Hiram Garcia is the President of Production at Seven Bucks Productions and a film and television producer. Hiram currently serves as a producer on Seven Bucks Productions’ tent-pole movies, including ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’, ‘Rampage’ and ‘Skyscraper.’ Beyond his immersive work in production, Hiram also likes to get behind his own camera. He has always had a passion for photography and believes that within a creative space, everyone is an artist looking to tell a story. Because of his active schedule, Hiram finds joy in shooting the things that life presents before him – whether that be his actors on set, a scenic landscape, a black and white portrait or his dog. He enjoys being able to capture resonant moments in unique ways that hopefully deliver a similar feeling and more to the viewer.
We had the chance to interview Hiram to discuss his take on photography and to discover what inspires him to shoot. “Behind the Seen” is the first and only exhibition worldwide shot exclusively on the new Leica Q2 by Hiram Garcia.
The exhibition will be on view March 7, 2019 only at the Elga Wimmer Gallery (New York) from 12:30PM – 6PM.
“‘Behind the Seen’ is a diverse collection of images that showcase a slice of my production life through a short period of time. I curated imagery from the work on-set of my current project as well as included glimpses into the other aspects of where my career spills over. Whether it be promotional stunts for projects currently in theaters or something as simple as rehearsing for upcoming scenes, I wanted to showcase the beauty and intrigue I see within the industry I work in. This is a brief snapshot of what I SEE on a daily basis.” – Hiram Garcia
What inspired your gallery show?
My gallery was inspired by the idea of giving a slice of my life through a short period of time. I am on the road the majority of the year producing features so I’m often abroad and on set for long periods of time. I wanted to give a sample of what I see on a daily basis as well as some of the vistas I’m able to enjoy as I travel around the city I am currently filming in.
How were the images curated?
I wanted to curate a collection that showcased the many facets of my life when I’m on location for a project. I included a number of images from my work on-set as that is such a big and important part of my world, but also wanted to include a number of images that encompassed everyday life – whether it be from my travels or simply photographing my favorite subject, which happens to be my dog. I wanted the collection to feel like a brief snapshot of what I see every day.
How would you describe your photography style?
I would categorize my photography style as candid and natural. I’m very fortunate to do what I do, but it does dominate my time in a major way so that often results in me only having the opportunity to shoot what naturally comes across my path as opposed to heading out to seek opportunities. I tend to strictly utilize whatever lighting is available and natural light. This is one of the many reasons I love using Leica glass – it is so exceptionally fast. It always gives me the opportunity to get the shot no matter where I am.
How long have you been shooting photography?
I first attempted getting into photography around 2007. I got my first DSLR and began teaching myself how to shoot. When possible, I would take my equipment with me, but often the cameras were so large that I found it difficult to bring them around on my travels. This ultimately prevented me from shooting as much as I would have liked and the hobby went a bit dormant. It wasn’t until 2016 that I discovered camera technology had advanced to a point where the size was considerably smaller and the quality was exceptional. It was that year that I got serious about photography. My photos were warmly received, and I was fortunate to end up shooting the majority of our digital campaign for a movie I was producing at the time.
How did you become involved with photography?
At an early age, I found myself often moved by striking images. It was those responses to incredible photography that planted the seed in me of wanting to create images of my own. I’ve always been a creative person and the idea of being able to create a piece of art that can move and inspire a viewer has always been intriguing to me.
As President of Production at Seven Bucks Productions and a film/tv producer, how do you find time to balance your passion for photography with your career?
With a very busy schedule, I found the best way to feed my passion for photography was to shoot while working. One of the great benefits of producing the content that I do is having access to beautiful locations, amazing sets and some very photogenic actors/actresses! That mixed with shooting my dog do a pretty good job of keeping my passion satisfied but I would always love to shoot more.
How did you become involved with film/tv production?
I went to school for music business and entertainment, but the industry just didn’t resonate with me the way I thought it would. I was lost in regard to a career but often helped DJ with dialogue for his WWF character The Rock. DJ was offered Scorpion King and asked me if wanted to come along and assist him. It was on that movie that my eyes lit up and I realized I wanted to be a producer. I had absolutely no knowledge about the film industry so after the film wrapped, I came home and enrolled in film and screen writing classes to learn as much as I could. I worked on another movie after that and realized if I wanted to be a good producer I had to learn every aspect of the business from the bottom up. I then began working as a production assistant on commercials for a few years along with second assistant directing and first assistant directing. That experience was invaluable for me and helped give me a true appreciation for the hard work and dedication it takes to work in the film industry. Years later and with much more experience I grouped up with DJ and my sister Dany Garcia as we embarked on a journey that has brought me to where I am today.
Upon producing multiple movies, which production is most memorable? Why?
Each movie is special in its own right. Much like kids, you love them all in their own special way, but if I had to select one that stood out the most I would say it’s a tie between Jumanji and Jungle Cruise. Those two movies were both unbelievable experiences with incredible energy. Movies are extremely hard to make, but both those pictures were so much fun to film and the cast and crew felt like a family. I think that energy came through in Jumanji and its coming through in Jungle Cruise in what we’ve seen so far.
What are some tips you can offer to individuals that are interested in pursuing a career in film production?
Give it your absolute all if you truly want it. There are millions of people trying to be a part of the film industry so be prepared to sacrifice and give all you can because if you don’t someone else will. I never had a plan B in my pursuit of this industry and despite many around me hinting that I should throw in the towel, I stuck with it. It took a long time, but I finally saw a beam of light shine through that proverbial wall that I’d hammered on for years. With a bit of light showing I had the fuel I needed to double my efforts and grind even harder. Along with the work, I would say do all you can to immerse yourself in whatever field you want to pursue. I watched every movie that came out – good or bad. If the movie was praised, I wanted to try and figure out why. If the movie didn’t work, I would analyze it and see where they went wrong so to not make the same error when I had my own opportunity. This industry is tough, but it’s also extremely rewarding and if you give it your all, you have a great shot at getting something good back.
How has your career impacted your photography?
My career has had a huge impact on my photography. Thanks to what I do, I have access to locations, sets and people that I would otherwise never be able to photograph. Not only do I have the privilege of shooting those things, but it also allows me an opportunity to photograph a diverse array of subjects.
Which photographers/artists do you find inspiring?
Wow. The list of photographers that inspire me could be endless. There are so many unbelievably talented photographers out there – from the legends who are no longer with us to some of the brilliant photographers of today. To name a few, I’d say Henry Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, Sebastiao Salgado, Alan Schaler and Lee Jeffries. In addition, there’s also those who not only are great photographers, but great people – Brian Bowen Smith, Frank Masi and Jaimie Trueblood, to name a few. These are pros that early on took the time to answer my crazy camera questions and give pointers that helped me grow as a photographer. I’m forever grateful.
How would you describe your photography now compared to when you first started?
I love photography so much and with that love comes an endless passion for knowledge. I never took a class on photography so I had to teach myself how to shoot via YouTube videos and badgering our great set photographers with questions. Every day I find myself researching new techniques and styles – things I can do to be better and create the imagery I want in a more refined way. I often look at some of my older pictures and cringe! I think “why did I make that choice or do that edit?” It’s a great way to learn though. I often go back through older work and see things that I might have thought worked then, but realize now they didn’t. I think with any craft, you can never stop learning and improving and I apply that to everything I do. Especially photography!
What was your first Leica?
My first Leica glass was a 50mm Summilux that I used on a mirrorless body. That was my introduction to Leica. I was so enamored with the glass and how it rendered images that I remember thinking “if it looks this good paired with this body….imagine how great it must look on an actual Leica body.” That lead me to getting my first Leica Camera which was the M10. I was hooked from that moment on.
What Leica camera and lens do you currently shoot with?
I currently shoot with:
- Leica M10-P
- Leica M Monochrom
- Leica Q
- 75 Summilux
- 50 Noctilux
- 35 Summilux
- 28 Summilux