Gabriel H. Sanchez is photo essay editor at BuzzFeed News and we are proud to have him on board of this year's team of judges for our TEN AND ONE ANNUAL LOMOGRAPHY PHOTO AWARDS. Gabriel's poetic way of talking about photography in this interview not only proves his passion for the medium but most likely makes you want to grab your camera right away and take your photos for submission.
Hello! Welcome to the Lomography Magazine. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Gabriel H. Sanchez and I’m the photo essay editor at BuzzFeed News. Part of my work involves combing through thousands of pictures every day to find the strongest, most poignant images and use them to build narratives around the issues that matter most today. I’m also continuously on the lookout for new and exciting work that can take on those issues with passion and creativity.
How did your interest with photography start?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always felt deeply emotional when I came across a good picture, but it wasn’t until I began studying photography on a college level that I was able to pinpoint those aspects of a picture that are responsible for conveying those feelings. A subtle shift in perspective and lighting, a tilt in the framing or a tighter crop can be the difference between conveying irony or humor, triumph or defeat, even love or hate. From there I could begin to find the words to describe a good photograph and unlocked an entire world of visual poetry.
How would you define photography? What makes it worth pursuing?
Analogue photography really hits at the heart of how I define photography, because it’s those chemical reactions of light and silver that to me reveal the true nature of the medium. I’ve never thought of photography as something that was invented, but instead as a natural phenomenon that was discovered and tamed.
With that, modern technology has also shown us that everybody and their mother can be a photographer, which really is an amazing thing! That’s because each picture is unique to the person behind the camera, their view of the world and what they consider beautiful. What makes photography worth pursuing is that nobody will ever see the world as you see it. Your perspective is something unique to you and only you, and there’s no better way to convey that then by snapping a picture.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired to see young photographers pick up a camera and pursue their passion. Photography is just as much of a life journey as it is a profession or hobby. The more pictures you take, the more you learn about yourself. So seeing a young photographer pick up the camera and take those first steps on this journey doesn’t only give me hope for the future of the industry, but for the next generation.
What makes a good photograph?
A good picture can be different for you than it is for me, which is really the best part of the game. There’s not one single formula as to how to make a good photograph — it’s about finding joy in photography. Some find joy in capturing the harsh realities of international conflicts and using those pictures to enact change for a better world, while others find joy in snapping the flowers in their backyard under that beautiful golden-hour light. This variety is what really keeps photography exciting and new for me.
Any advice that you’d like to give aspiring photographers? Please also share at least three of your favorite photographs and a profile picture that we could use.
Don’t forget to have fun out there! I’m willing to bet that nearly every photographer out there started out taking pictures not as a profession or chore, but because they found joy in the hunt for the perfect shot. As I said earlier, photography is a journey and with any journey there can be tough times and moments of discouragement. Those things pass and as long as you remember that feeling of joy, then you’re bound to stay on the right path.
Follow Gabriel's work on Buzzfeed