Zoom in! Photographer David Guettler Shares His Point of View
Meet David Guettler, a noted photographer living in Long Beach, California. His eclectic style ranges from architecture to people, places, moving pictures, and even graphic novels! David photographed 442 Residences, including all exterior and interior shots. With his keen eye and unique perspective, David’s work showcases the exceptional boutique lifestyle experience that sets 442 Residences apart!
Please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I graduated CSULB with a BFA in Art/Photography. After college I was a photographic camera assistant for seven years, working with architectural, automotive, celebrity, lifestyle, editorial and still life photographers. Working with these professional photographers is where the real ‘nuts and bolts’ of my photographic education really took place. In 2005, I opened David Guettler Photography.
Tell us about photographing 442 Residences. What was your approach and inspiration?
442 is a wonderful state-of-the-art community in the heart of downtown Long Beach, and I was honored to be asked to photograph it. This project is in my hometown, so it was personal for me to be able to work within this city, which I adore. I approached this job a bit differently than others, because I wanted to show the client’s audience how great Long Beach is.
What is your personal artistic philosophy? Do you have a favorite photographer? What are your influences?
My personal artistic philosophy is to produce work that the viewer understands and is intrigued by. The viewer should feel like they can physically walk through my architectural photos and imagine themselves living or visiting the site of the photo. I don’t have a favorite photographer per se, but I have been influenced by all the photographers who employed me and passed on their vision and wisdom. I asked these photographers millions of questions, and almost none of the questions were ever about this industry, but about their lives. Those questions and answers helped me more than anything else I picked up the job. For instance, I worked with a celebrity photographer for years who once told me,”You’ll know it’s time to get married when it feels odd calling your girlfriend your girlfriend and not your wife.” So when that feeling hit me very soon afterwards, I took his advice and asked my girlfriend to marry me. Now I have a wonderful wife, two kids, and a lovely home in Long Beach. Most of my influences come from life itself and all the experiences I have gathered over the years. I’m sure I’m not alone in this belief.
In addition to architectural photography, what other projects are you working on?
I just finished a year-long remodel of our home. Originally, the four of us were living in a small two bedroom, one bath home at 729 square feet – we were bursting at the seams. We had our 100 year old house totally remodeled to fit the family. It’s been a long, hard, expensive, but rewarding process.
It’s great to pursue your passion, but we know it’s not always easy. Tell us about your challenges and successes.
Excellent question that should be the first question anyone should ask themselves, regardless of their career path. My job is humbling. I meet some people and groups that produce projects that blow my mind. I always ask them about how they got to where they are, and they always light up and talk about the “Plight.” The “Plight” is the cornerstone to success. It’s the path that builds and forms you on your path to success. Clients rarely tell me about their formal education, but they always tell me about situations where it was darkest before it was light.
When the market crashed in 2008-2009, my wife was pregnant with our first child. I had just stopped working for other shooters and opened my own photo business, and found myself sitting at my desk in my office/studio/laundry room/garage/storage space thinking: What am I gonna do? I don’t have a single client or job. I didn’t even have a portfolio to shop around. I remember it was April Fool’s day, and then the phone rang. It was my first client ever. They awarded me a job on my very first day of business. I wish I could tell you it was peaches after that, but it wasn’t. I was turned down by every agency in the country – twice! Even international groups passed on me. I have to admit that it was a long slow hard crawl uphill, but I stuck with it and now I’m blessed to have wonderful clients like 442 Residences and Greystar.
What are you most proud of as a photographer, and what sets you apart?
I have put in the 10,000 (and then some) hours that Malcolm Gladwell claims you need to consider yourself a pro. I get lighting – it’s the ace in the hole that sets me apart in this field. I light every shot. Light is rarely perfect. As a matter of fact, it’s usually bad and needs to be shaped and controlled, and this is what I do best. Architectural photography is the least glamorous of the disciplines. It’s long hours and lots of hard work. When I was working in celebrity photography, people would be interested in who or what the subject was, but with architecture….not so much. Which is more than fine by me.
If you lived in a parallel universe, what would you be doing?
Oh, that’s a tough one. I love what I do, so I never gave that question much thought. My father once said, “Do what you love and you’ll never work another day of your life.” He also said, “Always be early, never let the boss or client get there first.” To this day, no one ever has been to the location before me. But, if I had to do something else, I’d be Ozzy’s lead guitarist with a ’74 cream colored Gibson Les Paul!
What do you love about Long Beach? Do you have a favorite neighborhood? What do you enjoy doing when you’re there?
I moved to Long Beach to go to CSULB and fell in love with the city. It’s off the beaten track as far as beach cities go, so it’s not to overrun with day trippers. My favorite area is Belmont Heights. I love the old houses, the accessibility to shops, stores, restaurants, and places like that. You can walk almost anywhere. I enjoy spending time with my family, playing guitar, visiting all the cool neighborhoods, learning new dishes to cook, and watching the kids grow up. I’m sure we are all alike in this matter.
442 Residences Interiors and Patios
All photos courtesy of David Guettler Photography
Business Address: David Guettler Photography 329 Argonne Ave. Long Beach, CA 90814
442 Residences blog celebrates entrepreneurs, creatives, business leaders, and other influencers who are making an impact in Long Beach. These amazing people share their inspiring stories in their own voice, and give a personal perspective on what makes our community such a great place to work, live and play.