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Daily Inspiration: Meet Oscar Bracho

Today we’d like to introduce you to Oscar Bracho.

Hi Oscar, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Looking back at it, I first began getting into photography at an early age. Due to the tumultuous environment that I was living in throughout my teenage years, my family felt it was in my best interest to begin attending the Long Beach Youth Institute in 2012. This is a program local to my area that provides urban high school youth (that are historically disenfranchised) an opportunity to improve our technology, career, leadership, and decision-making skills. This was the first time I was introduced to a wide variety of multimedia. When I graduated high school in 2016, I had the opportunity to become an employee at the Youth Institute, teaching the newer generation of youth the same multimedia skills that I was taught throughout my adolescence. This position led me to gaining more experience with cameras, especially taking into consideration that I was required to capture photos of the program’s daily operations (which were used on their social media and website for promotional purposes).

However, my outlook on photography completely changed when I first got connected with my friend Anthony Duarte-Cha in 2019. Being introduced to him through mutual friends, I was initially impressed by his photography skills and portfolio. After seeing photos that Anthony took of Coldhart (and other notable musicians), I realized that there was a new scene that I wanted to capture in my work. This feeling of inspiration led to me making an impulse decision to buy a camera off of Anthony. From here, I began trying to capture photos of the music scene in Los Angeles.

This change of pace resulted in me constantly attending a multitude of nightclubs and functions in hopes of capturing the content of musicians that I looked up to. Within the span of a few months, I was able to take photos of many artists, including Freddie Gibbs, JPEGMAFIA, Saviii 3rd, Swifty Blue, $tupid Young, and 1TakeQuan. However, despite me feeling satisfied with the photos I was shooting, I slowly began feeling burnout towards the environment that these nightclubs and parties hosted. Added on to the pandemic that ended up closing down the entire world the following year, I knew that I needed to re-frame my approach towards photography.

Beginning throughout the year of 2020, I began shifting my attention towards portrait photography. This allowed me the chance to grow my portfolio and save up enough money to upgrade my equipment. This year was pivotal due to the fact that I had time to re-evaluate my entire life, helping me plan out what to do once Covid-19 restrictions loosened up. As soon as public life went back to normal, I knew that it was my chance to be able to reignite what I started a couple of years back. After contacting countless production companies and event coordinators, I was given the opportunity to be on the media list for LA Fashion Week. This allowed me the chance to begin networking with an array of fashion designers, models, and magazine publications. Over time, I was able to begin doing photography alongside CIE Fashion Magazine, expanding my portfolio to include editorial magazine photoshoots and fashion shows across the Los Angeles and Hollywood area. Throughout these experiences, I was able to get the greenlight through Raw Nation Entertainment to cover their official BET Weekend fashion show.

Everything changed once I was selected to be a photographer at Soulja Boy’s private birthday celebration in 2022. This event gave me the chance to meet and photograph Soulja Boy, French Montana, and many other A-List celebrities in Hollywood. The amount of connections and clientele that I gained from this event really propelled my photography to heights that I have never seen before. This is where I’m currently at as a 24-year-old, so as to where I’m going to be heading from here, I honestly don’t know. I just know that whenever a door opens up, I’m going to be the one to walk through it.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has been an extremely rough journey for me, to say the least. As previously mentioned, I went through a lot growing up in the city of Long Beach. Living in the Springdale West Apartments (a Section 8 Housing Project in Long Beach), I faced an onslaught of violence and financial hardships. The adversities that I faced throughout my adolescence still haunt me in ways that I’m trying to understand as a young adult. While I am fortunate enough to say that I have a strong support system now, it is still an everyday struggle for me, I can’t lie.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am currently focusing on doing fashion photography, portraits, headshots, and live events. Whether it is a fashion show, birthday party, or brand photoshoot, I aim to capture people at their greatest moments. If I were to choose something that makes me proud, it would have to be the many times that I have seen people smile and burst into joy after I take their photo. While I am usually nonchalant about the photos I shoot, it brings me a sense of joy when I see others smile from the services that I provide to them. As to what sets me apart from others, honestly, I try to not view the world like that. It’s a big world and we’re all trying to do what makes us fulfilled. I am no better than anybody else, I think that’s why I prefer to be behind the lens of the camera. I prefer to have other people be in the spotlight, and if I can provide the person the experience of feeling like a rockstar during a photoshoot, then that’s all that matters to me.

We love surprises, fun facts and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
Something that most people don’t really know about me is that I actually love to play the piano. I first started to teach myself the piano after I watched a video of Freddie Mercury playing the piano at Wembley Stadium. Just the way he captivated the entire crowd through his piano skills had me hypnotized. I remember beginning to teach myself through Youtube videos when I was in the seventh grade, and by the time I got to high school, I was the lead pianist at my high school’s jazz band. This was also accompanied by the fact that I was the drumline captain as well. However, the pinnacle of my musical memories as an adolescent was when I was invited to be a part of a Levi’s Commercial Shoot when I was 17. Levi’s and Vince Staples teamed up to be able to give back to the community of Long Beach by donating music equipment to those in the Youth Institute program. To be able to have the chance to not only meet but to also get Vince Staples’ personal phone number was a pipe-dream to me, so to have that become my reality is something that I still find surprising to myself to this day.

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Image Credits
All of the photos used in this article were captured by Oscar Bracho.

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