I was born in Havana, Cuba (1951) and was sent to live in the United States at age 9 due to the deteriorating political climate. I was lucky in that I lived with family in Miami and New York, and was then reunited with my father in San Juan, Puerto Rico after he fled Cuba.
Most of my knowledge in photography has come from my more than 30 years of experience, college studies in art, design, photography and film production. But the seed of interest in art comes from the lessons of my father, Germán Hevia - architect, painter, photographer and muralist. My understanding of artistic elements such as composition and light was influenced greatly by his example and the experience of working with him side-by-side. His work remains a strong inspiration for me. I also enjoyed working as an apprentice to the great Cuban artist, Rolando Lopez-Dirube. During the years I worked with my father on architectural renderings and murals, I discovered photography and began learning its techniques.
My earliest artistic self-expression, however, was in music as a drummer. It is still in my blood. In 1974, I returned to the U.S headed for further studies in photography , I was unexpectedly offered an opportunity to play drums professionally, I couldn’t resist. The next six years were dedicated to St. Elmo’s Fire, a successful rock band that toured extensively, writing our own brand of eclectic music and including writing and performing the scores for several rock ballets performed with the Dallas, Chicago and Houston ballet companies among others. The higlight of these works was Caliban, a ballet based on Shakespeare's The Tempest. When this great experience came to an end in late 1979, I decided to focus on photography full time.
I quickly became one of the two most requested freelance photographic assistants in Houston while also shooting freelance editorial assignments. I was then offered the full-time position as studio manager, with the great photographer, Ron Scott. The time spent in this intense learning environment prepared me well for going out on my own.
When I opened my own studio in 1981, I quickly established a list of my own clients which allowed me to hone my expertise on location and studio assignments involving every aspect of shooting techniques. Through the years a sample range of my clients have been: Architecture: Morris Aubry Architects, Trammell Crow, Weingarten Realty, Michael Underhill; Industry: Citgo, Conoco Chemicals, Seiscom Delta Corporate: Allied Bancshares, Federal Express, Minute-Maid/Coca-Cola Foods, Rotan Mosle, Salvation Army. (See my web site for a more complete list of past clients).
In 1989 a long rewarding relationship with Tama drums and Ibanez guitars began and was a perfect fit. We have shot principal concept photography and primary product shots for every Ibanez catalog from 1995-2009 as well as many for Tama drums, along with a host of ad images and posters. Drums and guitars are equally complex subjects to shoot. Challenges like varying finishes, wood grain, sparkles, textures and even mirrors located in extreme environments and conditions all contributed to some of my best product photography.
With Ibanez and Tama, also comes the additional challenge of live concert and portraiture of their musician-endorsers. Among them have been: Liberty DiVito (Billy Joel), Korn, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Bill Bruford, Joel Rosenblatt, Kenny Aronoff and many others. Inventive technique coupled with diplomacy is required when shooting in these restrictive environments. The satisfaction of putting together the puzzle of a great photograph from concept to finished image is what drives me.
In 2004 I began pursuit of a more personal visual course that diverges from the traditional structure of commercial photography. Absinthe was my subject. Learning the history and exploring the myths surrounding absinthe as well as the stories of the artists and writers of The Impressionist movement provide great inspiration for my on-going series of photographs. Absinthe related images have become a very satisfying focus of my creative energy resulting in my collection titled, “Absinthe Visions”. The collection was on exhibit this summer (July 17, 2010 through September 30, 2010) at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans. The collection was well received by an international audience and was part of 2010’s Tales of the Cocktail roster of events. I look forward to this body of work leading to opportunities to shoot photography for the food and beverage industry.
In December 2009, Becky Cash, AvantGarden, and I spearheaded Houston’s first-of-its-kind event called “Absinthe: Revealed”. Our goal was to introduce the public to fine absinthe and how to enjoy it. It was a spectacular success for a crowd of 200+. We plan to make it an annual event.
My photographic career spans a variety of editorial and commercial work. Besides my corporate work in annual reports, catalogs, brochures and advertising my images have appeared in Texas Monthly, Texas Architect, Runner, most drum and guitar magazines, books such as Ibanez-The Untold Story, and David-Nathan Meister’s The Encyclopedia of Absinthe. In the Mix-Winter 2010 featured my original Absinthe Art Print image series, and my portrait of Jay Hendrickson was featured in Imbibe - March/April 2010.
Currently, my, “Absinthe Visions,” collection is being displayed at Austin’s first absinthe bar and restaurant, Rob Pate’s Péché.
I always strive to communicate feeling in all my photographs. Technique is only a tool to the always present goal of creating a great photograph.
Please contact me. I will be glad to discuss your next project.
Thanks for your interest,
- Damian Hevia
Special thanks to those who contributed to this website:
- Mundi Morgado
- Thomas Foyer
- Sascha Mombartz
- Becky Cash