Digital Film G.Arroyo

Creating vs. Capturing

As an urban photographer I do a little of both, Creating and Capturing in my photography. Below I’ll place my personal definitions on both


When I have spent time developing a thought, planned and executed my photograph. This is the process I have when I take most photos, especially portraits.

Rolleiflex Automat Vivian Maier Style Photofraph 1

Most of the time when I am shooting street photography, I take this approach. Yes, there may be some creating, I set up the stage, know peoples typical actions and have an intention. Most of what I do is capturing a moment. Capturing how a place look during a certain time in history. Capturing life read more

Digital G.Arroyo

Statue of Liberty

Whenever you visit a place as iconic as the Statue of Liberty it is difficult to come away with pictures that you have never seen before. There are tons of tourists and now everyone has a camera. I always try to do something a little different when I see lots of cameras come out. As we came around the front side of the Statute everyone on the top level of the ferry was snapping shots and looking at Lady Liberty. What did I do? Being more interested in people, of course, I turned around and took a photo of everyone looking upon the Statute for the first time. read more

Digital G.Arroyo


One of the reasons I label myself an urban photographer vs. a street photographer is that I love to shoot architectural features. Seeing a cool building is as exciting as coming as finding a great street scene unfolding. Much like street photography, taking images of these structures captures a moment in our history.

The photo above is a yet to be completed building on the Yale campus. It is a stark contrast to the other buildings lining the streets.

For my photographer friends this was shot with my Fuji XE-1 with an old Minolta Rokkor lens attached. It is also a jpeg straight out of the camera. read more

Digital G.Arroyo

New York

As a true blue (red??) Chicagoan this next sentence is very hard to type. I love New York. Ok, there, that is out of the way. Now I can breathe again. I’ve had these feelings about NYC before, there is something in the air in that city, something that is exciting. I really love visiting New York. Would I leave Chicago? Not a chance, I need the hot dogs and proper pizza that we have.

Did I mention that New York is a street photographers paradise? It is!

Puerto Rico Protest Giovanni Arroyo
Digital G.Arroyo


Protests just seem to find me. I don’t go looking for them, but they must be looking for me. I enjoy walking around cities and feeling the life that each individual cities have. In San Juan, Puerto Rico last week I was doing just such a thing, walking around the old portion of the city taking photos when, down the street, I could hear the chants. Yep another protest had found me and I dove into see what was going on. Below are some of the photos I took.

Digital Film G.Arroyo


Whenever I plan to do some street photography, I practice. How do I go about getting some practice in?

I chase around my daughters, inside, outside, playing, on the move, on their bikes, I just let them do what they will always do. I just carry my camera around with me and try to keep up while taking great photos. It is an awesome way to keep my skills up and be ready for the fast pace of street shooting. Having to know my camera like the back of my hand, being aware and anticipating the next action, and making on the spot changes to settings makes certain that I am ready to do so when the critical moment occurs on the street. read more

Digital Film

Finding Vivian Maier

Leyla doing her best Vivian Maier self portrait.
Leyla doing her best Vivian Maier self portrait.

Can you tell that Leyla is a Vivian Maier fan? When I was downloading photos that she took on an outing to the Chicago Botanical Garden, the above photo was one of the. Don’t know who Vivian Maier is? Then you need to go here Finding Vivian Maier.

In the past month there has been a flurry of Maier news and Leyla is sharing my excitement for this incredible street photographer. We watched Who Took Nanny’s Pictures?  on the BBC, and just yesterday I learned that Finding Vivian Maier will premier at the Toronto Film festival via the movie’s Facebook Page.  Even though I would love to see it when it premiers in Toronto, I will have to wait until it is shown in the Chicago area. Leyla and I are both excited and I can’t wait to see the documentary with my favorite little photographer. read more

Digital Film

My Maier Obsession

Yashica 635 TLR

Its official I am obsessed!
Obviously I am obsessed with photography. That is a simple one, but I am coming to realize I am obsessed with a a women. I love looking at pictures of her, but really I love looking at the photos she took. Her name is Vivian Maier, and I am not a bit ashamed that I am obsessed with her. If you know the Vivian Maier story keep reading, if not go here and read this first. The story is incredible, yes, but that is only a small part of why I am writing this. Vivian Maier’s photography is incredible. This past weekend I had a chance to check out the Vivian Maier’s Chicago exhibit at the Chicago History Museum, most of the prints I had seen at one point or another, impressive, what I expected. What I wasn’t expecting was around the perimeter of the room. There lies the reason I am obsessed with Vivian. The exhibit has photos from complete rolls of film. 12 shots (a complete roll of 120 format film) taken at different locations and points in time of Chicago’s history. I am amazed at how many flawless shots she was capturing in a row. If you have ever seen the contact sheets of most street photographers you know that it typically takes a photographer a few attempts before nailing what Henry Cartier-Bresson calls the decisive moment. Besides the single moments that have made Ms. Maier famous, the mastery she proves in 12 shots has left me speechless. I wish I was able to capture or express the emotions I felt checking out what is one of the greatest photographers in Chicago’s history, but alas I can’t do so with words. I will try my best to capture those emotions with photos as I continue my journey in photography. read more



Every photographer  runs into difficulty when they travel. The trip will never go exactly as envisioned, but if you are prepared then you can make the best of any situation. For example the image above. Last spring while visiting Spain, my family planned to visit the Alhambra palace. I had visions of getting their early in the day and staying late to photograph all day into dusk at the palace and fortress. Well, that is not what happened. The union workers of Spain decided to hold a general strike  the day we planned to visit. Every for of travel, restaurants and stores we shut down. Luckily by early afternoon, most of the protests had calmed down (yes I photographed the protests) and the Alcazaba in Malaga was open. The fortress is beautifully preserved, and I’m glad that I was able to explore it. At first disappointed, I was able to capture a lot of photos that I really love. The “Malaga” photo shown above is one of my favorites, Catholics and Moors, Man and Women, Old and New, Light and Dark are all included in this photo. read more



Black and White Image

Occasionally you are out shooting an image just hits you. On this day I headed to a road I take to work everyday. To the right of this road a small lake had dried out and between the clouds in the sky and the dried lake, it would be an impressive scene. After shooting  photos of the lake, I began to walk back to my car. At one point I turned over my shoulder and noticed how dramatic a completely empty road (in itself an odd thing in Chicagoland) looked. Making sure there was no traffic, I shot out to the middle of the street and captured this. Not something you would expect to see near Chicago, this image reminds me of how interesting the day to day we travel is. read more