About Me

quickie bio.... born and raised in nyc, child of the late swinging 60’s, catholic school, aviation high school, electrical engineering, discovers photography, turns 18 goes to paris for the summer, parsons school of design, backpacks europe, assists for a while, starts out on his own, loves photography, circumnavigates the globe a few times, japan, brazil, afghanistan, south africa, meets many new people along the way, art, editorial, commercial, advertising, computers, loves b&w film, digital, misses black and white polaroid, still old fashioned sometimes, and has the best job in the world.

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william vázquez: photographer nyc

commercial photography, documentry, fine art, ideas, and the photographic process



What's the travel like?

I get many questions about what its like to work on a project like the one I just completed. A project with lots of travel, and many uncertainties. My response is...."It's the best"  Which is an honest answer. Photographers dream about these kind of assignments. I am privileged to work on a project like this with clients that trust me and appreciate my work.  

Now the not so glamorous details. I am going to break this up in a few parts in different posts.

Part 1 Organization and travel

I work by myself on these type projects. I travel with no assistant nor a client. I generally connect with a local person that is connected to whatever I am photographing. Sometimes they handle moving me around, sometimes I arrange for local transport in order to show up someplace like a hospital and they show me around. I spend lots of time moving around either in a plane, bus, car, train, tuk tuk, motorcycle, walking, running any and all kinds of transport. No dog sleds...yet, although I have been on one for a different project a while back. I travel as light as possible although it feels like I am still taking too much, particularly when you have to pack for different seasons.

The shoot schedule is very tight that tends to change every day in some form. In this case the design agency coordinates with the client on the schedule. Its up to me to be there on time and ready to work. Its all on a very big spreadsheet that is not too much fun to look at on an iphone.  I have to be prepared to rearrange travel on the go in order to meet the schedule. Thank God for the internet, travel agents, and the iphone! Also being prepared for the unexpected like crazy long layovers, closed airports, broken airplanes, no one who speaks any language that I understand, bad weather, no food where you are stuck, no place to get cash, showing up in the middle of the night, don't take credit cards, no cars left to rent, no taxis, the list goes on and on.

So where did I get this kind or experience navigating? When I was a photography assistant I worked with a few guys who did serious travel, and picked up a few pointers. Thanks guys!

This a slide show of the many things I saw in my travels. No actual work shots yet. My client gets first crack on publishing them. 

7 weeks in.....ireland, uk, india, china, usa. observations from william vazquez on Vimeo.

People places and things I experienced during my travels working for Abbott on their 2010 corporate citizenship report.




Wanted: Personal Paparazzi

I spend much of my time photographing people working, playing, laughing, vogueing, etc, but I never have any photos of me doing those things. For example in my house there is a wall full of family photos I am in one maybe two of them. Why? because I am usually the one doing the photographing. So in my recent travels I handed a camera to my client........Many thanks Roopal! I really need a personal paparazzi. 

This is a photo of me photographing a mother and daughter in front of a temple near Lonavala, India. The little girl was really personable and pretty in pink. What a beautiful family.

Abbott in India, Truecare customers


Almost done.........................

I had such grand blogging plans for my travels....I didn't do much of it unfortunately. I did post some to Facebook when I was sitting still. The demands of moving non stop through different cities, and countries with spotty internet, and crazy data roaming fees forced those ideas on to the back burner.  Instead I really focused on the reason I was there; the job at hand. Just a few more domestic trips then I will be done. I will post some stories when I catch up.

Here is a shot in Chandigarh, India at a celebration. They sure know how to throw a party in India. 

Fireworks at the annual day celebration at the Abbott Baddi plant, India


So many details, so little time

View 2011 Abbott GCR in a larger map

Indian visa (ready to be picked up), China visa in process, update photo gear (check), get a haircut (check), updating maps on GPS, relax (check, well half check) the list goes on...Starting to plan some travel for a project that is fast approaching, way too fast. The map shows general locations because many things have not been nailed down yet, also there will be different cities and towns in each area as I speed travel around the world. I think this years travel will be back to back in some parts so no stop overs in NYC to do laundry, replace broken gear, download drives, drop off film to develop (yes film, B+W), see my wife and kids, deal with business stuff, or take a break. I will be on the road from the end of January till mid March. So I have to be extra prepared for anything this time around. I will be in places where anything would be impossible to replace.

I have been thinking a lot on trying some new things, and change my approach to keep things fresh. It's really easy to follow a formula, and sometimes things can get stale. We can't let that happen, can we. Trying to stay true to what you do, and evolve is tough.

I can't wait to get started, and experience the unexpected.


"My favorite thing is to go where I've never been." Diane Arbus

Diane had it right in my book. One of my most favorite things is going places that I haven't been to both figuratively and literaly. Doing new things like meeting people, eating different foods (except for duck's feet, well the feet of anything for that matter), experiencing other cultures, trying new things, speaking in another language (attempting at least), and just plain going out my comfort zone in my work. I will be hitting the road in January starting with China. There will be lots of other places in the following months. Trying to figure out an interesting way to blog about my travels. Stay tuned.

Oh and the best part.....I get to dress up in disposable clothing sometimes.


Photographer by day.......................

To make things happen sometimes you have to be part weather man, travel agent, anthropologist, a great dancer, sociologist, therapist, carpenter, charmer, general contractor, technologist, boss, artist, DJ, geek, historian, marketer, salesman, scientist, chemist, electrician, grunt, designer, mechanic, road warrior, chef, sommelier, truck driver, man about town, magician, good cop, bad cop, politician, clown, actor, comedian, wingman, and last but not least a photographer. Sometimes a few of them sometimes all of them, and you better be able to pull the all off well! I am sure I missed a few, but you get the idea.

I used a few of these skills except the clown skill (although she may disagree), and maybe the the sommelier skills to help my wife (Scherezade Garcia) install an art exhibit she was putting together...interesting stuff it deals with migration of people to the land of opportunity, and the issues that are encountered. Click here to check out some more photos.


Photos that give

Recently in NYC there was a kickoff party for the BSR (business for social responsibility) conference in NYC. It was a very well attended event by many people in the corporate responsibility field. My client Abbott was one of the sponsors of the event. The best part of the event (at least for me) is that photos I took of various Abbott Fund projects in different parts of the world these last few years were being projected, and printed on banners. It served as a great reminder to everyone at the event that there are people in the world that need support, and we need to do what we can to help. It is good to know that my work is used to bring awareness, and perhaps stir action to do good in this world. The different organizations highlighted were, the Afghan Institute of Learning in Afghanistan, Vivir con dia Diabeties in Bolivia, Ankor childrens hospital in Cambodia, and the Gao Diem nutrician program in Vietnam. All very worthy programs which I have seen, and experienced personally. Each name is hotlinked check them out, and donate if you can.

Many thanks to the great people I work with at Abbott Labs, and the Corporate Agenda who really use my photos in the best possible ways.


At the Apple store Soho

I am going to use up a few more minutes of my 15 minutes of fame that I have left, and would like you to join me at the Apple store Soho, NYC. Me and fellow APA board member Keith Barraclough will be presenting, and sharing our deepest photo secrets. After the lecture we will all be going out for drinks so don't wander off. Looking forward to seeing you. Did I mention that it's free?

Here are the deets.

APA|NY Image Makers Lecture Series:   “Not Standin’ Still… Photographers who use Video and Blogs to get more work”.
Day and time: Wednesday, October 13, 6:30-8 p.m.
Place: SoHo Apple Theater, 103 Prince St (between Mercer and Greene).

Admission: Free (seating is limited)
*No advance registration is required

Photo by: william vazquez

Photo by: Keith Barraclough



Can you shoot video also?

Those are the words that I have been hearing a lot from clients these days. My answer is of course we can! The advantages of shooting both is that they work together as companion pieces. Although In my experience its always been a challenge trying to do still, and video together in the same shoot without compromising one or the other. I think I found the magic sauce; with the right crew, and clients who trust you anything is possible. I can go on and on about the process, but thats perhaps a future blog post.

Many thanks to Jason Rogers my camera man on this project, and Charley Parden my assistant who somehow always finds parking among his many other skills. They made the process go smoothly, efficiently, and more importantly successful.

This is the final ad

Pfizer Global Health Fellows Program from william vazquez on Vimeo.

Pfizer colleague Joseph Wang a Pfizer Global Fellow describes his experience as a Global Health Fellow.



Altos de Chavon, Verano International 2010

When I was starting out in photography many people took the time to show me the ropes me. Yes, I went to Parsons, and studied photography when film was all the rage, but where I really learned photography was from other photographers.  I worked with many photographers as an assistant, some brilliant, and some not so much, but they all had something to offer a budding professional such as myself. I feel that passing on the knowledge is important. Unfortunately my schedule, and travels makes it hard to have a consistent teaching gig in the city. So I take the opportunity to teach when I can either through, volunteering, offering advise to assistants, or teaching a 5 day really intensive course, like the one I teach at Altos de Chavon, usually in the summer. This years focus was on photographing people and telling visual stories. This years class was excellent and was lots of fun to teach. Next year I think I will focus on documentary photography. Anyone interested? Let me know, and I will keep you posted to when the class gets scheduled. It will be fun in the sun, and in a great place. Although, its not a total vacation. I make everyone work hard.

My class from 2010, an enthusiastic bunch

Here are some behind the scenes...