Image Issue: Javi Gutierrez

Javi Gutierrez used to think of photography as a hobby.

Now, after his day job brought him to Columbus, his passion has become his profession. His wandering eye has led to a variety of exotic locales, but through his lens, the capital city takes on an otherworldly feel.

The way he places his subjects, just a small character in the overwhelming scope of the world, gives his work an imaginative quality, a way for us to view ourselves that isn’t so self-centric.

Mantra: “Meet everyone, explore anything.”

First camera: Nikon D5000

Last camera: Nikon D750 (Nikon 50mm, Sigma 24mm lenses)

When I first moved in to Columbus and started exploring around, I quickly noticed that there are a great variety of locations for any type of photography. There’s a lot of metro parks for those interested in landscape photography, areas like the Short North and the OSU campus are great for street photography, and if you’re more interested in architecture, downtown Columbus offers some very unique views. But most importantly, I think that what makes Columbus a great city for photographers is the people. Being such an artsy city, I’ve been able to meet and collaborate with lots of fellow photographers and creatives, which has helped me grow as an artist.

You still need traditional photography to understand the basics. It doesn’t matter if you’re using an old film camera or the latest phone in the market, you still need to understand light and composition. As someone with an engineering background, my first interest in photography was due to the mechanic aspect of it. I was intrigued how balancing shutter speed, aperture and ISO, could lead to art. Little by little these concepts became second nature, which helped me focus on what I had in front of me. At the end of the day, even if you’re using a phone, understanding what’s happening behind the scenes will make you a better photographer.

Some of my favorite photos have happened in the most random locations. Time and time again I’ve aimlessly driven around town to find amazing hidden gems to photograph. In addition to that, since most of my work now is travel photography, everywhere I go I try to meet with locals. I believe the best way to explore a new town is to see it from the eyes of a local. Following this philosophy has helped me meet some great people, and see a lot of beautiful places.