It’s difficult to know whether Nino Munoz, who began his career in New York in the early 1990s, has led a charmed life or whether his charm has led his life in such positive directions. Maybe it’s a bit of both.
Nino’s first major fashion story, for instance—photographing Gisele Bundchen for British Vogue—sparked what has become a longtime artistic collaboration and (and friendship). The two have worked together on numerous shoots for magazines ranging from Muse to Rolling Stone. “I love fashion because it’s so colorful and emotional,” says Nino. “There’s a sexiness and a provocative nature to fashion photography that inspires me.”
Nino’s work is at once sophisticated and sexy, always polished but somehow also organic. It’s a tough balance to strike, but it seems to come naturally to him, probably because Nino is as attracted to the essence of a person as he is to the beauty of what they do and who they are. “I respect when people are devoted to their craft—whether you’re a designer or a housekeeper,” he says. “As long as you are expressing yourself, I respect you.”
Over the years, Nino has worked with some of Hollywood’s finest—Leonardo DiCaprio, Julianne Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Tom Cruise, and many others. Celebrity portraiture can be a fraught process—there’s a lot at stake, the schedules are almost always really tight, and there can be trust issues—but Nino has his own way of keeping things in perspective.
“It’s really not that complicated to do, but so many people put on a front when dealing with high-profile figures that it becomes an obstacle,” he says. “I’ve noticed that people with a lot of fame are very sensitive to people who aren’t genuine. I just approach actors and models like I would anyone else—with respect and kindness.”
Here’s a look at Nino’s work.