Sunday, March 24, 2013

Guest Photographer - Jose Vazquez

Urban Exploration is more than taking a simple photo of an abandoned subject.
It is recording a piece of history, it is giving to an abandoned place a chance to live forever.
The story will go on way after a building is demolished.
Why shouldn't we preserve a piece of history forever?

This is exactly what Jose Vazquez does. He shows the world what existed in the past.
In a way he is more than a photographer. He is also an archeologist and a keeper of history.
Check out Jose's amazing photographs here.

Personal note from the interviewer:
"Thank you Jose for sharing these wonderful locations. If it wasn't for people like you, we would never be able to take a look at the past. Take photos, leave only footsteps".

PA: What drew you to photography?
JV: I love traveling, so my initial goal was to learn how to take better photos while on trips. This was before I knew it’s not all about the gear, but the photographer. So I went out and bought a DSLR. Now as I improve, I find myself wanting to revisit all the places I've been to take better photos.

PA: What is your favorite type of photography?
JV: Urban exploration has to be my favorite. I also love taking shots of my son, shooting around New York City, and wildlife.
If I lived in an area with more wildlife, that would probably be my focus.

PA: Do you have an artist that inspires you?
JV: Honestly, my inspiration comes from my social media peers.
On any given day I can scroll through my Google+ or Flickr feed and find tons of amazing photos. If I had to choose one person that inspires, I’d have to go with Ian Ference.
His urban exploration work is always top-notch and I appreciate the time he takes to research and learn the history of the locations he shoots.

PA: Tell us a secret: what makes you mad when you are photographing?
JV: Something that makes me really mad is the fact that I can’t shoot a straight horizon to save my life. Sometimes I don’t realize it until post-processing then end up having to crop the photo.
I really need a level for my camera.

PA: What is your dream location or subject to shoot?
JV: Machu Picchu in Cuzco, Peru. I’ve actually already been there, but the images I can back with weren’t good at all.
I’d like to return with a little more photographic knowledge and capture its majestic beauty.

PA: Make a wish (photography related)
ME: I would like to... go on a safari in Kenya's Maasai Mara with a Nikkor 600mm lens in tow. It would combine two loves - wildlife and photography.
That would be an amazing experience...and it will happen someday. :)

Talking photography specific

PA: Select one photo from your gallery and let's talk about that.
Tunnel Seating

PA: What inspired you to select this location?
JV: I had seen amazing photography by other urban explorers and couldn't wait to try it out myself.
As far as selecting this place, I did a quick search for abandoned buildings in the area and this was the first to come up.
This was the location of my very first urban exploration experience...and it certainly didn't disappoint. I was immediately hooked.

PA: What gear did you use?
JV: I had a Nikon D90, Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 lens, a tripod, wireless remote, and of course a respirator.

PA: Care to share some EXIF details & setup environment?
JV: 90% of the time I'm exploring I shoot brackets. Depending on the scene, I'll shoot anywhere from 3-9 exposures.
I'll usually stay at around f/8 and adjust my shutter speed for a correct exposure.
This particular scene had a wide dynamic range, with the shadows and the sunlight beaming in. I ended up shooting 9 exposures and blending them using Photomatix.

PA: Describe this photo. You can use only one word.
JV: Contemplative.

PA: Any tips for photographers that are trying to shoot the same genre?
JV: First and foremost, be safe.
Wear a respirator if you know there's asbestos, mold, etc... and never explore alone.
If possible, seek out places that aren't widely known.
Unfortunately, these beautiful abandonments are all too often vandalized.
It's a wonderful feeling exploring a place that seems like it hasn't had human contact in years.

PA: Is there anything you would like to add to this interview?
JV: It’s a great feeling having someone show interest in your work.
Thank you so much for granting me this opportunity to share a little more about myself with you.

More works from Jose




Muzamil Kazmi said...

Nice to know about such a good photographer.

Jose Vazquez said...

Thanks so much for the opportunity, Raquel! It was really an honor to contribute.

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