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While trying to flee the heat this week I discovered a book of artistic photographs, each a true work of art, and then found myself slipping down the rabbit hole to learn everything I could about the man who created them. Adrian Villeta, a photographic artist from San Juan, Puerto Rico, blurs the boundaries of photography and painting. In his gorgeous new book, Adrian Villeta Poetic Vision—the forward written by Gloria Vanderbilt—Villeta’s imagination and attention to detail knows no boundaries.

As Villeta says about himself, “I have always lived in an imaginary version of reality.”

The photographs in Villeta’s new book are a compilation of 35 years of work. They look as though they’ve been caught in a passage way between two worlds. They are breathtaking works of art. 

Before Adrian Villeta photographs his subject, he learns all he can about them. He wants to know what motivates them and asks about their hopes and dreams. He then thinks about what kind of world “he could invite them into” that would best accentuate their unique qualities. Villeta says the staging for his photographs are images he perceives in his dreams.

Villeta’s next step is to immerse himself in the wardrobe, props, flowers and mood until he finds the perfect mix that does more than enhances his subjects. He then sets about creating an alternative world for them to live within his camera lens.


His subjects become characters, drawn from his imagination, that transport the viewer into a bygone era. It helps that Villeta is a collector of clothing, fabrics and objects from the early 20th century. It’s not that he has “a lot of things.” It’s what he does with them that makes them special. Each image is composed like a painting where the artist considers balance and the placement of each tiny detail.

Adrian Villeta works in black and white, sometimes using long exposure times. He then prints the images in sepia tone which gives his work an air of timelessness. The sepia allows the composition, textures and the many details he weaves into each photograph to be the focus of attention.

However with some of his work he adds color to the image by using oil paints, blurring the boundaries between painting and photography even further.

His photographs look as though they’ve been caught in a passageway between two worlds, with one foot in and the other stepping outside the mythical sanctuary of Shangri La.

Villeta’s work includes portraits, nature, architecture and a look inside homes that look like castles. I’ve ordered a copy of this intoxicating book and can’t wait for it to arrive. If you’re interested in ordering, Adrian Villeta Poetic Vision, or in having him shoot your portrait–what an extraordinary experience that must be–stop by his website. 

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  1. Thank you thank you! So enjoyed this. Will share in this week’s newsletter. He’s a true visionary. I love his still lifes too, with fraying remnants of silk and candelabras. Like time traveling!

    • Isn’t he wonderful, Mithra? Such a great eye and imagination and of course his artistic talents and technical knowhow. He’s someone I had to share. Thank you for sharing this as well. xoxox, Brenda

  2. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for drawing my attention to Adrian Villeta’s images and style. I want to fall down your rabbit hole even though it is still chilly in Oregon!

    • It’s July and still chilly in Oregon! Here in south Texas that’s called daydreaming… I’m happy I shared this incredible talent because so many love his work. Thanks so much, Barbara. Brenda

  3. I’m utterly impressed. These are truly gorgeous works of art. I love the added subtle color to the sepia photo of the woman. Definitely a wonderful find. Thank you for the introduction!

    • If you visit his website you’ll find more examples of his work and others where he’s discreetly added color. They’re all so beautiful. Thank you, Jean, for letting me know you enjoyed this. I’ll keep my eye out for more books I think you’ll enjoy. Brenda

    • Hi Margaret, Hope your summer’s going well and you have the opportunity to do something fun and relaxing. I’m delighted you like Adrian Villeta’s photographs and my writing. Thank you so much, Brenda

  4. I was certain that the photographs had to be from another era! What a lovely surprise. Stay cool, my friend!

    • Taste of France, I have quite a few antique photographs done in sepia and agree with you. Adrian Villeta is an original artist and photographer. I’m glad you liked them and took the time to let me know! Brenda

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