Featured Photographer, Joe Aguirre
I am really happy to feature the work of Joe Aguirre today. He is a great guy and a good friend. He is also one of the most prolific shooters I know, and always seems to have a ton of work to share. I have been pushing Joe for a while to be featured, as he has been on the site before, here, here and his bag here. Come and see the delightful work of Thoughtlesshero. Warning for those at work or on public transport, there are naked ladies inside.

First of all, welcome to JCH, please tell us about yourself

Thanks for having me, dude. I’m 29 and I live in San Francisco CA.  I discovered my passion for photography in my early 20’s and have been teaching myself how to make photos ever since.

I wish there was more to say…I live in an amazing city and I always have a camera up to my face. I have a day job and I freelance sometimes… Mostly I make photographs for me. I shoot the things that interest me: city landscapes, strangers, my cat, and my asshole friends.

You shoot more than probably anyone I know, in a variety of formats and with different gear, why is this? Too many to choose or not settled on a combination you prefer?

I usually grab what’s closest to the door. My most used cameras are my Leica M6, Canon G12, and LC-A. I like different styles and genres of photography, and my cameras are useful tools to create different looking photographs. If I can get away with it, I love to use my Nikon F4 for hired work… When I sit and think about it, I realize I have so many cameras and so little of everything else – one pair of shoes and enough clothes for a week or so without needing to do laundry… I guess at some point I decided that I would rather have money for film than for a new pair of sneakers.

I see a lot of your work online, it seems to be a reflection of your lifestyle. How would you describe your photography?

I don’t know…I’m just there. Sometimes a shot will appear. If not, I just keep walking, or doing what I’m doing at the time. I would like to be deeper than that, but my photos are created from a need to make photos. Sometimes I try to create a concept, but I feel I work best by just going out and being places, and then editing down after. I find themes in my photos much easier that way.

How do you get yourself motived to shoot? What inspires you?

I just carry a camera everywhere. It’s as routine as leaving the house with my wallet and keys. My friends through photography give me a push, advice, and most importantly they give me the truth. It’s hard to let someone talk about my photos, especially if they are going to say what they don’t like, but I value certain people’s words when it comes to my photos. I have conversations daily with Justin Vogel, Emilio Banuelos, Matt Obrey and Christos Kapatos— all very different thinkers and shooters but they all have my respect and undivided attention when it comes to getting advice. It’s not often you can bond with a stranger and then feel close enough to let them in. Killing your darlings is a hard thing to do, but it has also made me stronger. I am motivated by the great images my friends produce— it drives me to keep loading my camera to go out and improve but also to stay confident.

What is the biggest challenge you currently face with your photography?

Honestly, my biggest problem is figuring out what to do with all of it. For now, I’m just going to learn as much as I can, shoot often, and remain as true to myself as possible.

What is an Icarus and what does it have to do with your photography?

Icarus is my F3 Savannah cat and best friend. He guards my cameras for me.

I hear you like to take pictures of nudey ladies too, is this true?

I do— I enjoy the interaction between subject and photographer. I like to photograph real people and not someone who is a model. Mostly my friends volunteer and it’s all pretty relaxed and not awkward. If I meet a stranger that I want to photograph nude I will hand them my card, explain to them that I’m not (that) creepy, and tell them that if they look at my website and if they are down then I would love for them to come over. So, if any of you readers are in San Francisco and like to listen to The Cure while being photographed and aren’t allergic to cats, send me an email!

Are there any photographers that inspire you or influence your work?

I admire Ying Tang, John Goldsmith (anyone in Strange.rs), Benjamin Heath, Richard Bram, Mike Avina.. – so many wonderful photographers.  I am inspired by the interactions I have had with them – they are all amazing people with lots of good things to say. I feel very lucky to know a lot of the people I have met while living in San Francisco and being part of its vast photo community. Lots of alternative process photographers inspire me to constantly be creative and try new things as well.

When it comes to the masters, I am a huge fan of Alex Webb, Bruce Davidson, and Mark Cohen. If I could only own three photographs it would be one from each of them.

Where would you like to see your photography develop in the future?

I would like to stop being such a shithead and make photography my full time job. By the end of this year I will hopefully be working steady freelancing and possibly have a better set up for studio portraits.

Do you have any upcoming projects or new pieces that you would like to share with the readers of JCH?

Currently working on a few things, the hard part is getting to the editing phase. That’s when the harder part starts. I want to show more of my work in galleries and zines, and possibly make my own zine that will lead to a bigger art book.


Thanks to Joe for being a good sport and finally sharing his work with us. He has been a big help in encouraging me with my work, so I love seeing his stuff on the site. Joe’s photography has a kind of purity that I don’t often see. If I didn’t know him better I would say almost a kind of innocence that comes through in his images. Hopefully now he will finally give me a print to put on my wall.

Please check out Joe’s links and make sure you come and comment.

Please remember that the images are reproduced with the kind permission of Joe Aguirre and may not be used or reproduced without permission