Vision 02 - Frankie Vergara: Networking + Hard Work Will Do Wonders

Photo by timmy risden

Photo by timmy risden

Frankie Vergara is a music photographer from Chicago, Illinois. While he only started photographing music just a year and a half ago, he’s made some pretty incredible moves in that time span. From going on tour with King Louie and Chance The Rapper for the “Be Encouraged” tour to being on Rolling Loud’s official media team, he’s made his mark in the visual world of music. We highlight some of his accomplishments and what’s next for him below.

Ben: Before we break into questions, can you give readers a brief introduction of yourself?

Frankie: My name is Frankie Vergara and I’m a Chicago based music photographer. I’m 23 years young and I’ve been photographing live music and artists for over a year and a half now.

Ben: When and how did you discover your passion for photography?

Frankie: I actually discovered it when I was in high school. I switched high schools my junior year and started using Tumblr and enjoyed a lot of the pictures I saw. I bought my first camera my senior year and was doing photography as a hobby. It was just last year that I started pursuing music/concert photography and now I’m pursuing it full time.

Ben: You’ve been photographing concerts for over a year and a half now! What type of growth have you seen over the past year?

Frankie: Professionally, my pictures have gotten ten times better over the past year and a half. I learned the manual settings and perfected them. I learned Lightroom front to back unlike when I first started. Personally, I grew out of my comfort zone that I was trapped in. Once I started photography I realized that I needed to network more and meet people. Photography helped me grow personally in that sense. I figured out that this is something I’m passionate about and love pursuing.

Ben: You had the opportunity to be a part of the media team for Rolling Loud Festival in the Bay Area. Can you paint the picture of what that experience was like?

Frankie: Rolling Loud was the first festival I shot being a part of the actual media team. I had the chance to meet people that I’ve looked up to in the photography sense. Jay Vee had some insane pictures throughout the weekend along with Beth who I didn’t know prior to the weekend. It was a new experience to shoot an artist then run to the back, edit and prepare them to be posted to social media that day. Unlike tour, I was able to edit and post when I wanted to and it was more laid back. Playboi Carti, Lil Uzi Vert, and Kodak Black were some of my favorite artists to shoot during the weekend.

Ben: The moments you captured were incredible man! It was super cool to see your photos being posted by Rolling Loud. In the last question, you spoke about some of your peers. Who have been the biggest influences in your journey chasing your passion?

Frankie: Greg Noire is definitely one of the coldest in the music photography scene. He’s one of the best I’ve seen do something like this. He’s my biggest influence because of the way he makes live music look like portraits. Eric Sosa is another big inspiration because all of his work is crazy especially his landscape and nature. I’ve been following him for I don’t even know how long. A long time.

Ben: You’ve already accomplished some amazing things in your time but it’s human to always want more. With that being said, where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Frankie: I want to keep doing photography because it’s my passion and I love doing it. Hopefully in five years, I’ve been noticed more and I can do this full time. I am also pursuing a career as an Event Coordinator so I want to start my own business producing concerts. I want to give other photographers the opportunity to shoot the concerts that I plan and build their portfolio. I’m actually planning my first show right now and hopefully, it takes off!

Ben: It’s so important to give back to others, especially the people chasing their dreams. What advice would you give to someone following their passion?

Frankie: Keep going. Keep working as cliche as it sounds. I used to get mad when people told me that but it’s the truest thing. Never settle because people are going to tell you no. It’s a politics thing honestly, it’s all about who you know and connect with. I had the chance to shoot a King Louie show and there weren’t many people there but they ended up using my pictures because I tagged them on Instagram. I saw that they had opportunities available so I sent them my work and they recognized my photos from that night. I ended up landing that opportunity and toured with Louie and Chance for the Be Encouraged Tour.                                                                             

Ben: After touring with Louie and Chance, it was clear that the opportunities didn’t stop there. How did get you involved with Chance’s non-profit organization “SocialWorks”?

Frankie: I met them through my friend Kemdah who helps run Prime Fortune in Chicago. I was able to shoot the Parade to the Polls event and Kemdah introduced me to Justin who runs SocialWorks. He liked my work and he kept giving me opportunities one after the other. After the Bud Billiken parade, we talked about me photographing more SocialWorks and Open Mike events for them.                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Ben: The power of networking is real man! You never know what meeting someone might lead to. To finish things off, what is something you want to happen in the next 2 years and how do you plan to make it happen?

Frankie: I want to give kids a platform that helps them jumpstart their careers. Whether it be landing an open slot on an event, photographing the show or designing the poster for the event. With this concert, I want to give the youth a chance to showcase their work. I wouldn’t be where I’m at without people spreading my work and telling people they know. I see this becoming a reality by starting my own business and providing kids with these opportunities.                             

It’s clear that Frankie has done some pretty amazing things over the past few years. What’s more amazing is that he has even more in store for him. My favorite part about this interview is his willingness to give back to young creators. Be sure to check out Frankie’s social profiles and website.