A Conversation with Joe Aguirre

David J. Carol


Joe Aguirre is a San Fransisco-based photographer who makes his living photographing weddings, shooting portraits and selling prints of his personal work. This self-taught photographer has the passion, dedication and the talent to be in the industry for the long haul. He is now in the process of releasing a series of four books of his personal work, the first entitled, B.A.T.S. Vol. I. I'm a fan of his work and thought it would be interesting to hear what he has to say. Guess what? I'm right—he is interesting!  Here is my conversion with Joe Aguirre, enjoy.

DC- You use a lot of shadow and silhouettes in your street photos. Tell me about that.

JA- I guess it comes down to what I liked seeing in others' photographs...Before I started shooting with my own style, I looked to others for inspiration: Alex Webb, Daido Moriyama, Trent Parke... I guess I’m just drawn to a more dramatic and brooding image. I think that’s why I love LoFi photography and my Holga so much – it’s just you and your eye and 12 chances to make an image appear...let the light and the celluloid work with you. 

DC- When did your passion for photography first take hold and was there a photo or moment that made you feel like you would be doing this for the rest of your life?
JA- In my early 20's, I snapped more photos than I developed, eventually leading to a giant bag of film waiting to go to the lab. Years went by and circumstances changed (as they tend to do) and I moved on to other things.  One day I decided to see what the hell was on those rolls and I got them developed at a 1-hour lab.  When I got home, I was confronted by a ghost – for the first time in years, I saw a friend’s face who had passed away... I will never forget that moment.  From then on, my camera was always with me. Street Photography was the next logical step for me – I always had my camera ready.

DC- Tattoos...What's the deal?

JA- I blame Diane Arbus and sailors for making tattoos look cool. Sorry, mom.
DC- You're stranded on a desert island. You get to bring 5 types of food, 5 machines and 5 people. Okay, tell me your choices.

Sparkling Water

Leica M6
Nikon D600
Desktop Computer
Cell Phone
Espresso Machine

Icarus, my cat.

DC- Last question Joe... What about photography do you find the most rewarding and the most frustrating?
JA - Learning how to take my time and learning how to say goodbye to a photograph that wasn't 100% my personal best. Those are both rewards and frustrations at the same time. I love being able to express myself and my view of the world without ever having to open my mouth. With that said, photography is who I am, and not what I do anymore... the ups and downs come in different waves than before.

Check out more from Joe Aguirre at www.joeaguirrephotography.com

All images © JOE AGUIRRE 2014



PDN August 2016: The Fine-Art Photography Issue



Tout VTS


Tout VTS


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