Interview to the Professional Photographer Rob Deza: From a Hobby to a Profession


Rob was raised in Latin America, moving to the United States over 20 years ago to pursue photography and a new life. He’s an adventurer at heart, bringing energy and human connection with him to every part of his life, from cross country backpacking to weddings. There’s so much anyone can say, but none do it quite like him.

¿Who is Rob Deza?

I was born in Lima, Perú. When I was 8, my mother and I moved to the Peruvian Andes Mountains so she could work as a manager of a spiritual political radio station. I lived in mountains surrounded by Indegenous people, animals, and nature. I grew up surrounded by connections and spent years traveling country to country as a missionary. Bolivia, Panamá, Perú, you name it. I’ve been there.

But my mother’s work wasn’t the only formative moment in my life. As a kid, school was difficult from an attention deficit disorder that I didn’t yet understand. This condition wasn’t seen often or treated like it is now, therefore people related it with being lazy. Many years later, I would learn and understand that my condition would not allow me to remain focused enough during class, but it would become my machine of creativity and allow me to dream and travel to many places while I was sitting in a classroom and would subsequently turn into the fuel for the creation of my photos and videos.

I have a lot of energy. I’m on the go and run at a mile a minute. Maybe that’s why I could never commit to only one branch of photography. Weddings, portraits, family sessions, quinceañeros – I enjoy them all the same way. For me, it’s like going to a rock concert where I am the band and my photos are the music. Technical skills made art: I love how lighting, settings, angles, composition all come together to make a moment. I push myself so that my photos are always better than my last session.

¿How you end up being a photographer?

Due to a back injury, I ended up doing what I enjoy most. At the beginning I didn’t see it that way since my recovery took over two years and it was painful to walk or even move at times, but my partner at the time always told me I had a talent for capturing images, therefore confiding in her words I attended college and began studying photography.

When I was a photography student, I had the opportunity of working with National Geographic, thanks to a professor who mentioned they had a talented student. After that experience, I felt much more confidence in myself and what I could accomplish. I decided to quit college and work on different projects.

A year later, I met a 22 year old who wanted to be mayor of his city, he was unemployed and in his last semester of college. However, I believed in him and took his photos for free. Months later, he won the elections and became the youngest mayor of his city and I became his official photographer.

Besides photography, what else do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy learning new things. I’m a photographer, video producer, hobbyist guitarist and singer, and budding carpenter. I dive into adventure, often traveling as a backpacker carrying only the essentials.

I came to the United States over 20 years ago and I never thought I would be a photographer. I always thought the camera made the picture. I was wrong. Creativity makes the photo. We need pictures that show the essence of one’s soul.

¿Do you have any anecdote of your own that has led you to photography?

In 2006 a friend of mine lent me a camera and I took a few pictures with some friends who I had asked to be my models. The camera roll could only be developed in a dark room and since I didn’t have one I asked another friend, who studied photography, if they would please do me the favor of developing them.

A professor of my friend’s saw my work and since she couldn’t say they were someone else’s photos she said they were hers. Later they encouraged her to include the photos in a contest, which she later won, and they gave her a scholarship in an art school. The secret stayed between us two and it never bothered me that she was able to benefit from my work.

From that moment on I began to realize that maybe I had a knack for capturing images. I am a storyteller by nature, I love to do it in videos as much as in photography and I usually tell the vast majority of my clients,

“Share your vision with me and I assure you I will take it to a levels you never imagined”.

¿How did the idea for Deza Studios come about?

Deza Studios was born from the desire to collaborate with a strong network of photographer friends who share the same passion. We’ve always worked together, but little by little, we more formally created a team.

¿What do you like to do the most in photography?

I love photojournalism because it focuses on capturing natural emotions and real events. While photojournalism isn’t the right tool for every job, it’s still the foundation of my work.

And speaking of real events, ¿is there a particular story that you remember during your career as a professional photographer?

One of the stories that has most touched me emotionally and has even brought me to tears was a same sex wedding where the entire ceremony was dedicated to love and the many faces of love.

The couple had asked their closest friends and family if based on real experiences they could ask them questions about their relationship at the wedding and that each one of the questions asked would be part of their matrimonial vows to see if they accepted marrying one another under those commitments.

One of the questions was it because of love that they had mutually, if there would come a day where one of them would want to leave the other would they other give them the freedom to do it out of love? The two answered yes and from that moment on I understood that to love means to also let go.

¿How would you define your work?

I define my work as diverse as I work with models and do different kinds of photo sessions as senior portraits, quinceaneras, family portraits, weddings, events, organizations, businesses, universities and I am always open to new adventures and ideas.

¿Where is Deza Studios going? ¿What is your vision?

We work as a family. And not the lie of a shiny picture perfect family. We have our challenges, but we push each other and grow together. The strongest families exist on a foundation of trust, respect, and love. Deza Studios is built on those principles.

Finally, ¿What advice would you give to all those people who would like to make a profession of their hobby?

Making your hobby into a profession is not for everyone. It was even hard for me in the beginning, but I had a vision.
I ebbed and flowed. I enjoyed taking photos and would obsess for weeks, then would consider never holding a camera again. Why? Because I made my hobby my job from Sunday to Sunday, but did this when still working full time. It was too much. I took a break from photography for a while and focused on videos, which felt different enough. After two years, I returned to my first love.

My name is Rob Deza

I’m a Photographer.

After working as a photographer for more than a decade, Rob Deza sought to grow a community of like minded photographers. Brought together by a shared passion and dedication for photography and storytelling, we work together collectively to creatively and authentically share your narratives through images. What’s your story?