“Photographing people is my way of getting to know them!”
Born in Porvenir, Nayarit, photographer, writer and singer Juan Pablo Hernández, came from humble beginnings but never gave up on his dreams. While in secondary school, he recalls that he didn’t have much access to cameras for financial reasons, but his aunt had a little inexpensive camera she let him use. He was fascinated by how something so tiny could magically capture images and moments, and his interest in photography was born. Saving his pesos diligently, he was finally able to buy his very own little “point-and-shoot” camera, in a local tianguis, or flea market.
Much to the chagrin of his mother, all the money he saved went into his photography and he gradually updated his camera equipment. However, it was not until university that Hernández took a basic photography course and purchased his first professional camera, a Pentax. Since those were the days before digital cameras, he also learned to develop film and print photos. From day one, people were his favorite subjects and he has always been fascinated by light (particularly sunlight) and how using it in innovative ways, could help him create interesting effects and memorable images.
Hernández was hired for his first paid photo shoot, to document the wedding of friends. He recalls, “I was very nervous, because unlike the digital cameras of today, there was no way of knowing if the pictures had turned out until they were developed.” But the photos turned out extremely well and through word of mouth and proven results, he was hired to photograph more special events such as weddings and quinceaneras (traditional Mexican “Sweet 15” parties) and his career as a professional photographer took off.
As a reporter and writer for the local newspaper Tribuna de la Bahia, Hernández covered a multitude of events in and around Puerto Vallarta. However, his career escalated rapidly, when he began taking photos for the Departamento de Cultura—the state of Jalisco department of culture. The quality of his photography was noticed outside of Vallarta and subsequently his images were purchased by larger publications such as newspapers in Guadalajara.
Currently, Hernández is an editorial associate for Vallarta Lifestyles Publishing Group. He recalls with clarity and emotion, the day he saw his first photo published in Vallarta Lifestyles magazine and describes it as a “glorious and defining moment.” People are very important to him and he doesn’t ever want to stop working with them and capturing their true essence in his photos. He finds nothing more fulfilling, as when someone views a photo he’s taken of them for the first time and he can see the joy in their face when they are moved by his work.
This talented man is also a very humble person and although he doesn’t often mention it he is also an aspiring singer, who is working at recording his first CD—which will be ballads in English and in Spanish. You haven’t heard the last of the talented and multi faceted Juan Pablo Hernández. The best is yet to come!