David Perez, or Shadi, as he is affectionately known, is one of the most compelling photographers of his generation. Known for his ability to capture the spirit of whomever appears before his lens, Shadi’s vision is nothing less than stark, engaging, and consistently provocative. A 60’s child, born in New York City and raised in Bronx; Shadi was heavily influenced by his creative parents. He was exposed to Simon and Garfunkel, Broadway Soundtracks and Latin Jazz Fusion at a very young age. His first exposure to photography was in viewing pictures his father took skydiving with his Leica during his service in the military. Those photos left an indelible mark on the young man and kicked off a passion that he has carried throughout his life.

Shadi began photographing his environment while attending Mt. St. Michael High School and writing graffiti. It was during this time that he realized he enjoyed manipulating images and playing with light. Shadi began to experiment with different styles and techniques during this creative period and he hasn’t stopped since.

Shadi’s interest in fashion led him to attend The Fashion Institute of Technology to pursue fashion design. He minored in photography and soon realized that the pictures were a more immediate gratification. He began to work for the ad agency Jordan, Taylor & McGrath but he was stifled creatively. Shadi soon shifted his focus and began to work for various fashion photographers such as Ken Nahoum, Wayne Maser and Randall Mesdon. As a personal assistant to Ken Nahoum, he was introduced to the commercial film world and the ideas started flowing. In the early 90’s he began to work more on film projects under the wings of Kevin Bray and Gina Harrell of HEX Films. It was at this time that Shadi landed his first photo shoot with The Source Magazine. This shoot laid the groundwork for Shadi’s career.

During that Source magazine photo shoot, Shadi shot a new group called Cypress Hill. He was given Cypress Hill’s album as a gift and immediately went to Paris to work on more shoots. During his stay in Paris, Shadi became inspired listening to the music of Cypress Hill. His inspiration led him to begin writing treatments on his free time. When he returned to New York, he took his ideas to his friends at Hex films and Colombia Records and submitted his concepts. Shadi’s vision for videos made it into the hands of Cypress Hill and the rest is history. He directed a $10, 000 video for Cypress Hill (which was quite a budget then) that had a huge impact in the industry. He soon did another video for a little known band called House of Pain – “Jump Around” – and it became an even bigger hit. The floodgates were now open and Shadi’s career as a film/video director took off.

Shadi made the transition from still photography to film with great success. He went on to helm music videos for House of Pain, Onyx, Biohazard, Cypress Hill, and the Beastie Boys in addition to commercials for American Eagle Outfitters, Violator Records and Jive Records.

Torn between the personal side of photography and the grandness of film production, Shadi decided to pursue both. Shadi has photographed campaigns for such clients as Stussy, Supreme, BBC/Ice Cream, W)taps, Gravis, Toast, Deluxe, Spoonfed, Recon, and Swagger. Shadi’s editorial work has appeared in magazines such as British GQ, Vibe, Japanese Huge, Japanese Ollie, I-D, The Face, Brutus Japan, Frank 151, Australian Financial Review just to name a few.

Through his travels, Shadi has met a variety of interesting subjects. He is particularly a favorite among other creative individuals. His list of subjects include creative powerhouses such as Sofia Coppola, Bruce Weber, Vincent Gallo, Nigo, Jim Jarmusch, Harmony Korine, Fall Out Boy, Raekwon, Fat Joe, Pharell Williams, Chloe Sevigny, and many others.

Currently, Shadi continues to produce images for numerous fashion and music magazines, advertising campaigns, and music videos for select clientele. He is also finalizing material for his first fine art book titled – ‘The Good Old Days’ – which will focus on his photography. The highly anticipated book is scheduled for release Fall 2007. In addition, his feature film debut – ‘Midnight City Playboys’ – is currently in development and is sure to engage audiences with its raw portrayal of life on the streets of the Bronx in the 80’s.

Whatever the medium, Shadi continues to prove that he is truly a creative innovator and a unique talent. Not one to rest on his laurels, Shadi continues to use these diverse mediums to keep him open to new and exciting adventures.

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Category: Photography