Daniela Vesco’s work is as ubiquitous as Beyoncé herself these days.
The 33-year-old photographer, raised in Costa Rica, is the woman behind many of the breathtaking images you’ve seen of Queen B for the past year ― including most of the underwater maternity photos Beyoncé released on Feb. 2, as part of her public pregnancy announcement.
The images have been shared by hundreds of fans across the globe.
“It’s incredible to see the photos around the world,” Vesco told The Huffington Post.
The Latina photographer is the digital design manager at Parkwood Entertainment. When she’s not at the office, she’s likely following the singer wherever she goes, including her 2016 Super Bowl half-time show and the entire Formation tour last year.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity,” Vesco said. “I realize what it is and what it means to be able to be from the country that I’m from and hopefully inspire other people to dream big. [Because] dreams come true.”
A big dream that’s been a long time in the making. Back in Costa Rica, Vesco had her own photo studio and worked shooting “absolutely everything,” from weddings to senior high school portraits. Eventually she ended up doing Surf photography in Hawaii, Mexico and the South of France for Surfos Magazine.
When she moved to New York, she worked for a fashion company photographing clothing on mannequins, a media website and photographer Richard Corman, who hired her to put on an exhibition of photos he’d taken of Madonna in 1983.
But it’s Vesco’s work in and near water that’s left a mark on her, literally. She had a water symbol tattooed on her wrist when she left Costa Rica so she could “carry the ocean” with her.
It’s no surprise, then, that she felt right at home when tasked with doing an underwater photoshoot with Beyoncé.
“Water is one of my biggest inspirations,” she told The Huffington Post while discussing her favorite photo of her career, below. “It’s kind of incredible and great that this photo was a water photo and that this is what it was for. It kind of feels right. It just fits for me.”
What made the photo a career highlight, Vesco says, had less to do with its flawless subject and more with the technical skills that were required.
“I think that’s my favorite photo ever, I love it, and not just because it’s her,” Vesco says of the photo. “For me, technically and artistically, it’s a culmination of a lot of stuff that I’ve done and practiced; and when I put it all together, I really liked the outcome.”
When asked about the biggest challenges of shooting photographs under water, Vesco explained that there are a lot of moving factors to consider while trying to get the perfect shot.
“The coordination is a big challenge and the movement, because you’re underwater and you have to think about relaxing your face and opening your eyes, all while holding your breath and trying to look graceful,” she said. “And as a photographer you have to be able to follow their movements, almost like a choreography underwater, and figure out according to what that person is doing where the light is coming from and what the right angle to really take advantage of what they’re going through. It’s a joint effort.”
But these underwater shots aren’t the only maternity photos Vesco took of Beyoncé. The Latina was also behind a couple of nude photos of the pregnant singer and some black and white portraits of her wearing a floral crown.
When Vesco looks back at her career she credits a lot of her success to just “showing up,” that’s when she says opportunities arise. Now she hopes her work will inspire other artists to do the same, particularly when it comes to possibly increasing the number of people of color in the industry.
“I think it’s important to have the perspective of more photographers of color, especially because of the cultural history of where we’re from,” she told HuffPost. “It just brings something new to the table from a perspective of growing up somewhere different or being from a different country. It can all just beautifully, harmoniously flow together and create new perspectives.”