Photographer Ray John Pila: “The best shots are when the stars line up. Usually by wind, or nature, water, waves… birds, when nature works with you, then it´s a wonderful shot, It´s a dance”

21 jul, 2011

I was born in Hawaii, and raised on the north shore on the beach surfing.

I was always interested in photography as a child but film took a long time to develop it. I would shoot here and there but not that much due to cost. I did some weddings, and it was fun, then some models. After I went back to College and majored in Graphic Design digital photography fit right in.

His style and influences on photography

I try to be creative, have fun and make the models look their best. I think my style is all over the place really,lol I mostly shoot in the mens division. I am still learning a lot, but am no where I want to be. I think I would need a staff for that. I do like Bruce Webbers  crisp blue water shots, bright color speedos, and handsome models splashing out of the water in his 80s GQ ads it was so alive! It really sang to me. I also studied Art history so my inspiration comes from composition and subject matter.

Film X Digital

I do miss the darkroom, but digital is so much faster and with programs like photoshop and plug ins. It really is a wonderful platform to create art.

Its been a huge change and it work’s great for me.  I try to keep my images not too photoshopped, but sometimes I am off. Everything is faster, if you have an understanding of photoshop, aperture, lighting  and have the passion, anything is possible.

Worldwide economic crisis on fashion photography? A harder competition?

Well, since the internet, print has become almost obsolete in payment. I think there are a lot of fish in the pond, so they can be picky and only pay the cheapest price. Supply and demand. There´s also a billion models. I see models every day. It’s a balls to the walls business, and if your wearing your heart on your sleeve, your going to be eaten up alive.

Standard height limitations for agency models are flexible to an extent. There´s still  bazilian models between 5,11 and 6, 2 for men. If your 5,7 and 3/4, for example, and really hot, then what you put into it you get out of it. If you work extra extra hard, have connections, super port, great look and know how to pose, ex ex…… regardless your still competing with millions of other models that are just as good looking and have the height requirement.


So, you are like at the DMV really aiting in that line without an appointment. Because the agency models fit the clothes for the designer, it tough! Its just  fashion. Designers design clothes samples for a certain size model, so if you don’t fit that size then there´s nothing you can do. You cannot take it personally, you must move on and be a hand model, or foot model. i’m kidding.! But why put yourself through that pain, your just competing with so many models. It´s just the way it is……..try acting.


The special moments and working with the models: a cool partnership?

I try to find the light, and use composition. The best shots are when the stars line up. Usually by wind, or nature, water, waves… birds, when nature works with you, then it´s a wonderful shot, It´s a dance.

I think it´s good to help others but I feel exhausted!. We are all interdependent we need each other. I am friend with a lot of the models I shoot with. but sometimes I help the models and they think their hot shit, and the entire universe revolves around the way they look. So I learned along time ago the model ego is not a human function in being grateful or giving. I don’t expect anything back- most the models I know are not like that, but sometimes that one model can suck the life right out of you. Lol it´s not necessary, I see lots of good-looking people and they only see the mirror in most cases.

But there are young fresh souls in their prime, and they are beautiful. I do get tired of them telling me they are fat, when it´s 06 pounds of bodyfat. lol but everyones been friendly and I enjoy meeting them, most my friends are models.

Funny backstages´ moments and top cool places for a shooting

Usually getting kicked out of private property in unusual situations where the model is changing or homeless people try to pick up the model.

Malibu beach, Malibu lakes, runyon canyon, my studio and random locations. I´ts good to find locations with different light, color and compositions, grassy, woody. I try not to shoot at the same location to many times in order to have a better spectrum of photos.


Í´ll send it too you Roberto Maya on the beach, waiting for the waves and the fabric to make it look like wings.

The Projects

I do many different projects, like shoot for Caligoodlife beach wear in Malibu or shoot the model in the mountains or different beaches, or in the studio, so it´s fun. I still think there is room for improvement, in life we can’t expect to be perfect, so I learn new different techniques and sometimes there good a total flop, and most the time I get my best shots that way. I am thinking of doing 60s themes, vw vans and hippies or retro 80s OMG! Fer sher, maybe punk would be fun with a mohawk.

I´ve been thinking of model management. I enjoy photography. I would like to shoot more female models or actors would be fun.

Motto: The golden rule

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