Johnny De Guzman

Photos by Johnny de Guzman

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Full blooded Filipino born 1989, I am no stranger to moving around. Change doesn’t scare me it excites me. I popped out of my mother’s belly in Saudi Arabia and moved shortly after because she thought it an unfit place to raise a child. I’m an only child and my parents spoiled me rotten.

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I wouldn’t have favored it at all if they did otherwise. We’ve lived in California and Illinois. But several times in each state. I enjoy traveling very much, even more when it’s not at my expense. Sometimes I have a bad habit of leaving something unfinished, I lose interest too quickly. I have horrible luck with people’s parents walking in on my shared intimate moments. Once, within five minutes of meeting a girl I asked her if she wanted to make out. Her breath tasted like vodka. Art has a major effect on everyone’s life, it has taken its toll on mine and continues to. When I was 18 I desperately wanted change and drove from Chicago to Los Angeles in 24 hours. I tried living on my own there for two months and concluded that I’m way too lazy to grow up. Currently I still live with my parents in a town where people all over Illinois go to, just to ride rollercoasters. In that very town I deliver pizzas to people too lazy to pick it up themselves. I’m majoring in Communications/Journalism and minor in Photojournalism.

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1) Can you tell us something about you?
As a child I hated having my picture taken and thought my mom was silly for wasting so much time taking photographs. Now I’ve inherited and even intensified the obsession of capturing moments in our lives.

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2) Where do you live and work now? 
Gurnee, IL. People venture to this town to ride the roller coasters, I deliver pizzas to hungry homes here.

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3) How long have you been a photographer?
Consistently for about three years, I grew interest in it pretty late. I got my first film SLR when I was 17 during my senior year in high school. But throughout my life I remember borrowing my mom’s point & shoot for capturing things I thought was picture worthy.

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4) How did you get into photography?
Primarily because I was heavily into skateboarding my senior year and I wanted to take skate photos of my friend’s. We all still skate now, I’ve just widen my horizon a little bit concerning subject matter.

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5) Where your inspiration comes from?
From other photographers I can name Patrick O’Dell and Ryan Schude off the top of my head. Their works have always managed to make me think to myself, “I need to get off my ass and do something… right now.” There are a lot of talented photographers that post on flickr and movies that are visually pleasing in the most subtle sense also really tickle my fancy.

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6) What does it mean for you streetphotography?
Capturing moments of everyday life out in public and preserving them forever. It can be the most mundane subject or act but is glorified and showcases the beauty we seem to look past. At times, the subject will be an oddity of some sort or dramatic that it’s a no brainer you have to point your camera and shoot.

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7) Can you tell us something about your portraits, what’s is important to focus for you?
Most were taken spontaneously, I can only think of two that involved a good dose of previsualization. A teacher that I really respected taught me that you should capture how the subject is naturally and not the way they wish to portray themselves. The “real” them so to speak. Usually I want the subject’s eyes in the photo, albeit them looking directly into the camera or somewhere else leading the viewer to search for the subject’s interest. Another thing that I look for, are subjects doing every day things that can be inadvertently so dramatic when captured correctly.

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8.) What are your future works, do you have a special project?
I’ve been way too busy but soon enough a series titled Subtle in Suburbia and a photo essay documenting my trip to the Philippines this summer.

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