The types of photography that interest me the most are definitely portraits and urban combined with surrealism. I like to tell stories that people don’t expect. I like to create a surprise in every single piece I create. I don’t like to keep doing the same things everyone is doing, so I always challenge myself to keep improving the way I create my pictures.
My name is Paulina Galindo and I’m a product designer working for a fintech startup in Chicago, Illinois. I chose this job because I was always super visual with everything in my life. My skills were more oriented on doing and experimenting rather than just sitting down and listening. I’m very curious and always looked for an answer to every problem I was facing. At that time, the best way I could explain something to someone was through drawing and sketching. My mom taught me how to draw, and I took it to the next level. I was always surrounded by art and tried to be involved in different activities where the visual and art were the focus.
I always loved technology too, so when I was deciding to choose a career path, I picked computer science, and, based on my other interests and passion for art and solving problems, I transitioned to a UX/UI design field.
I was born and raised in Mexico, but my adventurous and curious spirit told me there was something else out there for me. So, after living for almost 27 years in Mexico, I decided to move to the United States for my next professional challenge. I lived in Madison, Wisconsin for 2 years and then moved to Chicago, where I’ve been living for almost 3 years now.
Outside of my job, I love photography. My dad was a huge inspiration and influence for me to start taking photography seriously. He was the official photographer in every single family gathering and I was always there, next to him, asking trillions of questions about how he was operating the camera. He let me use it and, little by little, I started practicing. After a while, I was taking pictures of everything – at the very beginning, they were terrible, but I learned and improved. I took some classes and I was reading every single blog related to it; I also was watching videos on YouTube like a religion. I was able to save some money and start getting some gear to practice everything I was learning; after a couple of years (and very bad pictures), I was super comfortable with the outcome.
Then, I combined photography with my artistic skills and started creating photo-compositions or photo-manipulations. Every single thing I was dreaming about or just thinking had to be “digitalized” immediately. I love doing this. It makes me a happier person and a better designer just by being in contact with other areas of design and art.
I have so many people that really inspired me to keep improving my photography skills, but there are two that definitely influenced the type of art I was creating:
- Salvador Dalí: Since he was an artist very skillful in multiple disciplines, his main theme was surrealism. His style completely resonated with me and I took some of his patterns and ideas to create my own art.
- Annie Leibovitz: My favorite area in photography is portraits. I love capturing people’s essence from different perspectives just to tell a story. Annie is a master of telling stories. She has captured so many portraits for so many artists, athletes, and other public figures with a very elegant touch of art. Her portraits are just amazing and she uses a lot of photo manipulation as well in her pictures.
I was using a Canon system for so many years, then transitioned to Sony, and then stayed with a Fujifilm system. I do a lot of editing and post-production with my photos. Because I really respect purist photographers that can deliver a raw picture in the best shape and form possible, I like to explore different ways to create a picture by adding some touch-ups or editing. I’m crazy in love with Photoshop, but right now, I switched to Affinity Photo and I love it – both tools are excellent. Of course, it depends entirely on the type of project I’m working on. If I’m taking pictures for a family or a portrait for some lifestyle blog, I try to keep it natural with little editing.
What I love the most about taking and editing photos is creating a story so people can feel it. It has to mean something for the people looking at it. It could be something simple, but if you look closely, there are so many stories that you can create with an image, and people can interpret them from their own perspective.
In the future, I’d love to teach and reach other artists to be considered as an inspiration and/or mentor. I love helping other people explore their talents and live with the passion that you get out of it. I’m also getting into video editing, and I’ve been having a blast! I love to be able to share more stories in a different medium.
There are definitely similarities between photography and my current job. When you are designing for work, you have to think about in the concept, the problem your design with solve, how visually appealing would the outcome be, and keep iterating until your customer gets what he/she needs. In photography, it’s similar. You start a project with the concept in mind and, while you are not solving a problem, you want to express a feeling or communicate an idea visually. You execute and try different angles and concepts until the vision is completely communicated.
Photography has been a benefit to my tech career – it keeps me in a flow state where I feel happy. And when I feel happy, I can be more productive. It also allows me to think outside the box when I’m approaching a challenge at work. I like to use all the resources I have available and keep exploring with different ideas, the same as I do in photography.
My advice to aspiring photographers is that if you really love it and you are dreaming and breathing photography, go all-in with it. Look for what other people are doing, read and learn about it, always be curious, and (most important) always practice. If you learn one single thing, put it in practice right away. You don’t need a fancy camera or a super expensive class. We have so many free resources available at our fingertips nowadays, so take advantage of it and live it with passion.
I do believe there is always more than tech. You can be more, you can give more, and you can become a better professional if you make the decision and commit to it. Having a hobby means that you have a deep interest and that you care about something, and that’s a sign for you to keep an eye on it and take it to the next level. By making progress in one of your hobbies, you create momentum, and that momentum leads to a state of mind and being where you are fulfilled with what you are doing in your current job.
I’ve been so grateful for having a career in technology and the opportunity to combine my technical skills and artistic skills. I decided to pursue this path to live a life where my passions, interests, and skills can live together to help other people and keep adding value to everything I do.
To look up Paulina’s portfolio, DeviantArt, and art blog, be sure to check the following links: