Moises Arias started documenting his friends because it made the most sense. “They’re all characters, the kind you can’t just dream up,” he explained. Many of those characters just happen to be the kind of famous musicians, models, and actors who are as likely to pop up on TMZ’s homepage as they are on Arias’s Instagram feed, which has almost 900,000 followers. A quick scroll turns up impromptu shots of Kid Cudi, Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Jaden Smith, and Tyler, the Creator.
Arias’s photos document life in Los Angeles, where he has been working as an actor since he was a kid. A former Disney star (most notably playing the role of Rico Suave on Hannah Montana), Arias says those experiences inform his approach to photography. He compares the process to documentary filmmaking, where the actors are replaced by real people and the film crew becomes the singular person behind the camera. And though he loves all kinds of photography, for him it’s about capturing the most elusive of subjects—people.
“Documentary photography is known for its observant, removed eye. And trying to photograph a small group of people, even if friends, while attempting to remain invisible becomes a tremendously difficult task,” Arias said. “But I love finding those candid, fleeting moments that capture their spirit.”