Nick Garcia Shoots Pele Profile for Haute Living Magazine

Haute Living magazine asked Miami-based photographer Nick Garcia to shoot Brazilian soccer legend Pelé for the June-July issue cover and story spread. Pelé was in Miami for the Hublot Loves Futbol media event to unveil the World Cup Limited Edition watch, and its case designed by Brazilian artist Romero Britto.  Garcia and his crew had 16 minutes at the end of a non-stop interview-filled afternoon to get perfect shots of one of the most photographed persons in the last 60 years. 

Garcia, a lifelong soccer fan was thrilled when asked by Hadley Henriette, the editor of Haute Living magazine, to photograph one of his childhood idols. "If you've lived on this earth you have encountered a photo of Pelé in your life. I had to make those 16 minutes count," said Garcia. "My crew and I spent close to 15 hours preparing for that shoot," he added.

Garcia began by researching the subject. He looked for what made Pelé tick; looked at stock files of Pelé and found very few pictures of his profile. There was an opportunity. If the moment for the right shot came about, Garcia would go for it.   Preparation for the shoot included getting an unmarked gold-colored soccer ball to no avail. Garcia had to paint one to use as a prop. He wanted to communicate the power Pelé had on the field. Him touching the ball made it golden and a definite threat to the opposing team. After all, he led Brazil to three World Cup Championships: 1958, 1962, and 1970.  

Garcia also visited Britto's art studio in Miami to do a site check. He then set up a mock setting of the shoot at his Blindlight Studio and spent more than three hours doing a dry run. When setting up at Britto's studio the day of the shoot, Garcia knew the perfect location of all the props and the lighting that was needed.  

At 2 PM. on shoot day Garcia finished setting up. He then met with Henriette, Elysze Held, the fashion stylist, and Christina from South Beach Make-Up Studio to go over the details. A lot had to happen: makeup, wardrobe changes, communicating with Pelé and his agent, and getting the perfect shots. Flow was imperative.

 At around 6 PM. it was Garcia's turn to photograph Pelé. Held and Christina knew exactly what Garcia needed and had Pelé ready for shooting in 90 seconds. Garcia approached Pelé, "Would you like us to work in Spanish?" Pelé responded, "yes" and on they went. Garcia recalled getting that profile shot very close to the end. "I'm glad I was able to get it. It was one of the last shots. After adjusting contrast and saturation, all I did was touch up the hair close to the ears and his chin a bit. I'm thrilled it came out so good."   See more of Nick Garcia's advertising and editorial entertainment, fashion, lifestyle and portrait work at his site. - 

Charlie Green

Charlie Green Design, Charlotte, NC , USA