I first became known of photographer Afif Kattan when I included his photos within a feature about adult performer Teddy Torres. Then my jaw continued to drop as I looked at the other work he has done with deliciously handsome men of many shapes and sizes.
Afif is the latest to be featured in Instinct Magazine’s ongoing Photographer Series. He’s someone who started his career in his hometown of Guadalajara before conquering the world with fabulous subjects including Ian Garcia and many more.
He’s a testament, especially during the crazy year that we’ve had, to stick with your passion and make something out of it.
Check out our exclusive with him below.
How did you get involved in the art of photography?
My passion for photography started 4 years ago (2016) on a trip to New York City. The architecture, streets and multiculturalism made me fall in love and start taking pictures. I had an old Canon camera and that was how, little by little, I began to learn about portrait photography. Without having any kind of study, I started to practice with local models, and that’s how I started to see what my own style was and what I wanted to create.
Did you have any inspirations before getting into the industry?
Like all artists, I am inspired by my daily life, music, and fashion. Additionally, great photographers were a source of inspiration for what Afif Kattan is today: Mario Testino, Wong Sim, Brian Jamie and many other names. Their way of perceiving art in the male body always inspires me.
How would you describe your specific style?
I would describe my work as an erotic male portrait, with dark tints and a lot of black and white. Shadows are something that predominates in all my works. Being able to create art from light seems fascinating and something that fills me with happiness. I like to be able to transmit, with my work, the images of men from a classic point of view. I also enjoy showcasing emotions of strength but at the same time doing so with an avant-garde touch.
You’ve shot some pretty amazing guys during your career. Do you usually search for them or do they come to you?
When my career as a photographer began, I used to look for models in the modeling agencies of my hometown Guadalajara, but in a short period of time I began to gain followers and have more international projection thanks to my work in magazines and collaborations with international models. Today many models, actors, and influencers come to me to work together.
What has been your favorite shoot to date and why?
It would be difficult to answer this question. All my shoots are different. I’m always evolving as an artist and bringing new trends. Each model has a different connection with me, and it shows in the final product. What I could answer is that my favorite part of each shoot is learning something from each of my boys. They always have something to teach me to grow as a professional. Additionally, being able to work with figures like Ian Garcia, David Ortega, Teddy Torres and many others has helped me to work harder every day to continue showing the best of me.
If there was one event that you could cover what would it be?
I would love to be able to work with great artists of music, create images that are immortalized like the cover of a magazine. That’s something I love to do and every time I get the chance I keep doing it. Of course there are many men that I would still love to photograph and I know that life will put me in front of them to do it.
Do you feel photographers are not as appreciated these days due to so much of the focus shifting to social media selfies and filters?
In my case it’s different. Social media is so important nowadays that everyone wants to have the best feed on Instagram, and it’s something that a selfie still cannot win over professional photography. The eye of a photographer is much more sensitive in terms of light, framing, retouching and proportion.”
What does the future hold for you and what are you looking forward to the most in your career?
Many new things are coming. I’m working on launching a photography book called Vello — which I’ve been working on since I started my career, new collaborations with big celebrities, traveling the world to expand my portfolio, and learning about new techniques.
Most importantly I’m dreaming about new projects because I think that when we stop dreaming it’s because we stop doing everything, and I still have a lot to show to the world, so I’m going to keep on dreaming.