There is a deeply eerie feel to be found in the work of Gabriel Guerrero (@unworn). Gabriel’s dark and emotive editing style paints every scene in a haunting light - whispering a sense of isolation. His photos are gritty and most are completely devoid of color. Although many of his pictures are colorless, each piece is crafted in such a manner that the viewer connects with the companionless nature of Gabriel’s edits yet still longs for more. We were pleased to be able to have a back and forth with Gabriel regarding his style and his use of Mextures to achieve that style. Read on!
Well, my name is Gabriel Guerrero. I'm from Chile. I am a student, but I dedicate my free time to photography - my only way of expressing how I see the world. I deeply love listening to music. In fact, groups such as Tool, Slint, and Sigur Rós are what inspire me to photograph.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY?
It was in a class of visual arts when I was in my last year of school. The teacher asked us to try to interpret through a picture who we are inside. I took a picture of someone tied with a rope showing an internal oppression. When the day of the presentation arrived and the teacher came to my picture, all of my classmates were impressed (because they thought I, at that time, was a happy human being, but no…). Since that day I knew that the only way to communicate what I really felt was through photography.
WHAT WAS IT ABOUT BEING ABLE TO COMMUNICATE IN THAT WAY THAT CAUGHT YOUR ATTENTION?
The truth is that, to me, photography is a more realistic way to show what you feel and imagine and also for all the information and interpretation that one can draw from a single image. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Years ago through drawing, I showed my way of seeing the world but almost no one understood what I had created with my pencil. A total waste of time. With photography I got different results. There were finally people who could interpret my images! And they were impressed. I even impressed myself being able to see again and again what I had created, so I decided to take that path and to be honest it has me very hooked.
WHAT DO YOU WANT VIEWERS TO TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR WORK?
A deep feeling of loneliness. In my pictures there is no human contact, no friends, no acquaintances or someone to hang out, just a being, separated from society in a lonely field, while he's trying to make time go faster. This is what I want to show the people who see my work.
It comes from the place where I live. It is a calm place, but lonely. Very lonely. Rarely, are there visitors there.
WHAT, IN YOUR OPINION, MAKES A PIECE MEMORABLE?
To be memorable, that piece has to be unique, flamboyant, and especially inspirational for others. A picture that shows that everyone can create something unique.
WHAT DOES YOUR EDITING PROCESS GENERALLY LOOK LIKE?
I try to bring to reality to a picture that was born in my imagination. First, I take a lot of photos with my iPhone camera and I choose those that seem ideal before I start the editing process. I always make edits on my phone using mix and modify apps. Lastly, I use Mextures to give that dark and heavy touch to my photos.
I can also add to that sort of an image all of the formulas that I’ve created, testing them to see what would be better. The remaining formulas I delete or I use them for future creations. The truth is that if it were not for this app I would not feel satisfied with my images - they would not have the sufficient quality I desire. Most of the images I have in my imagination are thanks to the music I listen to or come from what I commonly feel.
HOW SPECIFICALLY DO YOU USE MEXTURES IN THAT PROCESS?
To give a touch of darkness and loneliness to my photos I start by making them black and white, lower possible saturation and sometimes increase the temperature. I then use a variety of texture packs. Among these that are commonly used are:
ATMOSPHERIC: Desolation, Soothsayer, Staid and Gloom_n_doom.
LANDSCAPE ENHANCE: Winter skies and Neutral density.
VINTAGE GRADIENTS: Taffy and Polaroid.
These three packs are for shades of light and darkness.
GRIT AND GRAIN: 120MM, Dusted, Noise complaint and Cataract.
EMULSION: Franklin and Tesla.
DUST & DIRT: My favorite pack. Organic, Granule, Water stain and Fleck.
And these last three packs are to add an old and dark touch.
I really love this app and if any new packs are added I will gladly download them.
DO YOU HAVE SOME FORMULAS YOU COULD SHARE?
PARABOLA - PQSMEJH - For example, a sunny and clear sky image would become a dark, heavy and thick gloom sky image.[
PATIENT - YFAPMMD - This formula is almost principal in my photos. It makes a photo look worn and dirty - sepia toned photograph.
OLD - YJGCEFR - For me, this formula has the style to let images emulate photographs from the 50s or 60s.
WALK - HEEZHIR - This formula is good for minimalist photos where you want to give a little bit of antiquity.
IS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT MEXTURES THAT YOU FEEL IS UNIQUE TO THE APP?
Other applications want to look a lot like Mextures but none will be able to reach out to the heels of this app. Mextures for me, is not any application from the App Store, it is a perfect and unique tool for every person who utilizes it. It delivers endless possibilities of creation for different styles. When I entered the field of photography, I used other applications to generate the style which I use in my pictures now, but the terminations were without quality and ugly. The day I found Mextures is the day which ends an old style and starts a new one with better quality. Another thing about Mextures is that it is very easy to use.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CREATE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE?
The main things that inspire me are walks through the countryside and the music I listen to while I'm walking - especially the magical music of the band Sigur Rós and the powerful songs of the band Tool. The walks with music are a way to de-stress - to clear my mind and let new ideas enter my mind
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PIECE TO CREATE SO FAR?
It is very difficult to decide between so many creations because I like almost all of them, but I would choose this photo because it took me so long to do complete. The background is a photo I took on a foggy day (rarely are there days here with fog). The silhouette and details took a matter of days until , finally, the image turned out the way I wanted and it gives me joy to see these results.
HOW HAS SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYED A ROLE IN YOUR WORK?
Social media is a very good tool to connect with everyone. It has been helpful to upload and to show my work to the world in an easier way. Also, it has helped me to meet other great artists who have their unique ways to show how they see the world. Many of the artists I follow on Instagram and also the people who give me their comments or opinions about my pictures inspire me to create new projects. But the most important thing for me is that people from around the world can see my work and can be inspired. The same thing happens or can happen to them. This is the cycle of social media.
WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND TO BE YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN DEVELOPING YOUR STYLE?
I would mention two things:
The first is that I live in a very limited place. Many of the most beautiful places here are private, so sometimes I take risks when I enter to these private areas to take the pictures I want. From here comes the second challenge.
I'm a loner photographer and as I use an iPhone camera to take pictures. I don't get any support from my iPhone to give an 'almost perfect' angle adjustment. Often I have to use things from mother earth, such as stones and branches among other things I find there.
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE MOST INSPIRED YOUR WORK?
These are the people who have inspired me a lot:
Brandon (@digbickbrandon) - his great work has inspired me in many of the photographs that I have now.
Mar (@merderich) - with her beautiful gallery of trees and mysterious passages combined with her wonderful Mextures formulas.
The otherworldly work of Giovanni (@gosleep_) - I love all of his perfect editions. I consider them unique and unbeatable.
Leah (@between_breaths_) - one of the first people who inspired me.
The beautiful and delicate pictures of Kaori (@dark_k) - who can show you how beautiful nature is.
The dark and mystical photographs of Nikki (@521gemini).
The flawless photography of Tim (@tim_hf).
And also @s.a.l.t_photography, @happydippyhippy, @ana.mar, @breathingmysoul, @sabekr, @abaa, @mirjana_grasser, @antiegotheist, @niphisi, @unholyday, @littlesquarelives, @lesliechurchwell, @guardiansoftrance, @rdepaolo, @enbarrot, @naqmeslami, my friends Delia and Pamela, my family and also the world are part of my inspiration.
Check out all of Gabriel’s stunning work right here!