T+L’s Photo Contest Finalists: Tim Guiteras
“While visiting many countries ... as well as many places within America,” said Guiteras, “I learned to appreciate different cultures and perspectives and find beauty in people and places that many overlook.”
His abstract shot of an unseen boat’s wake grabbed our judges’ attention, and earned him a spot as a finalist in our 2017 Photo Contest. Take a look at some his favorite shots below, and don't forget to vote for your favorite of our finalists.
T+L: How would describe your style of photography?
Tim Guiteras: I would say my photographic style is abstract, deliberate, unorthodox, and empathic — I use my photography as a tool to tell a story and connect my audience with my subject. Regardless of the subject, my photographs echo a grounding in studio art photography, evident in my attention to composition, limited color pallet, contrast, symbolism, and juxtaposition.
T+L: What do you look for when looking for a great shot?
TG: Every great photo starts with a story. You can have perfect composition, contrast, lighting, and subject, but without a great story, the photograph will never move the audience in any significant way. One of my challenges as a travel photographer is to cast familiar scenes in unorthodox and inspiring ways. I seek out compositions that are realistic, yet so obscure and alluring that they challenge conceived reality and inspire the viewer to reconsider beauty, to glimpse my perspective. Indeed, the ability to change the way people experience the world though my photography is what keeps me motivated, passionate, and forever curious.
T+L: What makes a great travel photographer?
TG: There’s a huge different between travel photographers who create images that display a place and travel photographers who create images that remain in our minds forever and become a part of how we as humans understand our world. It’s the art and skill of a great travel photographer to create the latter. Insight, research, and cultural understanding are some of the elements that great travel photographers must invest time in and which come out directly or indirectly in their final images. Only through deep connection with the subject and its surrounding context can a travel photographer add his/her unique perspective to a place and cast it in an original light.
T+L: Tell us about yourself as a photographer.
TG: I was fortunate to experience the world at a young age through travel and began taking photographs as a way to document what I saw and experienced. Since then, my photography has matured and improved significantly in breadth, quality, and artistic form, yet my purpose remained the same — to share my perspective of the world with others. While I have never received a formal education in photography, my art is enriched by personal study of master photographers such as Ansel Adams and Steve McCurry and countless hours scrutinizing travel magazines.
The sun sets on a clear winter evening on the coast of Big Sur, California. Famous for its rock-studded coastline, green coastal forests, and beach waterfalls, Big Sur offers great hiking, exploring, and walking along its beautiful beaches. The beach in this photograph is home to the popularly photographed Keyhole Rock, a huge rock sitting in the surf with a hole through which the sun's light shines through. I chose to instead photograph a different side of the rock, where the sun's eclipse by the rock and a high aperture on my camera let me create this unique sun flare effect. The ocean's setting tide left the remains of beachgoer's footprints and a beautiful reflection of the orange and blue sunset. Can you spot the person in this photo?
Teeth of Dragons
A small river boat crosses the Li River in Guilin, China, during a March rain shower. The towering limestone karsks emerging from the river's coast create an awe-inspiring sense of scale in the city and, as myth upholds, resemble the teeth of a thousand dragons. The afternoon's soft light and wet air created an image with pastel-like colors and texture.
To achieve this unique perspective, I dropped a crystal ball in front of my camera and captured this photo with a fast shutter speed as the ball fell between my lens and the illuminated New York City skyline, distorting it and creating a unique and captivating view of an otherwise commonplace New York cityscape.
A couple walk the quaint, historic streets of Seville, Spain. Capital of Southern Spain's Andalusia region, Seville offers a glimpse into Spains rich culture: flamenco dancing, bull fighting, towering cathedrals, Spanish architecture, and a large river binding the city together. The Gothic Seville Cathedral is the site of Christopher Columbus’s tomb and a Moorish minaret turned bell tower, the Giralda.
Hiking 11 miles from the rim of the Grand Canyon was worth the trek. After miles of being surrounded by towering canyon walls, the trail turned and opened up to this view of Havasu Falls, a stunning desert oasis on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. The campground's many waterfalls and turquoise water make for a fantastic camping getaway. Sound enticing? Better plan ahead because campsites are already booked for the rest of the year.
To achieve a unique perspective while free diving in Belize, I free-dove 40 feet below the oceans surface and looked up at this enigmatic figure, suspended in seemingly weightless space. In taking the photograph, I focused on how the water's textured surface appears to disconnect the subject from its surroundings and increase the depth of the landscape. The sun's bright white rays juxtaposed against the ocean's ominous, dark blue depths evoke a duality vertically across the landscape of light versus dark, leaving the subject suspended in between these two opposing forces. Indeed, this image shows the presence of light as both a symbolic guiding archetype and as a physical phenomenon, diffracting through the ocean's blue surface to evoke mood, rich color, and ultimately a landscape of unique beauty. The warm waters of Belize proved to be one of the most enjoyable and relaxing trips thus far, offering a great balance between leisure and aquatic adventure.
The Wedge—a manmade mistake, a manmade phenomenon. Every summer, south-facing swell from Mexico travels up the coast and gets channeled into Newport Beach's most famous wave, The Wedge. The man-made jetty amplifies the swell and creates a surfing spectacle popular to surfers and spectators alike. On the biggest swell of the year, Jason Rhodes tames the beast and escapes the brutal wipeout that all surfers at The Wedge risk. Welcome to the gladiator pit of California surfing.
I took this image on top of the Kelso Dunes sand dunes in the Mojave Desert. Only a short distance from Los Angeles, the desert offers a totally unique landscape and experience from the urban city. What results is a landscape that echoes prehistoric times devoid of civilization.
Natural lighting on a woman selling sweet potatoes in Longsheng, China. The detail and contrast of her illuminated face caught my eye during my travels through the rice patties of Longsheng. After taking the photograph, I had the chance to speak with the woman and learn her powerful story.
As part of an homage to Ansel Adams, I traveled to New Mexico to capture the illuminated clouds of a desert thunder storm. Similar to Adams' work, this black and white image displays contrast between extreme whites and rich blacks. Featured in the foreground is the base camp of Philmont Scouting Ranch, a 140,000 acre reserve featuring breathtaking stargazing, various outdoors activities, the wreckage of a crashed WW2 bomber, and endless backpacking trails.