Ruben Hughes

Photographer and art director

Meet Ruben Hughes, an art director and photographer from New York who traded the hustle and bustle for a balanced lifestyle in Copenhagen.

With a background in fashion and tech, he contributed to global advertising campaigns before the importance of work-life balance became essential. After falling in love with the pace of the city through freelancing with Copenhagen-based brands like Bang & Olufsen and Menu, he made the leap now honing his skills in photography and art direction across the world. We sat down with him to learn more of the pivotal people, words and inspirations that have helped him choose a more intentional path in his career and life.

LESTRANGE

What sparked the move from NYC to Copenhagen?

Ruben

I felt myself hitting a wall and wanting to live a different lifestyle. I didn't really know what that meant at that time. I was freelancing for some Copenhagen-based brands which led to visiting the city a lot and I fell in love with it really quickly.

I learned how locals lived—not just what you see as a tourist—and felt right away that I wanted that work life balance that I've been missing in New York. I didn’t want to stress myself out and get to the point where I won't be able to enjoy life. That led me to looking for a different path in my career.

LESTRANGE

What were some of the pivotal moments in your career?

Ruben

At some point when I decided I wanted to be an art director and photographer, I told myself that I would never take a bad photo on my phone. So every time I would go on Instagram to take a story or a picture, I really thought about how I want to compose the photo.

I've done that for 12 years where every time I’ve had to capture something I've always thought about it from a photographer’s lens and not from just someone who needed to take a quick picture. I basically trained my eye for 12 years to think about composition and perspective and things that you will learn in school for, so that helped me a lot because it just became second nature.

LESTRANGE

What work of art - literature, film or music has had a big influence on you?

Ruben

There's an LA rapper called Reason, who’s very lyrical and he has this line, 'I was told to trust the process.' That's always something that I keep in the back of my mind. You have to trust the process in life. Sometimes I might lose a job or sometimes something doesn't go the way that I want and I have to tell myself that you have to enjoy the process. You have to trust the process.

All they can say is 'no'. The power of knowing that 'no' isn't going to shatter your entire life, but it's just a word...

The Icon Sweatshirt || Grey Marl | Organic Cotton

The Icon Sweatshirt

$121

view

LESTRANGE

The Modular Quilt || Navy | Recycled Polyester

The Modular Quilt

$176

view

LESTRANGE

Best advice you ever received?

Ruben

I always have one that I share with others that’s from my dad. He always would say to me, "all they can say is 'no'." The power of knowing that 'no' isn't going to shatter your entire life, but it's just a word allowed me to be more open to asking for help or asking for something.

LESTRANGE

What would you say your greatest achievement has been so far?

Ruben

In 2021, I did this project for a window company called Velux to create an installation for the London Design Festival. It was called ‘The Cube’ and was installed along the South Bank by the Tate Museum. So I had Henning Larsen, an architecture firm, an acoustic firm in Copenhagen, tapped into Bang & Olufsen, my old employer, and a DJ who I photographed, to create a calming space and soundtrack while you could feel the wind coming into the installation through the windows. It was just such a fun experience because I involved so many different people that I met through the walks of life. And that was all from an idea that came from my notes section!

LESTRANGE

Most underrated restaurant?

Ruben

Admiralgade 26 in Copenhagen. They make the best Japanese breakfast on Saturday. I love it the most because of the design because I mean they have so much rare furniture in their space. They also have the best wine!

LESTRANGE

It’s 2pm on a Sunday, where are you and what are you doing?

Ruben

There’s a park near me called King's Garden where I like to take walks with my dog there. Either that or I’m sitting in a cafe having a coffee or taking photos in the studio.

LESTRANGE

What’s your personal style?

Ruben

I love balancing formal clothing with casual clothing at the same time. I can wear a belted pant with very a clean polo, but then have a pair of Converse to balance it out. I don't really like to wear ties. So I'm normally forever wearing a suit. It's with just a t-shirt, polo or sweater. In a lot of ways I’m between the same four or five color palettes then I might have just a few items that are more standalone pieces when I want to do some different but I like having an outfit that I can wear all day that keeps me comfortable and then fit that. My go-to uniform is a pair of white Converse high tops from the 70s, then a pair of trousers and navy merino sweater. At the end of the day, the Converse reminds me of where I came from and how I’ve grown in my career and life.

LESTRANGE

What's your clothing pet peeve?

Ruben

Clothing that is too tight or isn’t breathable.

Ruben wears

Ruben wears

The Icon Sweatshirt || Grey Marl | Organic Cotton

The Icon Sweatshirt -

Shop Now
The Modular Quilt || Navy | Recycled Polyester

The Modular Quilt -

Shop Now