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William Vázquez is an advertising, portrait & documentary photographer based in New York, USA.

2016 in photos review

Some highlights from the projects of 2016

 Working with AbbVie and  Direct Relief  documenting the emergency relief efforts in villages affected by hurricane Matthew in the Dominican Republic. This is a mother and child waiting their turn to see a doctor and get medications in the Monte Plata region of the Dominican Republic. We were in a tiny village community clinic overflowing with old people, plenty of babies and families waiting in very hot and humid conditions with an overwhelming smell of raw sewage from the flooding.

Working with AbbVie and Direct Relief documenting the emergency relief efforts in villages affected by hurricane Matthew in the Dominican Republic. This is a mother and child waiting their turn to see a doctor and get medications in the Monte Plata region of the Dominican Republic. We were in a tiny village community clinic overflowing with old people, plenty of babies and families waiting in very hot and humid conditions with an overwhelming smell of raw sewage from the flooding.

 In many of the places I work in I stand out. Blending into the background, and being present when I choose to is something I strive for. This little one wasn't going to let me blend in. She watched me like a hawk. Documenting emergency relief efforts by AbbVie and  Direct Relief  in the aftermath of hurricane Matthew in the Dominican Republic.

In many of the places I work in I stand out. Blending into the background, and being present when I choose to is something I strive for. This little one wasn't going to let me blend in. She watched me like a hawk. Documenting emergency relief efforts by AbbVie and Direct Relief in the aftermath of hurricane Matthew in the Dominican Republic.

 I explored parts of India that I had ever seen before and had some amazing experiences. Young monks blowing horns during a remembrance ceremony on the steps of their monastery in the Ladhak region of India in the Himalayas.

I explored parts of India that I had ever seen before and had some amazing experiences. Young monks blowing horns during a remembrance ceremony on the steps of their monastery in the Ladhak region of India in the Himalayas.

 Getting the shot!  Christopher M. Lynch  driving while  Kedar P. Gaekwad  films. I got to work with some awesome people in 2016. I traveled through India and Nepal with Chris. We worked on some assignments together as well as did some research on future projects. He was an amazing travel partner and photographer always ready to go the extra mile to get the shot. It was a privilege to work with Kedar. I met him five years ago on one of my first projects in India and we have kept in contact since. I have seen him go from director of photography to directing feature films in Mumbai. Talented guys!

Getting the shot! Christopher M. Lynch driving while Kedar P. Gaekwad films. I got to work with some awesome people in 2016. I traveled through India and Nepal with Chris. We worked on some assignments together as well as did some research on future projects. He was an amazing travel partner and photographer always ready to go the extra mile to get the shot. It was a privilege to work with Kedar. I met him five years ago on one of my first projects in India and we have kept in contact since. I have seen him go from director of photography to directing feature films in Mumbai. Talented guys!

 Riding the Himalayas on a Royal Enfield motorcycle. The bike is underpowered, heavy, and terrible brakes, but amazing to ride through the Himalayas. Always find time to do things that make you happy. Love what you do, and it will love you back!

Riding the Himalayas on a Royal Enfield motorcycle. The bike is underpowered, heavy, and terrible brakes, but amazing to ride through the Himalayas. Always find time to do things that make you happy. Love what you do, and it will love you back!

 I strive to create photographs that illustrate the joys of life no matter how mundane or small. School girls playing at recess captured while on assignment in India for  Abbott

I strive to create photographs that illustrate the joys of life no matter how mundane or small. School girls playing at recess captured while on assignment in India for Abbott

 One of my favorite assignments of 2016. It's amazing how much compassion the organizations I work with have for the people they help. On assignment for  Americares  documenting their rebuilding efforts after the devastating earthquake in Nepal. This is Junkiri, she was seriously injured when her house collapsed on her during the earthquake. @americares helped her with much needed physical rehabilitation so she could help in providing for her children. I went with her doctor up into the mountains of the Sindhupalchowk district to follow up on her progress. She is doing great and was happy for us to all crowd into her house.

One of my favorite assignments of 2016. It's amazing how much compassion the organizations I work with have for the people they help. On assignment for Americares documenting their rebuilding efforts after the devastating earthquake in Nepal. This is Junkiri, she was seriously injured when her house collapsed on her during the earthquake. @americares helped her with much needed physical rehabilitation so she could help in providing for her children. I went with her doctor up into the mountains of the Sindhupalchowk district to follow up on her progress. She is doing great and was happy for us to all crowd into her house.

 You really have to have a reason to be someplace up in the mountains around Kathmandu. The roads are more like river beds and in the rain that is exactly what they are. I was traveling with doctors from  Americares  in a raging storm doing follow up visits of patients in remote villages. The roads were terrible, but at least this time I wasn't freaked out about my driver being extremely cross eyed. That is another story from a previous trip into the mountains

You really have to have a reason to be someplace up in the mountains around Kathmandu. The roads are more like river beds and in the rain that is exactly what they are. I was traveling with doctors from Americares in a raging storm doing follow up visits of patients in remote villages. The roads were terrible, but at least this time I wasn't freaked out about my driver being extremely cross eyed. That is another story from a previous trip into the mountains

 One of my favorite images from 2016. It was from an assignment for @Americares. We crowded into Junkiri's tiny one room home in the mountains of Sindhupalchok to escape the pouring rain. It was literally pitch black inside, so dark that I didn't notice that right next to me there was "grandfather" who put his hand on my arm to guide me to a seat. I suspect that Nepalis can see in the dark. As I was having a conversation in the darkness. I contemplated how I was going to be able to photograph. Then someone turned the light on their phone, then another, and another. It was beautiful, and a solution to my dilemma. Jinkiri's daughter went around offering us, and what looked like half the village crammed into her hut some tea and freshly made popcorn made from the corn she had drying in her home. It was a beautiful moment, and after some arranging of the "lights" I was able to get a good representation of that moment. We should have stayed over that night. The drive back down the mountain was a nightmare of roads blocked by parts of homes and power lines brought down by the storm.

One of my favorite images from 2016. It was from an assignment for @Americares. We crowded into Junkiri's tiny one room home in the mountains of Sindhupalchok to escape the pouring rain. It was literally pitch black inside, so dark that I didn't notice that right next to me there was "grandfather" who put his hand on my arm to guide me to a seat. I suspect that Nepalis can see in the dark. As I was having a conversation in the darkness. I contemplated how I was going to be able to photograph. Then someone turned the light on their phone, then another, and another. It was beautiful, and a solution to my dilemma. Jinkiri's daughter went around offering us, and what looked like half the village crammed into her hut some tea and freshly made popcorn made from the corn she had drying in her home. It was a beautiful moment, and after some arranging of the "lights" I was able to get a good representation of that moment. We should have stayed over that night. The drive back down the mountain was a nightmare of roads blocked by parts of homes and power lines brought down by the storm.

 I visited small tribal villages in Rajasthan and was invited to opium tea cookies with the local tribesmen. I got to dress up and there is photographic proof. Don't ask me how to make that turban.

I visited small tribal villages in Rajasthan and was invited to opium tea cookies with the local tribesmen. I got to dress up and there is photographic proof. Don't ask me how to make that turban.

 I was the favorite target of every kid within a mile on Holi the festival of colors. This was from the first 30 minutes of walking the streets of Thamal, Kathmandu. So much fun!

I was the favorite target of every kid within a mile on Holi the festival of colors. This was from the first 30 minutes of walking the streets of Thamal, Kathmandu. So much fun!

 In the mountains of Nepal you are always climbing up or climbing down. I was with a group of women who are social workers for  Americares . We were climbing down a very steep hill. I was in front. When I got to the bottom I offered my hand to help the woman behind me. She laughed at me. She said "we are mountain women" true that! She could probably carry me down and up that hill in sandals no less.

In the mountains of Nepal you are always climbing up or climbing down. I was with a group of women who are social workers for Americares. We were climbing down a very steep hill. I was in front. When I got to the bottom I offered my hand to help the woman behind me. She laughed at me. She said "we are mountain women" true that! She could probably carry me down and up that hill in sandals no less.

 On our way to the days location in rural India, and I spot out of the corner of my eye movement. I look and see off in the distance kids swinging from the hanging vines of a banyan tree. I of course make everyone go out of their way to go investigate. It was amazing and of course all the kids I happened to be photographing were there. Almost like I had planned it. Perfect! On assignment for  Abbott .

On our way to the days location in rural India, and I spot out of the corner of my eye movement. I look and see off in the distance kids swinging from the hanging vines of a banyan tree. I of course make everyone go out of their way to go investigate. It was amazing and of course all the kids I happened to be photographing were there. Almost like I had planned it. Perfect! On assignment for Abbott.

 t's gratifying when I get to photograph a success story. These three are triplets born severely under term in Kosovo. They survived due to the efforts of their amazing doctor, and to the availability of a drug to help premature babies breathe. These three were a handful running around hopped up on sugar, didn't speak any language I did, and had everyone who was there telling them something different to do. The whole shoot lasted 45 minutes with 40 of them spent in the ritual of eating pastries, cookies, and tea with the family then 5 minutes left for shooting. On assignment for AbbVie with  Americares  in Kosovo.

t's gratifying when I get to photograph a success story. These three are triplets born severely under term in Kosovo. They survived due to the efforts of their amazing doctor, and to the availability of a drug to help premature babies breathe. These three were a handful running around hopped up on sugar, didn't speak any language I did, and had everyone who was there telling them something different to do. The whole shoot lasted 45 minutes with 40 of them spent in the ritual of eating pastries, cookies, and tea with the family then 5 minutes left for shooting. On assignment for AbbVie with Americares in Kosovo.

 Photographed some tough things in 2016. Premature baby wards where you see tiny babies being kept alive in incubators. Survival of preemies is a huge challenge in developing countries.

Photographed some tough things in 2016. Premature baby wards where you see tiny babies being kept alive in incubators. Survival of preemies is a huge challenge in developing countries.

 Travelled with @directrelief to Chiapas, Mexico. We visited families who need help with transporting their children to the hospital for cancer treatment. Some of these families would need to travel more that 8 hours round trip from their village. A trip they cannot afford.

Travelled with @directrelief to Chiapas, Mexico. We visited families who need help with transporting their children to the hospital for cancer treatment. Some of these families would need to travel more that 8 hours round trip from their village. A trip they cannot afford.

 Young monks traveling in packs at a Monastery in Bhutan. I led a photo workshop with @cameravoyages to Bhutan/Nepal. I was part den mother, teacher, cat herder, guide, doctor, storyteller, and therapist. Taking people to experience the world the way I do when on assignment is a pleasure and a privilege.

Young monks traveling in packs at a Monastery in Bhutan. I led a photo workshop with @cameravoyages to Bhutan/Nepal. I was part den mother, teacher, cat herder, guide, doctor, storyteller, and therapist. Taking people to experience the world the way I do when on assignment is a pleasure and a privilege.

 I spent a little time with these guys who were swimming at sunset off the Malecon in Havana, Cuba. Amazing light and always something different going on.

I spent a little time with these guys who were swimming at sunset off the Malecon in Havana, Cuba. Amazing light and always something different going on.

 I spent a couple of days with a family documenting their day to day work. She wanted to wear her favorite dress during the entire shoot. I enquired about a sari and was given a face of "no way". They let us disrupt their day and did whatever was asked. Beautiful people through and through and I appreciate the openness and effort in their part.

I spent a couple of days with a family documenting their day to day work. She wanted to wear her favorite dress during the entire shoot. I enquired about a sari and was given a face of "no way". They let us disrupt their day and did whatever was asked. Beautiful people through and through and I appreciate the openness and effort in their part.

 Leaving a monastery in the Ladakh region of India, and we run into these guys. Apprentice monks, they were fun to watch aggressive, a homemade cricket bat, talking smack. So serious about their cricket game. Love the moment.

Leaving a monastery in the Ladakh region of India, and we run into these guys. Apprentice monks, they were fun to watch aggressive, a homemade cricket bat, talking smack. So serious about their cricket game. Love the moment.

 Mexico amazing in so many ways, beauty, culture, food, people, I can't count the ways.

Mexico amazing in so many ways, beauty, culture, food, people, I can't count the ways.

 Woke up at 11,000 and beautiful vistas. Himalayas, Ladakh, India.

Woke up at 11,000 and beautiful vistas. Himalayas, Ladakh, India.

 You can't leave until you have eaten said grandmother as she prepared the food over an open fire in the hut they live in. We were on our way out and she handed me an egg taco and a cup of watered down coffee. She stood there and watched me eat to make sure I finished it. Then she gave me more. Every home I visited in the countryside the same thing happened. Simple but great tasting food. I was so full I couldn't eat for the rest of the day. Chiapas, Mexico

You can't leave until you have eaten said grandmother as she prepared the food over an open fire in the hut they live in. We were on our way out and she handed me an egg taco and a cup of watered down coffee. She stood there and watched me eat to make sure I finished it. Then she gave me more. Every home I visited in the countryside the same thing happened. Simple but great tasting food. I was so full I couldn't eat for the rest of the day. Chiapas, Mexico

 Made a difference with a group of kids lives. Fundraised for @kidsofkathmandu and working on more for 2017!

Made a difference with a group of kids lives. Fundraised for @kidsofkathmandu and working on more for 2017!

 My last post of this series. Photographed while on the road between Shillong, and Kochi India. The great adventure of 2016 started in 2015. My old friend Greg @dospinguinosindia proposed we do something a little crazy for 2016. Together we participated in the Rickshaw Run. Driving 2500 miles through India in an auto Rickshaw. Just for the hell of it, and to fundraise for orphanages in India and in Nepal. Surprisingly we survived this, and lived to tell the story. It was an amazing thing to do with lots of laughs, scares, bad roads, terrible food, horrific hotels, time wasted searching for elusive rickshaw parts, very warm beer, copious sweating, near misses with homicidal bus drivers, cows, and amazing interactions with Indians from all walks of life that were happy to see us. Even if they did think we were a little insane, ok very insane. There are so many images left to show, and people to talk about from 2016. I did my best to cover the highlights. My deepest gratitude to my clients, friends, followers, and people who let me into their lives to photograph them. A special thanks to my wife  Scherezade Garcia  who gives me the freedom to do what I love even when she tells me things like "wait a minute you are driving that thing across India? I don't know if I like that"Together you made 2016 great, both in my work, and personally. Although those worlds occupy the same space in my life. I am what I do! Onward to an awe inspiring 2017.

My last post of this series. Photographed while on the road between Shillong, and Kochi India. The great adventure of 2016 started in 2015. My old friend Greg @dospinguinosindia proposed we do something a little crazy for 2016. Together we participated in the Rickshaw Run. Driving 2500 miles through India in an auto Rickshaw. Just for the hell of it, and to fundraise for orphanages in India and in Nepal. Surprisingly we survived this, and lived to tell the story. It was an amazing thing to do with lots of laughs, scares, bad roads, terrible food, horrific hotels, time wasted searching for elusive rickshaw parts, very warm beer, copious sweating, near misses with homicidal bus drivers, cows, and amazing interactions with Indians from all walks of life that were happy to see us. Even if they did think we were a little insane, ok very insane. There are so many images left to show, and people to talk about from 2016. I did my best to cover the highlights. My deepest gratitude to my clients, friends, followers, and people who let me into their lives to photograph them. A special thanks to my wife Scherezade Garcia who gives me the freedom to do what I love even when she tells me things like "wait a minute you are driving that thing across India? I don't know if I like that"Together you made 2016 great, both in my work, and personally. Although those worlds occupy the same space in my life. I am what I do! Onward to an awe inspiring 2017.

"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 literally. 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.

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

Having photography LEGS in this economy.

A recent shoot for Parker, The very awesome Diana, and her long legs waiting on set.I have always been interested in photographing all sorts of things people, places, and things. In the business of photography that can be considered a bad thing. The argument being that you can't do everything equally well. How can you be an expert in all things? I do agree with that argument to a degree. Which means that if you want to work you have to specialize in one particular subject or style. Being a generalist has always been "not the way to do it." Although it has been the way I have been able to stay in this constantly changing business. The way I look at my job is that I tell stories, visual stories. I use a variety of styles to achieve that whether its in a reportage style where its just me, and my camera or a big todo in a studio with lots of production and crew. So I am a bit of a cameleon when it comes to visual style. I like to try different things all the time, and I really try to listen to my clients on what their needs are. So that can take me from photographing a peanut farm in Haiti, a baby formula plant in Singapore, a studio in NYC shooting fashion, to shooting advertising on a beach in Miami. It has been working for me for the last 20+ years (I am not as old as you are thinking), and still is. Not to say that this is the way to do it, but it has been my journey. That doesn't mean that I can take it easy, and relax...can't do that. It's harder than ever to earn a living in the creative arts. In order to stay in the mix you have to think like an artist and evolve, always evolve.

Blog Biennial: There's no crying in photography!

2 years ago this month I started this blog. Like any photographer I spent a lot of time torturing myself as to why I should start a blog, and trying to convince myself not to. Ugh! more work in front of a computer! What will it look like? What will I say?  Is my work interesting? Do I have anything to say? Is what I have to say interesting? Will I be able to keep adding content? Will anyone be listening or will it be more screaming into an empty room trying to reach people? Will anyone care? All these things rattled in my brain, which added to the procrastination, and delayed in getting off the ground. So I had to stop crying, plow ahead, and found my voice as well as the look along the way. It has been hard work staying focused, and resisting the temptation to post anything just to keep it current. I am proud of being able to keep up with it. It is definitely a long term project with slow returns, but I feel it has been successful in many ways. So those who are listening.....Many thanks!

I will be trying my best to keep it interesting for you.

Dennis Brutus 1924 – 2009

A few years ago I had the distinct pleasure photographing Dennis Brutus, South African poet, anti-apartheid fighter, human-rights activist, and just a all around cool guy. Probably one of the most interesting people I have ever photographed. Not to mention I shot it large format, and on Polaroid...man I miss Polaroid, and the world is going to miss a truly great man who sacrificed much for his beliefs. I am glad I got my few moments with him.

Memorial is Sunday, January 17, 2010 2pm at The Brecht Forum 451 West Street, between Bank and Bethune Streets, NYC. click for directions.

Haiti in crisis

Meet Isabelle who lives somewhere near Cange, Haiti. We met 3 weeks ago when I was in Haiti working on a project. We chatted a little in my very limited French/Creole which she found quite funny, and found her to be a very sweet girl with a sense of humor. I really hope she, and her family are OK.

Lets band together to help her people, and her country. Haiti is a very special place with special people.

I have personally worked with, and seen the results of these two organizations. They are a very dedicated group of people working in great organizations that use your donations to maximum effect. Please donate, and tell your friends, family members, co-workers, everyone!

Partners in Health The PIH Vision: Whatever it takes At its root, our mission is both medical and moral. It is based on solidarity, rather than charity alone. When a person in Peru, or Siberia, or rural Haiti falls ill, PIH uses all of the means at our disposal to make them well—from pressuring drug manufacturers, to lobbying policy makers, to providing medical care and social services. Whatever it takes. Just as we would do if a member of our own family—or we ourselves—were ill.

Direct Relief Policy Regarding Donations for Haiti Because of the intense attention and the outpouring of generosity we have seen in response to the tragic earthquake in Haiti, we believe it is important to note that 100% of every dollar that is designated for the Haiti earthquake will be used only to pay programmatic expenses related to assisting people in Haiti.

14 minutes, 58 seconds left

A reality TV show (housewives of NJ) was filmed at a restaurant (Izakaya) at the Borgata hotel in Atlantic city where some of my large scale artwork is hanging.  The restaurant was designed by Alvarez+Brock, and looks fabulous. Anyway in the video clip look for my art between 10 and 12 seconds mark.  Also there are small parts of the other pieces shown later on in the show. Click here, here, and here to see the process of creating the art for the project. So there you go 2 seconds...I have 14 minutes and 58 seconds of fame left! I better get working on it.

APA's Supersites event with Livebooks

APA|NY had their "Supersites" event this past Wednesday at Happy Monkey studio sponsored by Livebooks and Agency Access, and it was a full house. It was a great night with lots of hard questions asked by the audience, and a very experienced panel from the buying side of photography. There were agency art buyers, a creative director, and magazine photo editors. Louisa Curtis a creative consultant for photographers did a fabulous job moderating and eliciting some great insights from the panelists. I think everyone left with a much better sense of what buyers expect to see in photographers websites and marketing. There's my photo up there projected on the big screen....well at least a big wall.

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Superhero

APA|NY and APA|LA are using one of my images to announce their "Super Sites" event this coming May 14, 2008. It's going to be a great event with an awesome panel of professionals on what works and what doesn't in web marketing. Check out the site for more info APA|NY