Behind The Lens: Felice Trinidad

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From documenting rising starlets and culture within the local area to performing stunning lullabies of her own, Felice Trinidad has an affinity for chronicling the unique experiences and events that take place within Ontario. The Toronto-based photographer spent a lot of her earlier years shooting self-portraits, which later aided her in capturing moments that draw a sense of emotion and euphoria. Felice’s shooting style can be described as candid and dreamy as the photographer maintains a realistic depiction of what’s going on during the moment while simultaneously taking you to another space.

Felice’s work captures subjects in their most authentic forms. Her skills at portraiture, ability to connect with her subjects, are entirely self-taught; the photographer’s art can provide repose from reality. Through collections like Braceface and Building Inspection amongst several others, she captures human connection in an otherworldly way. Not to mention, Trinidad has worked a handful of campaigns with Adidas, Vitaly, and ELLE Canada to name a few.

For Behind The Lens, we got to chat with Felice Trinidad in regards to reflecting on older material, roadblocks, and advice for young photographers! Check it out below.

Take us back to the beginning, what got you into photography?

My photography journey began with a series of self-portraits for the purpose of teaching myself how to be confident in front of the camera. My self-timer and tripod were my best friends, and this taught me how to be both in front and behind the camera, simultaneously.

Toronto is a multicultural hub for diverse ideas and traditions across the world—who are some of your creative inspirations from the local area?

Artists I am inspired by here include Saya Slaya, Zhamak the Cat, Petra Collins, and Leoor Wild.

One thing about your work that stands out to me is how you’re able to bring out emotion through the use of lighting and shadows to represent your subjects—tell me more about it.

Thank you so much for saying that! I am someone who feels everything so deeply and I often make strong emotional connections to the things I see, hear, and feel.  I do my best to incorporate that into my own art. So much emotion can be interpreted from something as simple as color grading choices or the way the sunlight is hitting the subject, and I try to be as intentional as I can when capturing it.

What kind of message do you hope to convey with your photography?

In a digital world of short attention spans and endless scrolling, I hope to evoke some emotion out of the people viewing my photos and make them stop and really look.  I love when people interpret my photos in different ways and understand the emotion that inspired them — sadness, heartbreak, female empowerment, etc. Ultimately, each shoot of mine is tailored to my model, as my main goal is to capture them as authentically as possible. 

How often do you revisit your older works—do they ever inspire any of your newer material?

I often look through my old archives of photos just to relive the memories attached with them.  For example, looking back at my photos I took in Tokyo, Japan takes me all the way back and gives me a new set of eyes for when I’m shooting here; I then almost search for the same feeling I felt there when I look to capture something in Toronto.  I could view a golden hour sunset hitting an alleyway in Kensington Market (a favorite spot of mine here at home) that is reminiscent of one I’ve seen and felt in Daikanyama, Tokyo.

What are some roadblocks you’ve had to overcome since starting your photography career?

 A big roadblock I had to overcome was the decision to abandon a traditional career path of staying in University and pursue photography full-time.  This major decision of course affected my interpersonal relationships with friends and family and took a toll on my mental health.  I had to block out all the noise of those doubting that I could do it — all the “maybe just keep it as a hobby while you do something more stable” and “you’re making a mistake and jeopardizing your future” comments.

What advice do you have for aspiring photographers out there?

In the beginning, try all styles and say yes to every gig while you build your portfolio and establish a name for yourself.  Go to every event where you think artists with the same mindset will attend, because you never know who in the room will give you your next opportunity.  Above all else, stay professional and leave a good impression on everyone you meet and work with.

With the new year right around the corner, what are some projects that you’d love to put together next?

I would love to continue to work with more musicians for their visuals, be on more film sets to capture the stills, and hopefully go on tour with a musician/band one day as their photographer.

If you enjoyed our chat with Felice, check out our Behind The Lens with Chicago photographer Timmy Risden!