I learned about Jose Vazquez’s work via his feature on the flickr blog. I was extremely impressed by his urban photography and the fact that his tool is an iPhone. So I wrote him and asked for an interview to share his thoughts and work with you guys.
Please tell us about yourself.
I’m originally from Florida. After graduating high school, I spent five years in the United States Marine Corps. After being honorably discharged, I began college at the University of California, San Diego. After receiving my B.S. in electrical engineering in 2007, I moved to Brooklyn with my family. I’m currently living in Jersey City, NJ with my wife and 11-month old son. I got into photography around 2009 when I bought my first DSLR. I was frustrated with how boring my travel photography was, so I decided to buy a “big” camera. Little did I know back then it isn’t so much about the equipment, but the technique. I’ve been shooting since then and haven’t looked back.
What pushes you to shoot? What do you shoot (for)?
I shoot for the sheer pleasure and love of freezing moments in time. I’m not a professional, so everything I shoot is for me. The world around me inspires me to shoot – especially my son. It’s a beautiful thing seeing it all through a camera lens.
What is your style?
I don’t think I have a particular style. I enjoy shooting everything from abandoned buildings, to people in the street, to nature. My post-processing style also runs the gamut from heavily processed HDR lo-fi black and white.
When you shoot, do you go out with a plan, or do you let it happen?
I usually just let it happen. The only time I have a real plan is when I’m going on an urban exploration shoot.
Are there any photographers/artists/role models that influence your work or inspire you?
Honestly, I’m inspired by so many people I follow on various social media networks. There’s never a shortage of inspiration. If I had to choose a professional who inspires me it’d be Joe McNally. The man is a lighting god!
You were recently featured on flickr’s blog because of your urban exploration using your iphone. Can you tell us a bit more about it and why the iphone?
One of the greatest opportunities and experiences I’ve had to date. I bought an iPhone almost a year and a half ago and for a while I was shooting with it exclusively. It’s an amazing camera for its size, and the ease of shooting, editing, and sharing made me fall in love with it. As the old adage says, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.”
Do you have a specific goal for the development of your photography?
I’d like to get more into portraiture in the next few years. I love photographing my son, but I quickly learned that portraiture and flash photography is a completely different beast. I love a challenge though, so my goal is to master lighting and start photographing more people.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’ve been teaching myself photographic lighting in an attempt to improve the portraiture aspect of my photography.
Is there a project you are especially proud of
The project I’m most proud of is the collection of photos I’ve been amassing of my beautiful son. Ever since he was born he has taken front seat in my life and I absolutely love taking photos of him every day.
Is there any specific advice that you have for us?
My advice is always to first learn the fundamentals of exposure. We have so many tools available to us now with Photoshop and the myriad other image editing programs, but a great image begins in the camera. Also, get out there and shoot, shoot, shoot.
Now let us have a look at some of your favorite shoots.
“Tunnel Seating” I love this image for many reasons. For one, this was the location of my first ever urban exploration experience. It’s certainly a place I won’t soon forget. I’ve been to various other places since, but for me this signifies everything that urban exploration is.
“Refuge” This is one of my personal favorite HDR images. It was taken at the beautiful Bethesda Terrace in Central Park during a snowstorm. I love the contrast between the warmth of the terrace and the winter scene outside.
“The Forgotten Cell Block“ Another favorite HDR image, this one in black and white. This is from Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. The long, decaying corridor is what drew me. The vanishing point sealed the deal.
“Beak Envy…I Know You’re Feeling It” I grew up in Florida and had no idea I was surrounded by such beautiful wildlife. It wasn’t until I started seeing the world through my camera lens that I noticed it. This is one of my favorite wildlife portraits taken at a park in Fort Pierce, FL. It’s an American White Ibis.
“Snowy Bow Bridge“ An iPhone image taken at Central Park’s Bow Bridge. This was one of my first iPhone creations. One of the great things about the iPhone are all the great apps available that can transform a photo into a work of art.
“Brooklyn Pilings” Taken at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1. I was knee-deep in water when I shot this and it was worth every minute. This image was also selected for the cover of an upcoming novel.
“Little Angel” One of my favorite images of my son. I snapped this while experimenting with off-camera flash. I was very pleasantly surprised with the results.
Thank you very much for your time!
Do not forget to checkout Jose Vazquez’s work: