Guzman is the award-winning husband-and-wife duo Connie Hansen and Russell Peacock. Known both in the U.S. and Europe for their highly sophisticated photographic style and their affinity for the eccentric, the New York–based pair have worked across just about every category both as photographers and directors, with a concentration in advertising, men’s fashion, conceptual photography, nudes, sports and recreation, and celebrity portraits. Recent commissions range from Target and Tag Heuer to portraits of punk icon Iggy Pop and Oscar-winning actress Gabourey Sidibe.
“We enjoy the challenge of taking a client’s concept and establishing a visual language, whether it’s a single image or a series,” say the pair. “And we believe firmly in the art of collaboration—the final image is the result of the combined efforts of the creative director, art director, production designers, art department, hair and makeup, clothing stylists, etc.”
The two work closely on concepts and the look of their images, but in most cases it’s Connie who takes the photos while Russell oversees postproduction, giving their work the signature Guzman identity. They are drawn to a project for the creativity of its concept, regardless of the size of the assignment. Guzman have been hired to work on large-scale productions involving multiple locations, complex scheduling, complicated production design, and special effects but are just as motivated by intimate and elegantly simple shoots.
“There have been more than a few campaigns that required us to travel to different locations and shoot an image in each one of them,” they note. “We’ve had people/dancers colliding while powdered colors exploded around them, shot explosions with fireballs and falling debris, flown in helicopters while strapped to the floor with the door open to chase a racing boat in full sail off the coast of Corsica, photographed a mermaid in a tank used for the movie Alien, shot in an igloo built in a Brooklyn ice house, been up in a 10-story crane to photograph a model walking on the edge of a building, directed crowds at a mud-wrestling event and at a rave…”
“If the assignment is a portrait, we create an environment of collaboration and comfort, a place where the subject can reveal something of themselves, no matter how subtle. Sometimes we are told that the person we are to photograph has a very limited time frame, so we prepare for that. But many times, if the environment is comfortable and the person is having fun, they stay and we play. We strive to maintain a friendly, focused atmosphere. Happy is an important component on all our shoots.”
As clear as they are about their creative vision and their collaborative process, Connie and Russell are appealingly elliptical about the origin of the name Guzman. In fact in France, they’re known as Les Guzman. “Why not?” say the pair. And they prefer not to commit to how the name should be pronounced. Most people go with GUHZZ-man. “But,” says Connie and Russell, “we respond to variations.”