The Story Behind a Community of Latino Photographers, with Founder, Pedro Vázquez

There is always a story behind every big idea. Latinos Who Photograph is an effort to bring Latino photographers together so they have a stage to showcase their work and have their voices be heard. Nevertheless, the inspiration for this work has an interesting story. It was a series of events that began aligning itself in the all the right ways. Here is the story behind the founder and how the team came together for this one cause, to empower Latinos.

Who is Pedro Vázquez and what brings him to where he is today?

My name is Pedro I am from Puerto Rico. I was born and raised there until I was 10 years old when I moved to Orlando, Florida. Since a very young age, I had always dreamed of becoming a singer. I was always fascinated with artists, dancers, and performers. The walls of my room were covered with posters on pop stars, actors, and models. As a lead vocalist, I performed all over the US in events ranging from music festivals, to charities, to major fashion shows. I didn’t realize my love for photography until I started working at Kodak Event Imaging Solutions at Universal Studios where I was first introduced to the craft. I never imagined I would be doing photography today, but destiny stepped in to help ignite a passion for the art of photography.

 

How did your singing connect with photography?

While working for Kodak, I was lucky to be able to travel a lot. Through all my travels, I was in charge of doing the photography for the business and trained a number of employees in photography. I taught them how to use a camera as an extension of themselves, and how to capture “moments”, not just pictures. Kodak then offered me a position in the media capital of the world, New York City.

As a singer/songwriter, I was able to connect my photography skills, especially at fashion shows where I would perform. I saw that I was able to intertwine both things. However, I started to realize that I could only focus on one thing, and photography was the thing most intriguing to me. I found myself more times behind the camera rather than in front of it. In that process, I learned how to do portraits, products, architecture, fashion, worked with celebrities, social media campaigns for celebrities and companies, and digital marketing.

 

How did the idea for building this photography community begin?

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, I started noticing that every article I read, never highlighted the fact that I was Latino, so I went online and had a moment of realization. I searched for articles about Latino photographers, but there were no spotlights or exposés of any kind. There wasn’t even a community or a space for Latino photographers to share their talents. I was looking for inspiration during these otherwise, depressing times, and it came to me while talking to a friend of mine about the conspicuous absence of Latino photographers in media. I felt like I needed to do something about this, hence, I came up with Latinos Who Photograph. Overwhelmed with excitement, I was now obsessed with the idea that had been bothering me for so long. I finally had a solution. Surely someone has already thought of this, surely something so simple and obvious was already taken. You can imagine how excited I was to find out that the name was not used on any online platform. No website, no social media groups, no instagram pages. I immediately bought it, and created the first logo for the social media platforms, in Jan 2021. I set a goal to have it launched within 6 months.

Fast forward to the 1st of February, I heard about Clubhouse. As soon as I went in there to use the platform I thought that I may bring LWP to the platform. I began to moderate discussion rooms under Emprendedores Digitales and started titles like “Latinos Who Photograph [Spanglish]” and I would make these rooms every single day at 6:00pm. Anthoinette helped me greatly moderating this rooms. I just wanted to connect with people. Then I was able to create LWP the 5th of March with the help of Anthoinette . I started seeing that the connection was building with photographers from all over the world. The growth has continued ever since. Today, LWP has reached over 1,000 followers and continues to inspire people daily!

 

What does the future hold for this community?

While I knew this was a chance to connect with people, I had no idea the level of connection that we would find. The goal is for everyone to feel free to share their love for photography and not feel inferior to anybody else. This, to me, is more important than anything else. We have rooms in Clubhouse where beginners and highly successful people are able to connect and share a stage together. This is the community that I envision. Where people can feel secure and learn from each other.

What’s the best way to get involved?

The best way to reach out to people is through latinoswhophotograph.com because we can create content, where people who are not part of Clubhouse will be able to receive, connect, and learn. Everyone can share articles and other type of content from well-established professionals to people starting out. This is to present a virtual stage and let all of their voices be heard from any part of the world and let people know that latinos are there. I am amazed about how many talented Latino photographers are in the world and not many or even no one, for that matter, has seen their work.

I look through Instagram and don’t think “How is this photographer is better than me?”, I think, “This is the type of photography that should be out there” on display where other people can also enjoy and appreciate latino culture. What I would like to see for the future of this community is a built network, where people can feel connected and motivated to share their work so that companies and other entities can share their work and get recognition and opened opportunities.

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