Tristan Leyco is a photographer with over 150,000 followers across his social media channels. After moving to New York at the age of 3 1/2 from the Philippines, he dived headfirst into the creative world, trying his hand at the piano, clarinet, singing and playing guitar. Before his creative career took off, he was a sponsored Monster Energy athlete. When he was 12, he received his first skateboard, and from that moment on was completely enamored with the skateboarding world. That was until his parents decided to buy him a camera in 2011 for him to make footage for his sponsors, which drew him to the realization that he loved being behind the lens as much as in front of it. Today, Leyco has worked for some of the world most influential companies and people. He has worked on projects with Nordstrom, Cole Hann and even Victoria Justice.
Work Hard and Reap the Benefits
He began his creative journey by focusing on cityscape, landscape and adventure photography before transitioning into full-on portraiture. He was enamoured with the lifestyle, and spent much of his early 20’s working hard to get to a point where he could happily reap the benefits. He thought the lifestyle unfathomable. “People would ask me what I do full-time for a living, and I’d say, in verbatim, “I go on adventures, and I shoot hot models” because it was simply the honest truth.” There’s no doubt Leyco was living the dream of many. By day he’d be whitewater rafting in the rapids of the Poconos, to be then chauffeured back into the city to shoot with beautiful models for the rest of the day.
Leyco is an advocate for trying to always do something a little bit different with your work. He thinks that today, it can be easy to get lost amongst the crowd, as most models are advertised solely as eye candy. He tries to tackle his line of work without a standardized concept in mind, always striving to make work with depth, substance and meaning. “My work is meticulously and diligently crafted with each and every piece of content showcasing women in a different light” he has written, which comes through when scrolling through his Instagram.
Lead by Example
Being raised in a female dominant household, Leyco was taught to treat women with the utmost respect. He stands by the point that the models that he works with should always be having fun in a comfortable setting, which shines through in the photos he produces. He’s actively distanced himself from the toxic masculinity and fragile male ego which can occasionally dominate the photography realm. He believes that the patterns of behaviour he learned growing up has allowed him to form more meaningful connections with the models he works with, as he is in tune with his emotions and able to connect with a wide range of people. Due to this, a lot of successful models gravitate towards him.
He has even co-founded a business called Implied Skateboards, of which 1% of total sales go on to support a non-profit charitable women’s foundation.
To follow Tristan’s journey and incredible aesthetic, visit his Instagram: @tristanleyco