Marcel Boldú is what they call a “self-taught photographer”. In Venezuela, where he grew up, there were no specialized schools to teach you the tricks of the trade. The 1990s were challenging times to learn new skills; no YouTube tutorials, the few commercial photographers around were often reluctant to share their knowledge and shooting film made the learning curve even steeper. At least slower, compared to the digital workflow that enables you to review results in real-time. Marcel started as an assistant to a well-known fashion photographer. An exciting time, as he describes it, but after two years he decided to take the plunge and start as a commercial photographer.

Learning was a mix of experimentation and observation. Looking at magazines, analyzing composition and light and trying to replicate the result was the way to proceed. Before exposing the first roll of film, Marcel meticulously made notes of the position of the lights and modifiers and the output of each strobe. After the actual shoot he eagerly awaited the developed slide films. Examining transparencies on the light table was often a frustrating task, as the results rarely came close to what he had imagined. However, he still recalls the moments of intense joy when the photos exceeded his expectations.

“As I progressed, I became a passionate observer of light. I learned that photography is a combination of vision, technique, and light, where light is the secret ingredient.”

There’s no secret sauce for success, but hard work and perseverance are rewarded and Marcel became a successful commercial photographer, working for major agencies and cooperations in Venezuela. In 2016 he decided to move to Miami. Having a good portfolio and about 20 years of experience didn’t open many doors though. Marcel faced the need to understand and adapt to the colors and flavors of his new home country. “You’ve got to unlearn to learn”, as he would say.

In a relatively small market like Venezuela a photographer needs to be versatile in order to survive. As a commercial photographer Marcel Boldú can photograph everything. From small objects to cars and from food to lifestyle.The US however, is a highly specialized market. This market responded very positively to his style and approach of food photography. Nowadays about 80% of his assignments are food related.

“Throughout my nearly 30 years of career, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with highly experienced and talented creatives and agencies”. The assistants and prop stylists working alongside Marcel have become regulars on set and reward his loyalty by frequently exceeding his expectations. When Marcel tells us about his first foray into the world of motion pictures  – nowadays he’s a Director and DOP as well – he doesn’t hesitate either to give credit to those who were important to him when taking on that new challenge.

In 2009 Marcel Boldú was offered the opportunity to direct a television commercial for a Down Syndrome support institution. It enabled him to work alongside the renowned Hungarian DOP Gyula David. As his first serious AV production this turned out to be a pretty overwhelming experience. They worked with a big crew, shot Arri cameras – film, not digital – and used all the tools and tricks you can think of. The hard work paid off and the production won Silver at the ANDA Awards. This achievement was a decisive signal to Marcel to move forward and to expand his services. Please check out the motion section on his website to see more.

We admire Marcel’s Instagram posts. If you’re following him, you might have seen some behind-the-scene footage of Marcel working with his Cambo Actus-XL View Camera. It’s paired with a Fujifilm GFX and a full set of Actar lenses, ranging from 19 to 120mm. Using a view camera is a kind of anti-stress therapy stimulating his creativity. The versatility of the view camera, offering movements like tilt, shift and selective focus, greatly contributes to the image making process. Some things might be achievable in post, but there’s nothing like translating your vision into the final image in one single shot.

Visit Marcel Boldú’s website to see more of his work.