Oveck Reyes (@oveck) is a household name for most Instagrammers. His visual art - a fine mix of portraiture, landscape, design and more - is smooth and gorgeous, often carrying with it a film-like, contemplative, cinematic character. His skill as a photographer is matched by his skill in post-processing. Of course, we’re particularly drawn to his masterful use of Mextures to aid in drawing out those dreamy qualities. Over the last several weeks, we’ve chatted with Oveck about many things - primarily his artistry and his inspiration for it. Read along to learn more about Oveck, how he uses Mextures and what inspires him! My name is Oveck and I'm a visual artist in different fields. Mainly I'm a photographer and videographer which is what I do for a living. I set foot in NYC about 19 years a go and I've been in love with this city ever since, although, after my recent trip to California, my heart has split in half between the two coasts. I'm a natural light photographer and love shooting film. I started Instagram about three years a go and I've been a loyal part of this community ever since.
What first attracted you to photography and videography?
I was always attracted to photography - ever since I was a kid - but never really pursued it as a profession. It was always just a hobby until eight years ago when I started working as a digital retoucher and designer for one of the oldest studio in NY. I was surrounded by fantastic photographers all of the time. My passion grew even higher when I started Instagram but more for the artistic side of photography as opposed to the commercial side. I was so motivated by the instant gratification and feedback as well as getting so much inspiration from so many photographers in that community.
My interest in videography came when I intended to make my own music videos with the help of my wife, @eliana__v, who is also a photographer and graphic designer and my partner in crime in all of my creative processes. But really it was all more improvisation and trying to achieve certain things.
What exactly does it mean for you be a natural light photographer?
The fact of the matter is that I'm a photographer period but I prefer the challenges that natural light gives me. Specifically the fact that each time of the day creates a different ballgame. I work with flash and other sources of light, but natural light gives me that atmosphere and sentiment of pureness and rawness that at times feels cinematic and melancholic - at least the moments I choose to capture.
For instance, if I'm at the beach and I want to shoot my subject against the sunset I have to use a flash to be able to expose my subject and still get my sunset exposed naturally. On the other hand, think of an abandoned house with no light except the light coming from a few windows. Without a flash, try to capture a few pictures of that house or even pose a subject in it. I can assure you that you'll start to appreciate natural light a lot more.
Do you remember the first photo that you ever took and HOW IT led you to develop your current style?
I truly don't remember, but I do remember how I got so fascinated by many apps. Truth be told I was actually using too many of them but these days I only use four apps, Mextures being one them.
I guess you could say that I developed my current style within the search of myself as a visual artist and while playing with light and shadows, exploring places, experimenting with everything I could and color correcting to create my desired mood and then using apps for final touches.
What does your typical editing process look like?
My typical editing process starts in Lightroom. I color correct and make general adjustments in it and then I bring it to my phone to do final edits like adding textures and adjusting tones in Mextures or VSCO. It really depends on the image. Whenever I have to do a radical edit or create something a little more abstract or surreal I generally do it in Photoshop and sometimes using the Artstudio app.
When you use Mextures for an edit, what’s your approach?
I usually go for the Grit and Grain or Emulsion textures and then adjust from there between soft light, multiply and overlay blend modes. Lately I've been using the Landscape Enhance overlays which give a nice punch to the overall image - really cool textures there.
The adjustment tools are truly exceptional and I'm always using them for final touches. I used to have an active all black and white account that I was obsessed with editing with Mextures but time really caught up with me and I couldn't keep up with both account (@leblancetlenoir).
Have you ever experimented with saving and sharing formulas with Mextures?
I have! Here are four:
Untitled - IEWEBHB
Untitled - QNVDDHU
Untitled - KVIKHPM
Untitled - TTGLLKG
Is there anything in particular that you hope to accomplish through creating and sharing your Instagram work?
I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot already but I'm truly looking forward to what the future may bring, especially meeting more interesting and creative people and hopefully getting the exposure necessary to be well known as a photographer or visual artist in general.
What is it that you most love to photograph?
To tell you the truth, I’ll photograph anything, but I love portraits and landscapes. What I love the most is the feeling that you get when you have captured that perfect moment and you look at the photo and all the ingredients are there.
Also, I love the fact that you can tell a story and create totally different moods depending on your vision which is what sets every photographer apart.
Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring photographers?
Go out, shoot, find your edge and experiment with everything you can. Make your own rules - keeping in mind the principles of photography. And never, for any reason, get discouraged.
Who are the people who have inspired your photography the most?
As for people here on Instagram I have a few that truly inspire me:
Amanda (@amandademme) for her phenomenal and one of kind portraits.
My friend Jack (@eljacker_) - who inspired with his incredible edits and now with the awesome portraits of Mya.
Eliana (@eliana__v ) - even though she's not around Instagram a lot she's taught me the principles of photography in general.
Ana (@ana.mar) - you just want to hang any and all of her artistic pictures on your wall.
Leah (@leahminium) - she was one of the first people to open my mind about tones.
Steph and Francis (@silenttapes) - these two have incredible hearts and their pictures come directly from there. They're just brilliant visionaries.
Steph (@stephpaxton) - she just makes being cool genuine. Not to mention the consistent mood and double exposure work.
Koci Hernandez (@koci) - a street photography master.
Last but not least, Weronika (@ovors) - for the insanely moody portraits.
I could mention a few more but these just shine in my mind.