My name is Joseph and I'm a 24 year old, American-born photographer living and photographing weddings in Antigua Guatemala. My creative journey began as a child with music and drawing. My exploration into photography began in 2011, when I started learning the basic principles of photography. The feedback my work received online encouraged me to spend more time viewing the world around me through a lens. As my social media presence grew, I was awarded a scholarship from the U.S. Department of State to travel and photograph through Europe.
While I was fascinated by photography in college, I had always considered it a hobby. My time spent traveling thought Europe changed that. There, I learned the value of story telling and connected with some incredibly talented individuals in the industry. When I moved back to the United States in 2015, I decided to pursue photography more professionally. That year I began my career as a part-time photographer at Berea College, where I picked up a professional camera for the first time. I took a camera with me everywhere I went and worked every day to teach myself to become a better photographer. A year later, I relocated to Costa Rica where I went full-time as a freelance photographer and began learning under veteran photographers in the destination wedding photography industry.
Fast forward to today and so much has changed. I am currently living in an incredibly beautiful city where I am a full-time destination wedding photographer in Antigua Guatemala. I have traveled and lived throughout the world and am inspired by the stories of the people and places I've encountered on my journey. My creative pursuits have come to define who I am, and my love of story telling is a crucial element of who I am as person and artist. I'm learning every day to not cut corners in my art form, to deliver the best results—always. Every day is another page in this journey, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Approach to Photography
My photography often produces more questions than answers. The words of Cartier-Bresson above resonate with my creative palette. I am not a photographer who invents moments with chic poses and unnatural lights. Rather, my passion lies in capturing the moments that inspire me as they occur in real time. I draw inspiration from the words of Ansel Adams: "you don't take a photograph, you make it." I believe that is the difference between hiring a professional and handing your iPhone off to a friend. I focus on composing light, emotion, and movement in my photographs in a way that creatively tells a story. It is my aim to evoke emotion in every photograph, to preserve beautiful moments that might otherwise disappear. Intention can make all the difference in a photograph. I love the journey of creative discovery. Through photography I am able to truly see the moments around me and share those moments with others who could not otherwise see them.
- because it makes me come alive
- to use the unique gift i have been given
- to share and discover moments through a creative medium
- favorite films: Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Tree of Life, Gladiator
- favorite books: The Alchemist, The Horse and His Boy
- favorite photographers: Jose Villa, Ben Sasso, Joe Greer
Photo By: Kevin Heslin
Below I have listed three photographers who have had the greatest influence on my work and personal journey. There are so many more generous and creative individuals who have guided and inspired me throughout the years, but the three listed below have majorly shaped the way I approach photography today. I highly encourage you to view their portfolios and experience the amazing photographs they create. My experience as a second wedding photographer for these individuals allowed me to be creative with my photography and taught me the technical skills I needed to turn my passion into my profession. I love using the creativity I learned as a second shooter for other photographers to deliver fantastic photos to the couples who chose to book me. It’s a gift I will never take for granted.
Caleb Irvin. Caleb Irvin is a published wedding photographer in central Kentucky. In college, I was lucky enough to befriend Caleb throughmutual friend and photographer, Justin Skeens. As a young photographer, I looked up to Caleb’s work and aimed to one day be as good as he is. In the summer immediately following my graduation, Caleb was kind enough to hire me as a second photographer. He taught me the importance of NEVER using a shot list. To Caleb, check lists killed creativity. Caleb taught me that it was important to let the story of the day naturally evolve and that being aware of capturing that story was the most important part of photographing a wedding. Because of Caleb I began to view wedding photography as an art that needed to be carefully approached with a creative mind and an open heart. To this day I am still amazed at the creativity that flows from his mind and camera.
Kevin Heslin. Kevin Heslin is a premium destination wedding photographer based in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. I studied under Kevin for 18 months between 2016-2018. Kevin taught me the more advanced side of wedding photography. He regularly reviewed my portfolio and would give me tips on how to constantly improve my photography. Often times, Kevin would throw me in way over my head to let me learn from personal experience. He challenged me to grow as a person and photographer. Kevin always encouraged me to take new opportunities and made possible my progress today. What I learned from Kevin about the business side of wedding photography has proved invaluable. I was so fortunate to have a friend and mentor like Kevin during my time in Costa Rica. To this day he remains a close friend and someone whose work I hold in high regard. Without Kevin I would not be capturing the stories of so many couples like I do today.
Daniel Lopez Perez. Daniel and Mishka are destination wedding photographers living on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. When I met Daniel and Mishka, I was immediately taken up by how kind they are. Their humility and willingness to help make my transition to Antigua Guatemala easy put me in awe. Not only are their photographs some of my favorite to look through, but they are also some of my favorite people with which to spend my free time. Their work and friendship have influenced me greatly.
Every accomplishment in my life is backed by incredible individuals who prayed for, inspired, and supported me more than I could ever have deserved. In an effort to pay it forward to future generations of young creatives, I donate my time, talents, and resources to youth around the world wanting to learn photography. I also give financially to causes I believe are making a difference around the world.