Meet Moises Not Moses: The San Diego photographer taking Victorian portraits Into the future

If you ask San Diego artist Moises, Not Moses about his photography, his intuitive reply may be to classify it as “sad clown-type stuff.” Proudly self-describing as an artist with “unpublished and non-award winning" photography, Moises’ work, however, has proven to shine as anything but ordinary.⁣

With a unique style of photography that creates fantastical worlds through carefully coordinated portraits and vibrant colorways, Moises produces images that strike as both larger-than-life, yet somehow intensely vulnerable. In this world, models shine less like subjects for a shot, and more like characters captured in a visual poem.⁣

“I strive for elegance and grace in my work” the artist explained to us, “I’ve created this colorful ‘velvet-like’ world that my work has to go through. At the same time it has to be a bit satirical, dark, or show vulnerability. I see so much beauty and strength in vulnerability and not that much in smiling.”⁣

Indeed, much of what makes Moises’ portraits so captivating is this signature juxtaposition of light and darkness –– Victorian-like models glaring into the perceived ether with inexplicably perturbed eyes, leaving only the softly-lit, gentle exterior in place to embrace them. It’s a style that Moises says comes from working through his own demons and anxiety.⁣

“When I started photography I was really into producing ‘dark and creepy’ art and spewing my inner emotions. Many people didn't accept it and I eventually exhausted it. Once I started creating this ‘velvet’ world for myself, I saw how well my past influences mixed with it and the natural juxtaposition really excited me.”