Known as the ‘Superbowl of Art,’ Miami’s Art Basel has become a premier international arts event, connecting international artists and patrons across all genres. So it’s no surprise that Getty Images photographers — including Gustavo Caballero — capture all the action and behind-the-scenes events.
We caught up with Caballero recently, deep in preparation for this year’s Art Basel, and this is what he had to say.
How did you get started in photography?
Gustavo Caballero: My father was a photographer—I was born and raised in New York City—and he had a photography studio in NY. He taught me everything I know now.
From NY, I moved to Miami and pursued photography. Ten years ago, literally, I met Carole Moore, Managing Editor at Getty Images when she had her own photo agency called South Beach Photos. She saw a good opportunity for me to work with her – she saw I had raw talent and took me under her wing when she joined Getty. I’ve been with Getty Images for the past 10 years now.
Has your shooting style changed as a result of joining Getty Images?
GC: I think it’s gotten better because I’ve learned to refine my style from other photographers, since Getty is the best in the business.
What’s your favorite subject matter to shoot?
GC: Nightlife, red carpet and a little bit of concerts, too. I basically do everything – you name it, and I do it. And I really like what I do. Photography is a very social profession. Working with Getty, I’m treated like a true professional and find that people have confidence in what I’m doing and let me create magic in pictures. I love that!
How do you prepare for an event like Art Basel?
GC: Art Basel was under the radar with Getty Images 10 years ago, but since then we’ve come to cover the event prominently, which gives us great access.
Miami locals call Art Basel the Superbowl of Art – and virtually anything that has to do with art has to be at Art Basel. It’s gotten more popular every year, and so we have to prepare for that with the amount of coverage we give it each year. Last year was so big that it was a bit overwhelming – and this year it’ll be even bigger, I think.
How has Art Basel changed over the years in terms of things to see and do?
GC: Art-wise it’s gotten better and you really get to see things from around the world. The whole city becomes an art gallery of sorts, from South Beach to Wynwood to Downtown Miami. You see great art and also some crazy art.
What’s the variety of things, people and places you shoot at Art Basel?
GC: I do arrivals, so different kinds of parties – from private parties to large galas. You really see the artists stand out at these events, and they’re treated like celebrities. As a photographer, I can’t say that I know all of them, but [they] definitely feed off the energy from the crowd.
What specific photography equipment do you bring with you to Art Basel?
GC: Nikon D4; 24 – 70mm F/2.8; 70 – 200mm F/2.8; two flashes – a Nikon SD-800 (two of them), and a flash bracket. The bracket is essential so you never have shadow when you do a step and repeat shot, or any kind of portrait of someone. When you use a flash bracket it ends up looking great and polished.
What kind of access do you get at Art Basel?
GC: We get all-access, all the time, as they give me full realm to shoot whatever I need to. You’re treated really well when you work under Getty Images. They know you’re a professional, you do your job. You get in, you get out and everybody’s happy.
Any advice for Art Basel novices? From photographers to art goes?
GC: I’d say, be open minded because you’re going to see some beautiful art and some weird art. But art is art. Anybody who’s anyone from the art world will be there – even some surprise guests.
A couple of years ago, Sylvester Stallone attended, and he had an art gallery, which he was promoting. I really didn’t know he was an artist, and was surprised when he was showing everyone paintings of when he used to live in Miami. He was very candid in telling the story behind each portrait that he did, and I found that pretty cool. It was very unusual to see Sylvester Stallone talk about something other than acting – so you never know who you may run into and what you’ll learn.
Explore more of Gustavo’s coverage of Miami events and beyond on Getty Images.