His photography will be on display during September and October at our South Lamar location, located at 3003 South Lamar Blvd, 78704.
Gino was born in Germany into a military family, but grew up on Fort Sam in San Antonio. He moved to Austin in the late 90’s and immediately fell in love with the city. Everything seemed to fall into place for him here. He and his wife, Karin, had been told they could not conceive a child, but she became pregnant shortly after moving to Austin. It was over a meal at Kerbey Lane Cafe that Karin told Gino the news that she was pregnant.
In the years before the dot-com boom, Gino described Austin as having an electrifying energy. “It had this cool, funky, hippie vibe,” he explained. That vibe still exists here, but anyone who has been here awhile knows that this city has changed over the past 15-20 years—a lot. There is much debate as to whether this change has been for better or for worse, but Gino is fascinated by the dichotomy that is present in Austin today; the convergence of old Austin and new Austin. Gino has embraced them both, and this is evident in his photography. The photos of the ever-changing Austin skyline captured by his camera have become a visual narrative of how this city has changed over the years.
When asked how he discovered his path as a photographer Gino said, “I was just a guy who enjoyed taking photos and my friends would tell me I should pursue photography, but I dismissed their praise thinking, ‘there have got to be a million people out there better than me.’” One day while dining at Kerbey Lane Cafe, Gino inquired about hanging some of his photos, and that was the beginning of his photography career. From his first showing at Kerbey Lane he sold two or three pieces and was blown away by the response he received. He chuckled and said, “I literally do photo shoots just for Kerbey Lane with the waitstaff in mind. I don’t want the servers to have to stare at the same photo for months on end.”
While perusing Flickr one day, Gino stumbled across the photography of Trey Ratcliff. It just so happened that Trey lived in Austin. They met, and Trey became an early influencer and mentor to Gino. Trey is an accomplished photographer, an early adopter of HDR (High Dynamic Range imaging) and the creator of StuckInCustoms.com, which has become the #1 Travel Photography Blog on the Internet.
Gino explains how Trey was different, stating, “Most photographers are very guarded—they don’t want to share their secrets. But Trey was never like that; he would tell anyone his methods. It was his spirit and openness that inspired me. Since I wasn’t a trained photographer, I didn’t have a tendency toward being guarded.”
From Gino’s website, 1138Studios.com: “I saw an interview of Joni Mitchell where she said that when she wrote a song she would exaggerate the emotion of the situation so that the listener would focus on the point she was trying to get across. She said that Van Gogh would make his skies bluer and his stars bigger in his paintings for this same reason. It was, ‘… a lie to help you see the truth.’”
This sums up what Gino aims to accomplish in his photography. His photos are are exaggerated, a little over-saturated and blown out, so that you see what he saw in the moment. He said, “It’s not about the camera; it’s about perspective, romance, and the story you’re trying to tell.”
Moving forward, Gino would like to begin capturing more people in his photos, “because that is what Austin is really defined by—the variety of dynamic, interesting people.” He went on to say, “Kerbey Lane Cafe is a perfect melting pot for all of those different types of people; it’s a place that embodies the soul of Austin.”
When Gino isn’t out and about with his camera capturing the city he loves so much, he is running a small mobile auto paint repair business and spending time with his wife, Karin, and 16-year-old son, Jake. Gino and Karin have devoted the last 14 years of their lives to helping their son overcome the challenges faced by having autism. Gino said, “My wife is never going to accept that Jake is not going to live a normal life. Karin has been fearless in the face of anyone telling her that her son is not going to have the same chance as everyone else.”
You can see more of Gino’s photography on his website and Facebook page. His work can be purchased via his online store and at our South Lamar location. Questions for Gino? Email: 1138Studios@gmail.com.