September 28, 2021

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Self-taught photographer thrives with portraiture, film photography | Features

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Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo 2020. Shot on Kodak Pro Image film with an Olympus Mju point-and-shoot camera.




Carlos Vasquez has many hobbies and it’s safe to say that photography is at the top of his list.

“My favorite thing about photography is freezing time and helping people look their best,” he said.

Vasquez, 45, said he first got into the art around age 10. His sister worked in the photo lab at Walmart when he was younger, which is where he would get his disposable cameras developed.

In 2015, he bought a DSLR, and a couple of years later, moved into the mirrorless camera game because he said they are easier to carry around.

Portraiture is Vasquez’s favorite type of photography. He’s worked with a lot of local models and has even landed some commercial gigs for clothing brands, like TOMS shoes.

“I’ve got a certain vision in my head, and I want that to come across in the photos,” he said.

Completely self-taught, Vasquez has consumed content about portraiture, posing, lighting and post-processing in books, articles and online tutorials to improve his craft. He also said that he enjoys challenging and pushing himself further with his skills.

“I shoot with mostly prime lenses (fixed focal length) so that your feet become your zoom,” he said. “Even now, I look at scenes from a 50mm lens. Or a 35mm lens. It’s just funny how I frame things up in my head.”

Even with a plethora of tools and deeper knowledge in digital photography, Vasquez’s love for film photography has brought his passion full circle.

“When I got back into film, I started taking crappy shots and wondered what I was doing wrong,” he said. “That really made me sit down and look at framing, moving your subject, moving yourself.”

Vasquez has over 25 film cameras he’s collected from local estate sales on his days off. He said one of his favorites is his Mamiya RZ67, a Japanese medium format camera first released in the early 80s.






Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

Bela Ochoa at the Box Coffee Bar in Victoria in September 2019.




“That’s my clunker,” he said, laughing. “The imagery you get from it, and the depth of field, is awesome.”

Vasquez has worked full-time at Dow for 11 years but keeps a full plate with his hobbies and commitments outside of his day job.

“I stay busy,” he said. “When I’m not doing photography, I’m fixing someone’s computer or I’m working on leather pieces. I’m also a (volunteer) firefighter.”

As we’ve moved deeper into the digital age, Vasquez said he thinks there is something special about physical, printed photographs as memories you can see and hold. And photography is a powerful tool used to capture them.

“Photography is very important to create lasting memories,” he said, “for yourself and your loved ones.”






Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

Ella Porr in downtown Victoria. Spring 2019.









Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

Downtown Victoria in 2021. Shot with a Fuji X100S.









Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

Miranda Perez on the tennis court at Liberty High School in Victoria. Summer 2018.









Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

Kayakers on the Brazos River in Waco. 2020.









Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

Grandma at home in Victoria. Summer 2019.









Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

Lorin in Victoria. 2018.









Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

San Antonio. October 2020.









Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

Deborah Daniels in Old Victoria. Fall 2020.









Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

Midtown in Houston. Summer 2019.









Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

Ballerina Angelica Pina at One O’Connor Plaza in Victoria. Spring 2019.









Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

Delaney Workman on the parking garage in front of One O’Connor Plaza in Victoria. Spring 2020.









Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Victoria. 2021.









Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

Gabrielle Girdy at La Michoacána in Victoria. 2018.









Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

Autumn Paige shot for a Halloween concept in Victoria. 2019.









Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

Jannet in midtown Houston. Fall 2019.









Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

Gas station in Waco in July 2020. Shot on Kodak T-Max 100 with a Mamiya RZ67.









Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

Quirro Green photographed in Houston for a Young Money clothing campaign.









Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

Delaney Workman in Ganado. Sept. 2020.









Photographer Feature - Carlos Vasquez

Kiana Gaona for a TOMS shoes campaign. Shot in Victoria in Fall 2020.




Emree Weaver is the Chief Photographer at the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at (361) 580-6584 or [email protected]

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