Mexican-born, Dallas-based photographer Jorge Rivas is in demand everywhere but here
The ilume Gallerie, 4123 Cedar Springs Road. May 22â€“June 19. Opening reception and benefit May 22, 7â€“10 p.m. 214-507-7369. IlumeGallerie.com
Scanning a list of Jorge Rivas’ clients and projects, it would seem the photographer has become, in just three years, one of the stars of the commercial photo industry: Sexy fashion covers for magazines in Paris and Germany; an upcoming 8-page pictorial spread in Australia’s DNA magazine; sports photography for the NFL; an exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, commissioned by the Mexican embassy, to give a new face of the Mexican people to Southeast Asia.
Looking through his portfolio is even more impressive: Erotic pics of underwear-clad (and sometimes less) musclemen and gorgeous women, and portraits that could grace the cover of Vogue. Yes, Rivas would seem to be the toast of the world.
Just not in Dallas. But he really wants to change that.
"I’m kind of new to Dallas," says the Mexican-born, New York-trained photographer. "When I first started showing my portfolio around town, I was told I needed to take out some of the pictures, that they were too racy. The editors at D magazine said they could tell I was from New York."
But Rivas didn’t let that discourage him. In fact, he wants to buck a lot of trends.
In the exhibition he’s readying for its Saturday opening at the ilume Gallerie — his first U.S. show, made up of fashion photos and cultural pictures taken while he was in Malaysia — Rivas used almost all Dallas-based talent … and many non-professionals.
"People ask me, why not use agencies? But I like discovering people. Many have never been photographed before," he says. In his bank of subjects: A secretary at a police station and an aspiring male model who couldn’t book a gig until Rivas saw something in him. The secretary has now quit the cops to model full-time, and the man got a European magazine ad and an agent.
"Lots of people have potential and just don’t know it," Rivas says. "I like to create a good relationship between me and the people in front of the camera. And I think the people here are just as good as in New York or Paris."
To prove it, Rivas recently held a fashion casting session for male and female models that netted him some promising new talent he’ll be shooting soon for fashion spreads. And he hopes when people see his exhibit (which will serve as a fundraiser for AIDS Arms), they will realize that Dallas is full of talent.
It should be obvious that’s true — on both sides of the lens.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 21, 2010.