We had the good fortune of connecting with David Cano and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi David, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
To be completely honest, at the very beginning it started because of friendship. I started with shooting senior portraits in college of friends who were graduating. I was the only one in the friend group at the time who had a basic DSLR camera, so they flocked to me and offered me $20 to snap a few shots for them to use for graduation announcements and such. Sophomore in college back in the day (yikes, that phrase really dates me doesn’t it?) was a significant amount. Do you know how many packs of instant noodles and dollar menu McChicken sandwiches is? I had hit the gold mine! I jumped on the opportunity and things sort of snowballed from that point. Now what really made it stick for me though was how I got to grow in a deeper friendship with my current friends, and then from there being able to diversify and grow my circle of friends once I began getting referred to others. The extrovert in me that had been hiding most of freshman year, was finally creeping out and enjoying the community that photography brought alongside it. I was connecting with people that even until this day I stay in communication with, or people that at the very least I’ve been able to capture a special moment for and immortalized in a frame they can always look back on for memories in the future. And that in itself remained at the forefront of my mind as I began to pursue this industry even more.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I don’t necessarily think I’m set apart by the final products of my art, but instead by the diversity of the teams of people and clients I get to work alongside. The arts industry unfortunately is still such a heavily White male dominated world, especially when you follow the ladder up to major corporate positions and such that are funneling money and opportunities down the chain to some of the most fundamental positions. We may be in a current social climate that is speaking out more so about it and wanting to make a change, but the reality is that it has been like this since the beginning and we are now just in a place digitally that we can be shown and made aware of that. As I look back through the history of my entire journey spanning back almost a decade, I am so more proud of the people that I’ve gotten to work with, more than the work itself. I can look at my group of friends, clients, and resume, and see diversity in age, race, religious backgrounds, etc. My biggest struggles when it came to growing my own personal brand as an influencer and actor definitely always felt like it was what I looked like. Which is when I made the switch from showing off my photography from others on my own instagram page, to myself. Because I wanted to be a part of the change. I wanted to see more people like me. Brown. Latin American/Hispanic. Average build, average height, chubby cheeks. Something that I believed could be commercial, high fashion, popular, and more despite what the media wanted me to believe was the say all: Tall, muscular, and essentially, White. I’ve learned through the help of my community that I truly need to continue doing what I’m doing, how I want to do it, because there is an audience for it, and they want to see it. Two moments that will always stick with me are the following. I went and watched “Black Panther” with a group of my friends when it came out (RIP Chadwick Boseman). The very last scene, a little boy is seen on the basketball court and asks T’Challa, “who are you,” and he smiles as the movie ends. I burst into tears. In that moment I could only imagine what it must’ve felt like to be a Black/African American child look up and see themselves represented as a hero on the big screen. The feeling of being seen. The feeling that so much is possible. Later that same year, Yalitza Aparicio Martinez, a Mexican actress, graced the cover of Vogue Mexico. Her indigenous features on full display, dressed in cultural garments that didn’t hide or distract from who she was. I saw her in all her native glory, and I saw me. I saw the promise of opportunity opening up in a world that I too wanted to be a part of and leave my own mark on. I know it’s not going to be easy. It hasn’t been, and it’ll never been, but my community and other like me with similar groups of friend are in this fight, and that inspires me and keeps me pushing through. I have no doubt.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m sure this will be a very common answer, but most of my friends like myself, love coffee. So a coffeeshop tour of certain cities in LA would be a must. I most likely won’t touch the west side because do I look like I have infinite dollars to make that cross country road trip from Glendale? I don’t. So Pasadena and surrounding cities it is. For coffeeshops/cafes: Dots cafe-cute, bright, and colorful. I may be biased because I’m friends with the owner and I think she is one of the most inspiring women I’ve ever met. Strong, creative, constantly evolving, and an amazing networker. Shoutout to Hailey! Copa Vida-clean, bright, and super tasty coffee. Again Cafe-Cafe in the morning, ramen restaurant in the afternoon. big heart eyes! Highlight Coffee-two locations in Pasadena and Glendale. Cute and great coffee Commissary Coffee- Kenneth Ave. location is the spot. Their food options are favorites of mine for sure! Swork Coffee-Eagle Rock location has some of my favorite cold brew on tap! La Colombe-Venturing a little further southwest for this cute little spot for their oat draft latte! I could go on, but I’ll leave it at that. For brunch I enjoy Great Maple in Pasadena, Marston’s in Pasadena, Penny Oven in Eagle Rock, Thank You For Coming in Atwater Village, and Sawyer in Silverlake. Drinks… because apparently I don’t eat dinner: Bodega in Pasadena, Block Party in Highland Park, The Famous in Glendale, Golden Road Brewery in Glendale, Tiki-Ti in Silverlake, and 4100 Bar in Silverlake. Does anyone else like not remember what events and outdoor activities are since quarantine? I’ve been racking my brain for actual things to do that aren’t food related, but I can’t. Of course I enjoy walking around Griffith Park and catching views of the city. The Pantages or Ahmanson are great venues when shows are on tour. and because I’m a child and love everything whimsical, I love me a good ol’ full day at Disneyland. Sorry if y’all thought I was going to be this wild and crazy kid who runs around recreating every 90’s and early 2000’s montage of Disney Channel/Nickelodeon stars exploring LA… but alas, I’m just calm and basic.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Literally everyone I’ve ever come in contact with, or collaborated with creatively. I’ve thrown myself into every major performance and visual art based industry. Music performance/recording, event planning, photography, acting, and BTS production work. But I would’ve never had the opportunity had it not been for the support and recommendations of my closest friends from college and the first “9-5 job” I had post college. And to my family that saw the twinkle in my eye every time a photo, movie, tv show, or song sparked an emotion in me, and pushed me in the direction to pursue more of what it took to produce that stuff myself, all love for them. If I’ve ever taken your photo, recorded on your album, performed with you stage, or acted in your project, thank you for seeing something in me to trust me enough to help be a small part of bringing your vision to light. That in itself is such a high sense of encouragement that maybe I’m doing exactly what I should be doing.

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Image Credits
Shot (or an assortment of friends to click the shutter) and edited by me.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.