Local self-taught photographer Luis Guzman has gained a name for himself in Kilgore by capturing the beauty in the everyday life seen in downtown.
Guzman himself is a native to the area, graduating from Kilgore High School where he met the woman who is now his wife. He said that it was only a few short years after graduating from high school that the two were married.
“At the time we were young newlyweds, and we weren’t interested in getting pregnant right away, but at the same time we said that if it happens, it happens,” Guzman said, “After a few years, we realized that it wasn’t happening. That’s when we went to see a fertility doctor.”
After a few visits, Guzman said that the doctor told the couple that they would be unable to conceive.
“It’s hard, it’s a really hard thing for someone who wants a child to hear,” Guzman said. “It was probably the darkest point in my life.”
As a way to distract himself, and keep his mind occupied, Guzman started a number of new hobbies. These hobbies including fishing, and woodworking, both of which Guzman said he still enjoys.
“But one day, I was driving into work at the oil field, and I stopped and I watched the sunset come up,” he said. “It was so beautiful, I took out my phone and I snapped a photo.”
This is when Guzman’s passion for photography began, and it wasn’t long before he purchased his first film camera and started venturing out to new locations to practice shooting.
“It was a way out for me in one of the hardest times of my life,” he said.
After working to teach himself how to properly operate a manual camera, Guzman said that he saved up money to purchase his first digital camera, and that was when he started to venture to take photos of downtown Kilgore.
“I like to challenge myself every time I go out there, I want to challenge myself to capture the beauty of downtown in new and interesting ways,” Guzman said.
When he initially began taking photos of the downtown area, Guzman said that he posted a number of them on public groups on Facebook.
The photos received a positive response, with many community members asking where to buy the prints because that they reminded them of their own childhoods.
“It is pretty interesting, to go and capture what downtown is like now, and to see it continuing to grow and change every year, we still have all of the photos, and now more,” Guzman said.
Due to this positive response, Guzman did begin to sell his prints, which are now available at Kilgore Mercantile & Music, located at 105 N. Kilgore St.
Additionally, though he works full time in the oil industry, Guzman said that he also does portraits, which can be found on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LuisGuzmanphotography.