PHOTOS BY NICHOLAI GO
STORY BY MARIANA CASTRO
We see them around us. People who think that as long as they have photoshop and a fancy camera, they are en route to producing a memorable photograph. But equipment doesn’t make a photographer. Even if, for artists like Erick Guzman, it is integral to their craft. A genuine artist is able to discern from the world around them the elements that will produce a truly arresting piece. Erick, a Brown student, photographer and sculptor, is a master of this process of choosing. This is evident in his visually compelling photographic series “Textures” and “Americano”.
When asked how he got into photography and sculpting, Erick recalls that he always held an interest in art, but it only blossomed after he got his first digital camera. Small and unassuming, but instantly gratifying, it was enough to spark his passion and expose his latent artistic talent. After taking VISA 0100, his interests really took off. Erick was especially drawn to photographic manipulation, using it as a tool to create his own reality. Each of his photo series has a specific source of inspiration and developmental process. In “Animagus”, for instance, Erick combined faces of friends with those of animals, focussing on lighting and bodily position to reveal the untamed creatures behind our domesticated and polished exteriors. In his most recent work, “Americano”, he attempted to “reconcile the unique identity of the Chicano culture with American patriotism and values.” Through computer editing, he injects his vision into the images. He believes that “simple manipulations” can reveal the “little marks of beauty" often imperceptible in real life.
In all his work, Erick attempts to “understand how people work in ways that are not portrayed in the real world, and take those moments and solidify them”. It’s important to him that he photograph people, since when shooting a portrait, he can, “…get to know a person better, talk to them like a friend, and get them excited for the project.” For Erick, the dynamic process of creation is as significant as the final product.
I ended by asking him what made a winning photo, in his experience. He thought about this for a few seconds, and responded, “Photos stand out when they go in the direction you want, following good proportions and lighting. But it MUST look natural and unforced, not like Instagram, where everything is just so heavy”.
We feel you on that one, Erick.
See Erick's work on his site: www.erick-guzman.com