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Vasquez gets edgy with fashion photos

Andrew Vasquez pauses during a shoot to review images with models Sydney Lee, Monique Zirkelbach and stylist and model Hayley Glass on Feb. 10. Vasquez graduated in spring 2012 with a major in photography. The photo shoot took place at an abandoned gas station in downtown Covina. / photo by Chelsea Knight

Andrew Vasquez pauses during a shoot to review images with models Sydney Lee, Monique Zirkelbach and stylist and model Hayley Glass on Feb. 10. Vasquez graduated in spring 2012 with a major in photography. The photo shoot took place at an abandoned gas station in downtown Covina. / photo by Chelsea Knight

Monica Dien
Staff Writer

Sexy and edgy is the mantra that fashion photographer and University of La Verne alumnus Andrew Vasquez uses to describe his works of art. His work has been thought of as so bold, Vasquez has claimed that some Los Angeles agencies have asked him to tone it down.

“My style is really edgy but not overly. There’s a big difference between fashion sexy and glamour sexy like Playboy,” Vasquez said.

“L.A. is a fashion capital but it is more commercial.”

Before Vasquez entered the world of fashion photography, he studied photography at ULV where he was able to develop his skills.

“(ULV) made me technically aware of my camera and how to use it correctly,” Vasquez said. “I took what I learned and applied it to my actual photography.”

Vasquez’s adviser, Professor of Photography Gary Colby, describes Vasquez as a gifted photographer.

“Andrew is very energetic and was always focused,” Colby said. “His work is very contemporary and he likes what’s going on.”

As a freelance photographer, Vasquez is constantly on the go working with makeup artists, professional models and agencies to create his art.

“I’m at a point where I have five photo shoots this week,” Vasquez said.

“I love creating beautiful images that really speak to people.”

Although Vasquez specializes in fashion photography, he originally pursued photo journalism. Seeing the realities of the field changed his mind. After his first fashion shoot with a friend, he was drawn to the creative aspect of not only capturing a photo but also having a hand in creating it.

“People (in fashion) are so passionate and dedicated,” Vasquez said.

“When you work with these people you get a level of work that you wouldn’t have with someone who is not passionate.”

After shooting fashion for a few years, Vasquez recalls the highlight of his career was when one of his shoots was interrupted by bad weather. His make up artist called and told him of the new location they had just booked – a castle in Laguna Beach. The opportunity opened up doors to work with indie designer Gita Salem.

“It happened so fast, it was a happy accident,” Vasquez said.

After contacting Salem, whose work has been sported by Miley Cyrus and Prince, Vasquez was able to pull $6,000 worth of clothes, including a $1600 one-of-a kind jacket for his shoot.

Vasquez currently has a gallery showing at The Colony at Loft 204 in Claremont, where his work is up for sale. The curator and friend of Vasquez, Jenelle Rensch, selected the images that were her favorite.

“(Vasquez’s) work features beautiful people in beautiful places,” Rensch said.

She said that two of his popular pieces have sold so far, with talks of getting more prints for the sought out photography.

With the gallery, Vasquez was always curious about how people who do not know fashion photography react to his photos.

“I wanted to see what people that I don’t know would be able to grasp anything from it and they did,” Vasquez said.

Vasquez hopes to bring his career to New York within the next two years.

“This is a job and it feels so weird to call it that because it doesn’t feel like one,” Vasquez said. “I’m thankful for being able to do this because I could someday get paid for shooting pretty girls all day.”

“I’m the envy of (my) guy friends.”

Monica Dien can be reached at monica.dien@laverne.edu.

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