The one word that best describes me and my approach to work best is adaptable.
Whether shooting a peanut farm in Haiti, driving through a raging Chicago winter or racing across Siem Reap on a tuk-tuk loaded with all my equipment, I adapt to whatever's thrown at me so I can be open and present when it comes time to capture images of the fleeting moments when we connect.
Going to places I have never been, figuratively or literally, is one of my favorite things. And I feel lucky that the range of clients and projects I have worked with for the past two decades has allowed me to shoot in five continents, and meet all kinds of people: scientists, farmers, businesspeople, orphans, doctors, community activists, families, monks.
In the photography business, specializing on a particular subject or style is supposed to be the way to get ahead. I have found that the opposite, being a generalist, is what has gotten me work consistently and what has allowed me to learn new things, stay current. Can I shoot video? Yes. Can I direct a shoot remotely from 13 time zones away? Yes. Can I carry all my own equipment across multiple sites for weeks on end? Yes. Being married to one kind of equipment or to one visual approach is not for me. What matters to me the most is telling visual stories and finding the essence of people in the simplest way possible.
Growing up in multicultural New York, a product of Brooklyn, gave me the foundation to feel comfortable in any setting, whether or not I speak the language of my subjects. At 18, I ditched electrical engineering when I discovered photography and spent a summer in Paris, followed by some study in Parsons School of Design. But what shaped me the most as a photographer was old-fashioned apprenticeship, as assistant to photographers who showed me how to make photos that look effortless even when working in the toughest situations.
As co-chair of the American Photographic Artists (APA), I want to help photographers form community, in a field where we often work alone, without a safety net, and pass on what I learned along the way.
Work for the next few months:
Right now I am working on a couple of projects that will take me to Haiti, Vietnam, Mexico, Russia, Burma, Bangladesh, China, and India. As well as various locations in the states.
Here is my basic kit for most travel jobs although there are times when I use more equipment that I may own or rent depending on project.
STILL PHOTO TRAVEL KIT
2 Canon 2DmkII bodies
Sony Nex-7 camera
Voitlanger 28mm 1.9 lens
Leica-Sony lens adapter
24-70 2.8 Canon lens
70-200 2.8 Canon lens
16-35 Canon lens
2 Canon 580ex flashes
Canon AA battery pacs
Pocket Wizard Flex5TT Flash controller/triggers
Sekonic L-358 Flash meter
Sekonic Color meter
Sharp Enloop rechargeable batteries
X-Rite colorchecker passport
Maha AA raid multi voltage battery charger
TRAVEL VIDEO KIT
Sony FS-100 Video Camera
Small HD Field monitor
Sony 18-200 lens
Metabones Canon to Sony EX adapter
Sony URX-P2 Radio mic
Pearstone dual battery charger (plates for Sony and Canon batteries)
2 Lowell Blender LED lights
Various Genus rods, mounting plates and matte box
Variable ND filter
Camera ribbon shoulder mount
4 bogen breakdown stands
Induro C414 carbon fiber tripod
Manfroto MVH502Ah video head
Manfroto 561BHDV video monopod
Apple 13 inch Macbook Air
2 G-Tech 500gig G drive minis
Gerber Suspension multitool
assorted cords and adapters
Apple Iphone 4S (can’t go anywhere without that)
isound portable power pack 16000mah (for ipod and Ipad)
Tom Tom Iphone car kit (GPS)
Of course I don’t use these bags all at the same time. I mix and match depending on the projects.
CASES AND BAGS
Tenba Rodie II Hybrid Roller
Tenda Rodie II HD/SLR Shoulder Bag
Roadie II HDSLR/Video Backpack
Roadie II Large Roller Case
Discovery Photo/Tablet Daypack Mini
Discovery Photo/Laptop Daypack Large
Transport Car Case Tripak CCT46
Transport Triangular Tripak TTP34
Transport Air Case Topload 2 Light System
Website and Blog: www.williamvazquez.com