Although diverse reasons brought them to this region of the Pacific, these photographers have four things in common: they come from abroad, they are passionate about photography, they love life in Mexico and they dedicate a good part of their time to capturing moments, landscapes and elements of local culture through their lenses. Vallarta Lifestyles approached them to learn more about their motivations for residing in Vallarta · Nayarit, as well as to understand how their photographic style is related to their daily life. In a way, their work reflects that extraordinary phenomenon experienced by visitors admiring our port’s beauty for the first time.
- Curt Barter
Origin: Milton, Canada
“Right now, Sayulita is the closest thing I have to a home,” says Curt Barter, a young traveler who first came to Riviera Nayarit three years ago at the invitation of a close friend. Initially, he planned to stay only a couple of weeks, which turned into three months. Since then, he has resided in the village every year during the winter season.
He became interested in photography at a very young age and today transforms the tropical destinations he visits into images. When not in our destination, he visits exotic places such as Bali and the Turks and Caicos Islands. His photos of Sayulita reflect what he most enjoys about living in the village: the friendly and relaxed atmosphere that permeates the streets, the warmth of the locals, the food and the coast.
“I would describe my photographic style as tropical. I love nature, hiking and surfing. In Mexico, I am inspired by the vibrant colors, isolated beaches and lush jungle. I started doing aerial photography with a drone a year ago, and that has opened up an incredible world of perspectives to capture the landscapes.”
- Shannon Hughes
Origin: Louisiana, United States
“I arrived in Puerto Vallarta 10 years ago and immediately fell in love with this whole area,” says Shannon Hughes, an American expat who lives in Lo de Marcos, in Riviera Nayarit. Before moving to Mexico, he lived in New Orleans and Los Angeles, where he began his photographic career and had some exhibitions, with one of his photos used by National Geographic.
Sunsets have always attracted and moved Hughes, and he describes photographing them as “capturing ephemeral moments of great beauty.” This simplicity also defines his days living in Lo de Marco, where he enjoys activities such as fishing when not behind the camera or working in his real estate company.
“In this country, I am inspired by the culture and the importance aspects such as family and respect are given. I feel very fortunate to be able to live here. In addition, Pacific sunsets are the best in the world, so viva México!”
- Evgenia Kostiaeva
Origin: Orsk, Russia
Although photography has always been a passion, Evgenia Kostiaeva worked as a lawyer in her country of origin for a long time. However, upon her arrival in Mexico (about nine years ago), she decided to focus on photography and specialize in destination weddings. She arrived in Puerto Vallarta at the invitation of her partner, who has a large family in this city. Immediately she was captivated by the landscape, the mountains, the bougainvillea and the tile roofs.
“Here, I live a simple life. One of my favorite activities is walking my dog early in the morning, when it is still cool and calm. I am a big fan of Mexican cuisine, so I enjoy all your dishes… that is to say, what could be better than a little menudo for Sunday breakfast? The people here are very friendly and relaxed. In addition, there is always something to do: festivals, concerts and exhibitions.”
Kostiaeva defines her style as “natural” and believes that, as a wedding photographer, her goal is to show people how loved and happy they are.
- Josef Kandoll
Origin: Washington, United States
“I came to Puerto Vallarta for the first time during a family trip and soon knew I wanted to live here, so I ended up moving in a very short period of time,” says this professional photographer who has Mexican citizenship and is dedicated to capturing images of real estate, destination weddings, lifestyles and Puerto Vallarta landscapes.
For Kandoll, life in our destination is focused on family activities. He enjoys walking a lot, especially on Cuale River Island. “Although there is modernization, growth and expansion, I like that you still feel you are in a town. At any time and in any part of the city I meet people I know. The people and their culture are the soul of Puerto Vallarta.”
In his work, Kandoll enjoys capturing color, movement, light and shadow. “I always try to see differently than the day before.”