Segments in this Video

Guerrero's Natural Talent (02:30)


Pedro E. Guerrero landed his first job as a photograph working with architect Franklin Lloyd Wright at 22 years old. Ninety-two year old Guerrero describes his fascination with cameras and dark rooms.

Wright and Guerrero's Relationships (03:49)

Guerrero is described as having an intuitive gift in understanding the way film works, able to capture the three dimensional aspect of architecture with a camera. Guerrero was able to glean a sense of support from Wright early on, which helped his talent blossom.

"High Noon" (02:05)

With a keen eye for composition, Guerrero captured the materials and feel of places and buildings. Photographer Norman McGrath says that Guerrero's reaction to Wright's architecture is apparent in the photography. Guerrero describes one of his most prized photos, he noticed the lines were exactly straight and had to take the photo in that moment.

Dignity of Labor (03:54)

Photographs by Guerrero often featured workers constructing the architecture. The desert conditions in which he photographed Wright's work offered a challenge of harsh light, but Guerrero delivered astounding results. He was a young Mexican boy growing up in Mesa, Arizona, and felt a prejudice ultimately drove him away.

Military Service (03:56)

At the age of 20, Guerrero followed his older brother to art school, feeling he had to get away from the racially tense area he grew up in. Art classes were all full, so he enrolled in photography, finding he had a natural connection with the camera. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, it became clear that Guerrero would be expected to enlist in the army, and he eventually decided it was his duty as a Mexican American and went off with Wright’s blessing.

Gunner's Trained as Camera Men (02:50)

Stationed in Italy, far from the action of the war, Guerrero used the time to familiarize himself with the land and photograph whatever caught his eye. Later he traveled to New York to pursue photography with no idea how to earn a living, but armed with a portfolio of his photographs of Wright's work.

Guerrero's Worldly Quality (03:53)

Guerrero worked for magazines like Harper's Bazaar and Good Housekeeping, shooting interior decorating. The atmosphere in New York at that time suited Guerrero very well. The difficult interior photography was natural to him, and he worked to make rooms look naturally lit and well balanced.

Capturing Revelry (03:47)

Personal photographs of Wright and his team were also part of Guerrero's work, immortalizing Wright's presence in his photographs. Photographs of architecture allowed people who would never see it in person to experience it. Guerrero's sense of humility assisted his photography expertise.

New Canaan (03:19)

Guerrero describes the last time he ever saw Wright, calling Wright the center of his universe during his lifetime. Guerrero built a home in the prestigious architectural city in Connecticut, where he took famous photographs.

Alexander Calder (03:58)

Guerrero befriended the American sculptor while photographing his incredible workstation. Guerrero recalls wanting to show how delicately Calder worked on such tiny things with his big hands, describing him as child-like and playful.

Capturing Movement (02:59)

Much of Calder's sculptures are based on forms found in nature. Guerrero was able to capture life in his photographs of Calder and Calder's work. He also captured images of Calder alongside the workers who put together the giant steel pieces for his designs.

Opposition to the War (03:58)

Guerrero openly opposed the Vietnam War, causing the editor of Home and Garden to blacklist him from working for them. Because of this, he was unable to make a living, and this may have spurred him into his artist documentation work. His friend Calder supported his anti-war position and they remained close until Calder's death in 1976.

Louise Nevelson (03:50)

Guerrero recalls his meeting with the artist, and her granddaughter describes her textile, layered artwork. Guerrero photographed her work and her odd collections in her living room.

Matte Monochromatic Black (03:56)

The appearance of Nevelson's artwork, made it difficult to photograph, but Guerrero was the man for the job. Guerrero describes the studying and research required for him to properly document her artwork. Guerrero felt that if he had communicated what Wright, Calder, and Nevelson were trying to articulate, that would be enough for him.

Guerrero's Return HOme (03:10)

Guerrero stopped photographing artists because his three most important subjects were all photographed by him near each of their respective deaths. Guerrero returned to Florence, Arizona, a place of memories where his family spent time in his youth, 50 years after his departure. He wanted to rekindle family relationships with his siblings whom he had spent little time.

Credits: Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer's Journey (01:55)

Credits: Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer's Journey

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Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer's Journey

3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Discover the remarkable life and work of Pedro E. Guerrero (September 5, 1917-September 13, 2012), a Mexican American, born and raised in segregated Mesa, Arizona, who had an extraordinary international photography career. Using an exclusive interview with Guerrero along with his stunning images, the program explores his collaborations with three of the most iconic American artists of the 20th century: architect Frank Lloyd Wright and sculptors Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson. Using his outsider's eye to produce insightful portraits of important modernist architecture, Guerrero became one of the most sought-after photographers of the "Mad Men" era, yet his poignant story is largely unknown. Distributed by PBS Distribution.

Length: 56 minutes

Item#: BVL114711

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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