Interview: Peter Marquez

Alex Thebez speaks to Peter Marquez at his childhood home in the Upper West Side.
Interview and Photography by Alex Thebez.

Peter Marqez


What was it like to grow up in the city?

Growing up in the city was a lot like growing up in anywhere else, there was a lot of sitting on couch’s smoking weed and playing Super Smash Brothers, being awkward in school, being recklessly youthful, trying to be cool.  Around the age of 16 i guess i got thrown down with a crew and i started taking photos of that.

How does growing up in New York influence your work?
Well for starters i got rid of the urge to photograph homeless people at an early age.  Haha. I grew up in a pretty part with pre-war brownstones all over the place and drank 40’s under sodium vapor lights in Riverside park and chilled on friends rooftops looking over the Hudson River, it was a romantic way to live as a teenager.  Mix that with the gritty chaos inherent with city life and i guess you have me.  Oh, and pigeons…

Do you remember the first photograph you ever took? What was it?  
The first photo i ever took was of a tree lit by one single stadium light on a dirt path with a rock wall leading from the lower right edge of the frame to the center where the tree was, classy.

What do you listen to these days?  
Right now im listening to Summer Slowed Mix by Ryan Hemsworth.

Is there anyone that you would want to be like once you grow older? Who is it and why?  
I suppose i’d like to be like me but a little bit wiser and making a little more money.

What was a photograph of yours that you feel most strongly of?  
There is a photograph that i took of two friends passing a blunt between on another, just their hands.  Jwear and Mewstar, Jwear is sporting a finger tattoo that reads equal in the frame and MewStar is wearing one of his classier diamond pinky rings.  It was taken off the cuff and in an apartment we all used to hang out in, the photograph itself isn’t that good, but those were the days and that photograph always brings me back to who was sitting next to me.

Peter Marquez

What about a photograph by somebody else that you really like?
I just found this guy Joseph Michael Lopez, he is killing it!! He’s also Cuban, he shoots amazing leica-aesthetic stuff.  No one picture really sums it up, but i liked him instantly when his homepage image was a pigeon, right on.

Why photography?
When i got sent upstate for my last two years of highschool there was nothing for me to do up there, we were on top of a mountain in the Black Rock Forest.  I met a teacher there that put me on to photography and basically gave me the keys to the darkroom.  Besides writing and carpentry photography was the first outlet i really had in my life and it remains the strongest one today.

What would it be if it wasn’t photography?
It really isn’t photography at this point, financially, but, if i didn’t use photography as a creative outlet it would probably be writing and that would be terrible because i am a terrible writer.

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