INTERVIEW WITH PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER GASTON MCGARY
Based in L.A., professional photographer Gastón McGary a.k.a Shot by Gastón is well known for his male beauty images. Take a look at his Instagram profile, and you will see the beauty of every male model he’s photographed. His pictures of men are the very definition of masculinity
I’ve lived in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, for the past three years. Living and working out here is a dream come true — the weather is amazing, and every day is a new experience. LA is actually a fantastic place to thrive as a creative. There are so many people to collaborate with and so many landscapes to use for photoshoots and inspiration. Living out here has really helped expand my view while I work with some of my favorite photographers, stylists, and models.
I never studied photography, but instead was self-taught while using tutorials and asking photographer friends and mentors. I totally see the merit in going to school for photography, but I don’t think that it should kill your dreams to be a photographer if you don’t have that schooling.
My career in photography has probably been a bit different than most. I picked up a camera when I lived in New York to shoot one of my friend’s DJ sets. At the time, he was desperate to capture content, and I just wanted to try something new and flex creatively. Because of that, I bought my camera with every intention of returning it afterward. I had no clue what I was doing, and it totally showed in the photos. Thankfully I stuck with it and didn’t give up like I originally planned. After two photoshoots, I decided to hold onto it and never looked back.
My first paid creative gig was shooting some lifestyle content for a model friend back when I first moved to New York. I barely knew what I was doing, but was just excited to help a friend. After seeing how well the shots came out, I knew this was something I wanted to stick with.
I’d describe my photography style as portrait photography with a focus on fashion and physique, and my path just continued that way. But now that I’ve started test shooting for a few agencies this year, you’ll begin to see a bit more diversity in my portfolio.
When it comes to finding my models, I usually find them from a few different areas: agencies, social media, and referrals. Honestly, I love looking into my group of friends for potential models – it’s so great to bring out that potential in someone you’re already close with. I typically only shoot implied nude content with models that I’ve pre-negotiated those details with. Each shoot for me is different, and I only capture content like that with those that are open to it.
At the start of my career, I faced a great deal of criticism, but I learned that it’s not always a bad thing. I thrive and grow from constructive criticism and feedback. Not only does it help my personal growth as an artist, but it helps keep me focused and ready to take on new challenges
Seeing my work displayed in public is always a shock for me. Every single time it’s a big motivator and a sign that I’m following the right path creatively. I started as a photographer with no professional training, and it’s great to see the love and respect from peers, mentors, and publications that I genuinely respect so much.
My definition of success is simply being happy in what I do every day. I’m finally at a point in my life where my hobbies and passion projects are becoming my full-time career. And since it’s been such a long time in the making, I’ve learned to never take it for granted. I’m not sure what my ultimate goal as a photographer is yet. However, a couple of my primary goals are to shoot a cover for a high-end fashion publication and to shoot a lookbook for one of my favorite brands. Actually, my
most recent gig was for a fashion brand that I can’t fully discuss yet, but stay tuned! It’s been good to see growth in my career in terms of what I shoot.
My pieces of advice for new creatives hoping to achieve success: 1. Never be the smartest person in the room. 2. Never compare yourself to another creative. 3. Find inspiration in everything you do. 4. Don’t take yourself too seriously.