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The International Fashion Designer

Bruce started to become interested in art in his early teens. Drawing would become a calming distraction from a reviling family environment. However, it eventually became an addictive, positive force in his life, earning him notoriety in his highschool art class. His ability to create sketches of people that were photo-realistic gave him attention and the social acceptance he hadn’t known. Bruce ultimately chose a more pragmatic career direction in the sciences. But his artistic talents would be a key source of finance for his college education, taking portraits contracts whenever he had time.

As one driven by wonder, science fascinated Bruce, but he never fit into the corporate world.  So, becoming an entrepreneur would soon be his career path. He first started an advertising and marketing business in the mid 90s, initially doing his own graphic design. Then in the early 2000s, Bruce started a web developing company, project managing hundreds of corporate web sites. At first glance, you might not consider these businesses to be part of Bruce’s growth as an artist; but composition, content focus, and user experience were continual topics of focus for every job.

Though Bruce had grown this business to over 40 employees, it  failed in 2005 as the company became embroiled in litigation with its two largest clients. Bruce landed on his feet in Silicon Valley, quickly billing himself out as a videographer for corporate education, marketing and communication videos. Sound like a leap? It was! But somehow, Bruce convinced Yahoo he was the right person to help them finish their failed training program. 

Video would become his new communication medium for the next 14 years, as he honed his skills in the art of storytelling to engage his user audience. His filmmaking craft and background in marketing eventually landed Bruce the role as Manager of the Americas Sales and Marketing Academy for a German Semiconductor. The role was rewarding but Bruce found himself having to work long hours to get everything done. The stress of the role and the hours brought Bruce to a point of crisis. In one respect, he had finally succeeded in the corporate world but on the other hand, Bruce felt the work was not fulfilling his creative side. 

Bruce resigned with the intention of taking an extended hiatus, but immediately, in early 2016, he was invited to help work a fashion shoot. Landscape photography was a hobby, and Bruce occasionally ventured into wedding shoots for friends and family, so the fashion shoot was new. But his instincts quickly kicked in; as his art background gave him a desire to create something timeless, years in graphic design gave Bruce an instinct for composition, and years of filmmaking provided Bruce with a desire to collaborate, the polish for working with talent, and a passion for telling stories. 

The rest is history. Bruce now runs a busy photo and video studios out of the San Francisco Bay Area of California.


Moevir Magazine October Issue 2020 featured edition

[Idol Hands]

Creative Director/Photographer: BRUCE PAUL @light.shaper

Fashion Designer/Model: Sonya Kirshin @sonya_esendy

Accessory Designer: House Of Wasee @houseofwasee

Makeup Artist: Gita Wolf @mua_gita

Makeup Artist: Marina Shevelina  @shevelina.mua

Wardrobe Stylist: Ronda Harder @ronda_harder

Model: Cayla Harder @caylaharder


Could you share how you expand your vision of art, fashion?

I’m always trying something new. It might be something related to photography like macro photography, or photojournalism, or it could be something completely different. I recently started watching YouTub videos on acrylic paint pouring.

I went to the store and got all of the supplies I needed and just created my first few pours. It turned out wonderfully and looks like I should be able to use them in my fashion photography. I plan to do some high res images of these paintings and use the large format at my shop to create backdrops.

What will be the suggestions to new photographers?

It takes time and effort to discover your own photographic style. Your taste for defining beauty will change in the same way a novice’s taste for wine changes as their pallet matures. But in the end, you have to decide where you find beauty and refine it by exposing yourself to other people’s work and letting your work be critiqued by others.

I highly recommend joining a competitive photography club to learn from others and be able to see the flaws in your own work exposed.

What do you think about your work? Is it what you like, or simply saying a dream?

I gravitate to variations of the chirascuro style when I get to choose how a designer’s work is shot, but this is only sparingly used for fashion. Most designers and agencies want everything brightly lit; but where is the drama, where is the allure in seeing everything under a bright light.

I do shoot client’s products under soft bright light if the content is destined for a website catalogue. But if the shoot is for a fashion magazine, I want my images to seduce the viewer, and the chirascuro style of drawing light out of the darkness creates such incredible drama.

How do you prepare your new shoot?

Important shoots are alway a team collaboration at my shop that include the client, my fashion stylist, the make up artist, the production coordinator, and sometimes the model we have selected for the shoot. We start the first meeting by interviewing the client to find out what their requirements and preferences are. 

Everyone then has a voice and we try to come up with a mood and theme for the shoot. We throw each idea up on a whiteboard, and as we build consensus, many of the details just start falling into place. Depending on the complexity of the shoot, we will have several more collaboration sessions until we have a detailed shot list for each shot location, all based on the initial theme we came up with.

If you have a superpower or talent, which one do you wish to have? Why?

If I had a superpower, I would want to see through other people’s eyes. This is not to say I would want to have a video feed from their physical perspective, but I would want to see things through the lens of their cultural and social experience. To see what moves their heart and have an understanding of their sense of beauty.

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