Rising L.A. photographer Jorge Peniche has carved out a niche by shooting our city’s (and the world’s) hottest up-and-coming rappers, along with a wide variety of other unique people and places. Check out the Q&A and a selection of Jorge’s images below…
What’s your favorite taco?
Rincon Taurino in La Puente is by far my favorite. They have the most delicious barbacoa tacos that are enjoyed best with a warm bowl of consommé. I’ve been going there since I was a kid, and I really haven’t come across a better tasting taco in LA. I’m Mexican if that matters.
Do you have a favorite off-the-beaten path part of LA?
El Pescador Beach in Malibu is my favorite refuge and getaway from the often time fast-paced and demanding nature of the city. I love the infinite ocean view, rock formations, and fresh air that bring serenity to me when I visit.
Where do you live, and where have you lived? What is your favorite place?
I was born in Mexico City, my formative years took place in Rosemead, CA and I now reside in San Gabriel which is a neighboring city. My favorite place so far has been Rosemead because I have so many great memories from my childhood that took place around the city. Everywhere from the 7-11 on Mission Dr. to summer basketball games at Rosemead Park. It was definitely a great place to grow up at and enjoy being a kid.
Who/What inspires you?
There are many things that inspire me. First and foremost, my family inspires me to be great because I want to make my parents proud. On the creative end, life inspires me because it’s the greatest reference point for me. Whatever experiences I live form my perception of things thus making me create based on my vision of the world. I’m also inspired by other talented people such as musicians, painters, athletes, and entrepreneurs. The passion and dedication they put towards their craft inspires me to continuously push myself to greater heights and never become complacent. Last but certainly not least, I’m inspired by love.
What are your main goals as a photographer?
My main goal as a photographer is to give the world images that are an honest reflection of my subject. That means both good and bad. Most of my images have a certain gravitas that people have come to identify as my style. A powerful image moves people, it makes them think and go through a range of emotions anywhere from wonderment to possibly confusion. Ultimately I want to create images that act as distinguished visual bookmarks for my generation. A reminder of the world we lived in and the people and places that thrived during my time.
What gear do you use?
I shoot the majority of my work on film cameras. I enjoy switching through different film formats and cameras during a shoot. There’s a cadence in this process that has yet to be matched by digital photography. Each camera feels different in my hands and the compositions I see through each viewfinder is different then the next. I own over 15 different cameras both 35mm and medium format. My favorites are my Canon AE-1, Pextax 67 II, and my trustworthy Yashica T4.
Was there a turning point in your life when you decided that you needed to become a photographer?
My turning point or “aha! moment” with photography came in the Summer of 2006 when I was working with DJ Skee at Hype Public relations. I was 18 at the time and I took my camera everywhere because I wanted to document this exciting and new experience working in the world of entertainment. After establishing rapport with Skee over the course of a couple of months I received a call from him to shoot Game on a fateful Sunday night. That night he introduced me to Game and his entourage. We took pictures inside the studio and in the hallway of the office. Short and sweet, but from that moment I realized that my interest in photography could reach beyond the realm of a just a hobby. I had always loved hip-hop music, and was always curious on how I could make my contribution to the culture outside of merely being a consumer. Photography seemed like the perfect fit for me. So from that point on I decided to immerse myself entirely in the world of photography. Thus far it’s been a very gratifying and educative experience.
Take us through a typical day in the life of Jorge Peniche.
A typical day starts with reading and replying to emails in the morning. Following that I check my social networking sites, also my favorite music and fashion related blogs. After that I head to my studio in Downtown LA to catch a couple of meetings. If I have a shoot that day I’ll head out to set. If I’m not shooting I’m roaming throughout the city scouting new locations or simply just people watching. At night I meet with my business partners to review projects we’re working on at the moment, or I get on Skype to brainstorm with international clients who commission me to shoot assignments here in the states. Honestly each day is unique, and living in L.A. you really never know what to expect. Hence the reason I love living here.
What projects do you have coming up?
I currently have a couple different projects on my plate. I have the usual editorial work that I shoot and write every month for different publications in the states and overseas. I’m also working on Nipsey Hussle’s (my business partner) upcoming project. For my creative company Playground I’m hitting the streets heavy with street art that gives my artistic interpretation of LA life and the things that matter to me. We’ve gotten a great deal of acclaim for what we’ve released so far. We have our own signature donut at Slauson Donuts that’s pretty delicious if you ever get a chance to make your way down Slauson and Crenshaw. Lastly I have a new and interesting project that is the convergence of everything I love which is technology, communication, entertainment, and art. Playground is currently designing and developing our own line of urban inspired emoji which I feel will be very successful when it hits the mobile market. You can sign-up to get them first at www.playgroundemoji.com.
Who are your favorite visual artists?
There are a lot of talented visual artists who’s work I admire. The classic artists are Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton, Picasso, Dali, Miro, George Condo, Giuseppe Tornatore, Tim Burton, and George Lois. The modern artists are ArcherOne, Stella Blu, and Jonathan Mannion.
Do you have a lucky number?
Yes, my lucky number is 3. I’m Jorge Peniche the 3rd. Shout out to my Grandpa and my Dad.