STILLS + MOTION
“I want the work I create to remind people that it is a gift to be seen by the people around you. To be known and accepted is the foundation from which you can leap. No one stands alone – belonging matters.”
Born and raised in Chicago, son of a Cuban father and a German mother, I grew up steeped in a beautiful fusion of cultures, languages, and beliefs.
As a child, I was lovingly shaped by every gathering where both sides of my family could come together, a time when the elders would share their wisdom and traditions. I learned that language could be precarious, words mattered, and that how one communicates is vital. When words could not articulate one’s thoughts, what always mattered was love. Love and acceptance always translate.
From this tight-knit amalgamation that is my family, my siblings and I learned what it means to represent one's heritage. We learned about what it means to have a deep appreciation for cultural diversity, and that the ability to cooperate and understand multiple sides is necessary to one's success.
As a student, I channeled a love of words into public speaking courses. By night, I would feed my creativity with adoration of Cuban, Latino, blues and rock music, playing percussion alongside my brother and his bands, in clubs and bars around town. Both equally ideal environments to learn about turning what could be daunting and intimidating into something fun and enjoyable, of staying open to the ideas of others, of seeing and being seen.
During a brief time as a fine art student in London, I discovered the work of Robert Doisneau, a French photographer whose portraits of the working class and whose style of reportage engaged all my senses. His iconic images inspired me to learn the art of photography and journalism as a medium for storytelling. I returned to Illinois to earn my degree in photojournalism … and in 2007, I began work as a photographer at the start of one of the most significant economic downturns in American history. I became resourceful, agile, and resilient during a time when saying "no" was never an option and every assignment was an opportunity. I fought for commissions from local design firms and for assignment work in the fast, cut-throat world of journalism, for clients like the Chicago Tribune and the Associated Press.
My style of photography today is an extension of myself. Each project an opportunity to reflect my passions, my influences of music, food, language, history, hardship, love, and family. And for this, I live to take risks.
Risk is what I love most about photography and a quality which shapes me most; those times when I can stretch myself to think in bold and innovative ways, of what is possible when we make ourselves vulnerable and approach our work with love. Risk in storytelling is when I am at my most creative, my most collaborative.
Ultimately, I want the work I create to help remind people that it is a gift to be seen by the people around you. To be known and accepted is the foundation from which you can leap. No one stands alone — belonging matters.
Children and Family
Following His Intuition, Brett Nadal Connects to Four Different Markets for Miller Lite
For Brett Nadal, it’s important to him to celebrate his multicultural heritage and reflect on his influences, which inspired him on a project for Miller Lite. When they learned he was a native Chicagoan and Cuban-American, they knew he’d be the perfect person to connect with four markets in Chicago, Atlanta, Miami and Tampa.Read more
Photographer Brett Nadal Shares: Authentic Moments Start with a Personal Relationship
Capturing “real” people with “real” emotions and expressions can be a pipe dream. But not with Brett Nadal, who connects with and cares about his talent, wanting to know them as people.Read more
Digital Portfolio: Brett Nadal Highlights the Gift of Being Seen
Whether capturing still images or while simultaneously directing motion capture, Brett demonstrates his vision through belonging in this new portfolio.Read more
Brett Nadal Shows He Is Always On
The most successful photographers are those who can see shots in more than one way. Brett Nadal personified that trait when working on a shoot with Rachael Luesse.Read more
For Brett Nadal, Directing Motion and Shooting Stills Is All in a Day's Work
Brett Nadal is a professional who goes the extra mile with communication, know-how, and teamwork — invaluable when he is directing motion and shooting stills.Read more
Brett Nadal Tells a Soccer Culture Story With Motion and Stills
Brett Nadal directs motion and shoots stills documenting soccer player Adam Ender Misirly, giving us a lesson in soccer culture and its many manifestations.Read more