Shoes and Souls Series: Shoes and Souls
"What I Let You See"
"What I Let You See"
With a serious conviction to create visual imagery, I picked up camera late in life, and my photographs grew out of the need to express myself artistically, capturing moments that, in essence, had filled my mind for years resulting in an emotional and soulful agitation since childhood. The repressed artist inside had finally escaped and was set free.
As a photographer, most of the time I find myself shooting within the stylistic convergence of the fine art, street, and documentary genres of photography. Photographers that have influenced my work and whom I admirer include Gordon Parks, Ernest Withers, Don Hogan Charles, Roy DeCarava, Gary Winogrand, Walker Evans, and Robert Frank to name only some. That being said, I developed a deep and personal appreciation for the 1950’s and 1960’s monochrome photography rooted in historical and social documentation. Those images somehow spoke to me in a significant way for many years previous to my interest in photography. My intention became to participate in that tradition of photographic expression and to become a contributing member of that lineage. My subject matter may not be what one most immediately and notably thinks about during those decades, but the style and substance are forever present in my artistic emulation and practice in a personal style I call “What I Let You See.” Thus, for these digital images (I shoot film on a rare occasion), once converted to black–and-white quickly deconstructs the visual scene and directs the focus of the image on composition, shape, light, texture and form, without any distracting elements the complexity of color can impose on an image. The result is an image that eliminates time from the visual equation and furthers the connection and continuity between the past and the present confirming that artistic continuum.
One of my current project series is In The Barber Shop. I envisioned shooting in barber shops for many years, even before I took up photography. The inspiration for this series began as a child when my father would take me to a barber shop on Olympic Boulevard in East Los Angeles. It was in this environment where my first experiences of feeling like being a part of a “community” took place; be it a community of men because women did not go into barber shops in those years. And it was in a barber shop I first learned some of the subtleties of how to interact and relate with others; understanding that getting a haircut, the intended purpose of the visit, was only one part of the overall experience and sometimes became rather inconsequential. In The Barber Shop people were brought together to talk, visit, hide, escape, relax, share secrets, complain, vent, boast, lie, and laugh and cry. It was a place to “let your hair down.” Yet, one could not escape the canvas in which this social interaction was taking place; the work, the practice, the art. Through In The Barber Shop, I have captured what is painted on that canvas.
Greg Goyo Vargas is a native Angeleno. Born on the east side of Los Angeles CA, schooled in Central and West Los Angeles, he now resides in Santa Monica. He picked up a camera, with serious intentions, at the age of 55, enrolling in a photography program at Santa Monica College. Since that time, he has been published in six national and international photography magazines, participated in fifteen juried exhibitions, and twice shown in a Southern California museum. In 2021, Greg was voted one of the “11 Best Street Photographers in Los Angeles” by Peerspace.com. He spends a good amount of time shooting street/documentary photography, capturing those moments in time. However, he also shoots fine art and industrial photography, plus headshots, portraits and environmental photography. He enjoys shooting with a series project in mind. Greg is co-partner at Los Angeles Photo Department where he performed photo assist, processing, and postproduction work on a completed, yet evolving, 4-year project called Loteria Encanto, a photographic recreation of the Mexican bingo game Loteria!
I am a founding partner of the Los Angeles Photo Department, a creative collaboration with Julie Crow, J. Crow Photography. As a team of photographers, we shoot a variety of special events, non-traditional weddings, lifestyle photographs, headshots, and family or individual fine art portraits. Great care is taken in making your photo shoot professional, fun, and comfortable. Together, we have combined talents to produce the most creative, stylistic, high quality images. The Los Angeles Photo Department just completed Loteria Encanto, a photographic reproduction of the Mexican Loteria! game cards which is available at the website LoteriaEncanto.com.