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Rising Stars: Meet Gabriel Gastelum

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gabriel Gastelum.

Hi Gabriel, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
After graduating from the University of Washington, I was prepped to go to law school and become a lawyer. After working for a bit, I realized it wasn’t the path for me. I quit my job and backpacked Southeast Asia for a summer. It was there that I truly found my passion for taking portraits.

So I afterwards I bought a fancy camera and decided to pursue photography full time. I moved to Los Angeles in 2011 and it’s been an amazing roller coaster ever since! I started by working for non-profits and traveling all over the world to capture people. But it evolved to portraiture of people from all walks of life. Celebs, artists, dancers, drag queens, etc. I also capture weddings all over the world. It was after working with some drag queens from Rupaul’s Drag Race that I myself started to dip my toes into the drag queen world.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has truly not been a smooth road. Pursuing arts in Los Angeles is a hustle unlike any other. The market is so saturated that you really have to work hard to stand out and do it full time.

I’m sure most creators in Los Angeles have suffered through many of the same things. But if you love what you are doing, it truly won’t stop you. and it hasn’t so far!

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am an international lifestyle photographer. I capture people all over the world. Portraiture and weddings are what I am known for and specialize in. I pride myself in capturing that special moment.

I am most proud of my work with the LGBTQ community. I’ve had the honor to capture true trailblazers in the community for their creative projects and it’s been such a wonderful thing to see. I am also known as one of the few bearded drag queens in the queer scene here in Los Angeles. That has been SUPER fun!

I truly don’t know how to answer what sets me apart from others. I am not sure if it’s my work per say, but so many people have told me that shooting with me was so much fun. That is my number one rule for a shoot. Just have fun, don’t take it too seriously. And that will always result in a capture that they will love. I may not be the best photographer technically, but clients keep coming back because they just enjoying the shooting so much. We have fun.

What were you like growing up?
You know when you’d go to the party as a kid, and there was always that kid in corner alone not wanting to be there?

That was me.

I just wanted to be in my room reading or playing video games.

I grew up in a small border town in Arizona and it was wonderful. I have the most loving and wonderful family and I really only have fond memories of growing up. I am very lucky.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
All images by Gabriel Gastelum

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