Photographer Tina Gutierrez Found Her Community

“We’ve formed strong friendships within the local music and FotoFocus communities.”

NAME: Tina Gutierrez
AGE: 55
WHO IS SHE: Photographer, musician, creator of the COVID-19 Wearable Art Response Project.

Photograph courtesy Tina Gutierrez

At what age did you leave Cincinnati, and when did you return?

I left for college at 18 and returned four years later, in 1987.

Why did you return?

I studied classical guitar in college, and Cincinnati was a great place to return to as a guitar player. I was so influenced by Clare Callahan, guitar professor (emerita) at CCM. Seeing a woman guitar professor in what is and/or was a traditionally male instrument was really important to me.

Were you excited to return, or hesitant? A little of both?

Definitely both. Most of my earlier friends had moved away, so I was starting everything from scratch.

How has Cincinnati changed since you left?

I’ve been back a while, but I love the arts renaissance we’re still in. I feel lucky to live in a progressive neighborhood, Northside, where you don’t have to conform and which, in fact, nurtures independence.

What’s your favorite new discovery since returning?

The FotoFocus biennial has been such an important part of my life. It’s helped me form strong friendships and find my artistic voice.

What keeps you here now?

I met my husband, Larry, who is an instrument builder and photography enthusiast, and we’ve formed strong friendships within the local music and FotoFocus communities.

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