Manuel Guerzoni – San Francisco Photographer

I just discovered Manuel Guerzoni fairly recently.  He’s definitely a photographer that I now greatly admire and plan to follow his work closely.

I admire most types of photography in some way or another, even if I have no interest in pursuing all of it myself.  For example, I have no interest in sports but I can’t say that I have never admired a sports photo, even if I have zero interest in taking those shots myself.  However, I have longed for years to document the faces I pass in the streets as they do whatever it is they are doing.  I love to see an image of a person being uniquely themselves in a real environment.  For this reason, the studio and all of its contrived lighting and posing holds nothing for me.  The same goes for weddings.  If I have to pose the subject and introduce “fake” lights then it ceases to be interesting to me.

I’m shy.  It’s so hard to break through the fear that I am going to offend somebody, make them uncomfortable or even angry.  So when I get the rare break from my small children these days, I wander my neighborhoods and take pictures of things like walls, textures, insects and experiment with depth of field on subjects like yards and homes.  This satisfies to a point, but someday I must step over the line and follow the calling to document people.  Perhaps when my kids are older…

Anyway, Manuel was born and raised in France but now lives in San Francisco.  I imagine that due to the large and varied culture of San Francisco that there is a pretty inexhaustible supply of subject matter to work with!  Here in my comparatively provincial town of Napa, interesting photographic material is not so prevalent.

One of the things that I really like about Manuel as a photographer, is the acknowledgment that gear is not what makes a photographer good.  A great quote from an interview with Manuel Guerzoni is “If you’re a good photographer, you will be a good photographer with any camera in your hand.”  I agree!  I once had the privilege of spending an afternoon with the great fashion photographer, Bret Lopez.  He showed me lots of prints made with a lot of different cameras.  Some were taken with a very expensive DSLR and some were older and taken with a high-end film camera.  These were all great prints of course.  However, what really impressed me were the inexpensive Polaroids and prints from toy cameras.

Yes, ultimately it is the photographer and not the gear that takes a great photo.  I remind myself of this when I start to wish that I could afford more than what I have to work with.

Here are my favorite images from Manuel’s portfolio.  You can click on each image to be taken to the general category on his portfolio site:

You can also view more of his work on his San Francisco Daily Photo blog.  Here are my two favorites, which will take you to the image on his blog when clicked on:




Ferry Plaza

Ferry Plaza

The Horde

The Horde

So, it is now 12:18 am Pacific time.  Drats!  I almost made it in time for Photographer Thursday.  Babies have a way of screwing up your plans.  Anyway, better luck next week huh?

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