Arias' photography is mostly portraiture driven, and he has chosen recently to diversify by expanding from commercial and editorial work into street reportage, as well. Whether working in the studio or shooting off the cuff, as he does so often with his street work, his style is mostly about capturing the idiosyncratic and humorous character of his subjects against minimal backgrounds that still reveal the environment for establishing context. He began with portraiture by working with local bands, expanding from $100-a-day sessions into large campaigns for record companies. But this all-eggs-in-one-basket approach to his portfolio almost kept him from becoming the success he is today because his career, which was tied to the music business, tanked along with the music business.
"I was a full-time music photographer," he continues. "I was paying my rent and feeding my kids by shooting bands, and within 60 days it was all gone. And it really sent me for a loop. I talked to some well-established folks in the music industry, and they said, 'Yep, it's gas prices!', because musicians live on the road, that's how they make their money, by touring. And once they started spending all their extra money on gas—cause they're not touring in a Prius, they're touring in some '79 Econoline van that gets two miles to the gallon—there was no more money for photos. I was kind of a luxury item at that point."
Arias says that he was faced with the decision of slashing his rates, which would return him to the point at which he started, or he could find another way forward. It was at this point he began to diversify by building his editorial and commercial photography.
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