Giving Photos An Antique Look

Alana Folen
Wednesday - January 26, 2011
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Cheyne Gallarde

Cheyne Gallarde, photographer and stylist for Firebird Photography, has always had a passion for the arts. Throughout the years he’s acted in local community theater, done stints on the radio and also competed in the Showdown in Chinatown. But, for him, it’s photography that ultimately serves as a vehicle for creative expression and storytelling.

“Like many others, I started doing photography as a hobby,” says Gallarde, who showcased his talents at last week-end’s Bridal Expo at Blaisdell Center.

“I didn’t start doing it (photography) professionally until 2008. From the beginning, I realized the market was saturated with similar images, and storytelling in still images was a dying art.

So, I decided to focus on a specific niche - which was how I started to develop my vintage style.”

Gallarde, who was born and raised in the plantation town of Waipahu, now has a studio in the Chinatown Artists Lofts. But, he says, the majority of his shoots occur outdoors. Each shoot is custom-designed and custom-priced per client, and seasonal packages are offered as well.

“Photography should never be too unobtainable,” Gallarde states. “I have no problem working with people with little or no experience.

“While my work is primarily inspired by advertisements and images from the mid-century, it doesn’t stop there. My inspirations also lie in film directors such as Michael Gondry, Wes Anderson and Tom Burton - all professionals and artists who have an established style and unique vision.”

Over time, Gallarde has taken his talent for photography and created a distinctive style he calls “antique chic.”

“The only thing constant is change, and my style is no exception,” says Gallarde, who besides the help of a photography assistant and two hair and makeup stylists handles everything else on his own, from Web and print marketing to financing.

“While I strive to maintain my signature style, my fashion and photo-processing methods have evolved. Getting to work with clients who appreciate and value my style is definitely one of the best rewards,” he says. “My clients come from all walks of life, but the common thread they all share is a love of vintage fashion and nostalgia.”

For more information on Firebird Photography, visit

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