His photos are whimsical, geometric and colorful, but if you ask photographer Daniel Rueda which one he likes best, he'll tell you it's impossible to decide. "It’s like choosing your favorite child!" he says.
He and Anna Devís, his partner in photography and in love, spend hours and hours planning each perfectly choreographed photo, from the location to the wardrobe to the color scheme and props.
Rueda and Devís met in graduate school while they were studying architecture, and they found they had other shared interests, including photography, design and the arts. That common ground was what ultimately led to their current collaboration, Rueda says.
"You know how when you’re dating someone, you take pictures of each other. We began enjoying the pictures we were taking of each other. We began to take it more seriously and think about the images before we went on shooting them. We found ourselves drawing sketches and brainstorming ideas for our next trips," he says.
"Every picture has a process. We come up with an idea, think about it, try different things. Then we start thinking about the location, props, outfits," Rueda explains. "From where it started, now it’s a lot more complicated but it’s not less fun. The more time we spend thinking and working in-house to get a picture done, it’s actually better in the end," Rueda says.
Sometimes the ideas fly fast and furious, and he admits other times it's more of a struggle to pair an idea with a location.
"On the one hand, we are always scouting for locations to find places that are nice and geometrical and colorful. And on the other hand, we are always trying to be inspired by designs and art that we find interesting. So you have a bag of ideas and a folder full of beautiful locations. But you cannot choose any idea and any of the locations; sometimes you don’t have the perfect match — and that is something that we struggle a lot with. But it’s also one of the most exciting parts."
This is one of their most recent photos, and while Rueda says they get a lot of inspiration from art and illustrations, Rueda says the idea for this came from hanging around and doing a puzzle.
"Anna had a beautiful puzzle of colors, but there was no shape or picture to compose. It was really difficult because you need to separate those colors, and the difference is subtle. But the shape of the puzzle pieces was very interesting, and I thought, 'Wow this is such a strong shape. How can we turn this?'"
But it's the image at the top of this page with the polka dots that Rueda says had been in their minds the longest.
"We were interested in a famous Asian artist who works with polka dots, and we were really inspired by her graphic style. We wanted to do something where the clothes were similar to the background. We drew a lot of circles and cut them one by one, and we posted a small making of video and how we stuck those on the wall."
But the photo wasn't coming together until they randomly found the matching polka dot dress in a store one day, and that's when they realized they found the missing link.