Interview with FRANK GUTIERREZ
On the Cover of our Issue: #1624
Stylist/Creative Direction/Photo & Retoucher: @visualartistrynyc
Link to the Publication:
Tell us about yourself.
I consider myself an artist, a visionary if you will, with a deeply rooted love of photography. As the son of a renowned Chicano artist in Southern California, of the same name, I was deeply enmeshed in the world of art. I learned to appreciate every medium of artistic expression, with photography being the most sought after. Having moved to NYC several years ago, I have had the opportunity to explore the richness of fashion photography, be it in my private studio, or along the streets of the concrete jungle.
Can you describe that "moment" (experience, emotion,) when you knew that photography was something you just had to do?
The “moment” came for me when my wife and I had the distinct pleasure of capturing beautiful women of color at a fashion event in New Jersey. Before that, I was doing real estate photography as a side hustle. Having had the taste of working at a fashion event for the first time, I was hooked! Soon after, I created my own business, Frank Gutierrez Visual Artistry LLC, and started working as a professional photographer full-time. .
What equipment and tools are vital for you to have no matter where you are photographing?
The tangibles, a full-frame camera with a 50mm lens, and a 70-200mm lens. These two lenses are always with me, whether I’m working out of my private studio, or on the streets of NYC! But, the most vital component of any successful photographer is intangible: complete understanding of the exposure triangle, and how it relates to artificial or natural light.
How do you improve and develop your photography skills?
I consider myself a perpetual student of the art. I love learning new techniques, new ways of creating visually stunning imagery. You’ll find me in my studio working on something new every day! I’m humble enough to never think of myself as above another artist; and with that, enjoy engaging in dialogue with other professional photographers about the art. One never knows what one may learn from another.
What are some favorite things about being a photographer? What are some challenges you’ve encountered?
I absolutely love connecting with people. That’s what the “moment” I spoke of earlier was all about, the connections! There’s no greater satisfaction than having a client almost not wanting to leave your studio because they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. On the flip side, one of the biggest challenges is knowing who is real, and who isn’t. Unfortunately, there are posers in the world of fashion. I’ve learned to approach the industry as my Lord Jesus taught His disciples to be: “be as wise as serpents, but as gentle as doves.”
Among all your work as a photographer, which is your favorite and why?
That’s a tough question, as I’ve had so many great experiences, with so many great people. But if I were to have to narrow it down to one, I would say my favorite was a collaborative effort with sustainable fashion designer Sayoko Kojima. It was my first time working as Creative Director, in addition to photographer. Not only was this phenomenal editorial, “Sustainable Chaos,” published, it was also exhibited in an art gallery!
What do you want to say with your photographs?
I remember sitting in my father’s studio one day, looking at some of the pieces of a recent series of paintings. They were both awesome and terrifying to behold, of which I had to ask him what each one meant. I’ll never forget his response, “What the individual sees, is what it is. I merely create what they see. Nothing more, nothing less.” I’d like for people to interpret my photographs the same way.
Some photographers say that they see the world differently, and that they have a different perspective on life. What is your perspective on the world and on life?
We live in a beautifully chaotic world. Yes, our world is rife with tragedy and such, but it is also up to us to see, embrace and share the true beauty that is within; even with those that would seek our harm. That’s what the art of photography is all about, moments. As someone who is of faith, I strive to show and share “agape love,” one moment at a time.
If you could take your art in any direction without fear of failure or rejection, where would it lead? What new thing would you try?
Fine art photography is something my heart yearns to explore. Fine art photography that answers the age-old question, “What is truth?” Evocative portraiture that would intoxicate the viewer with acceptance of inclusivity, diversity, equity on both sides of the canvas.
What is your newest project?
Aside from working with a couple fashion designers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting this year, I have a passion project I’m slowly putting together, a coffee-table book of candid portraits. The source of inspiration for this project comes from some of my favorite photographers: Arnold Newman, Irving Penn and Richard Avedon.
Speaking of which, any person interested in wanting to be part of this project, don't be shy! Reach out! See you on the other side of the lens!