Luis Fuerte reflects on career

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Photo/Armando Castro Retired cameraman Luis Fuerte speaking at the Colton Public Library on Sept. 12.

An interesting life Luis Fuerte has lived. Born in San Bernardino and raised in Colton, the now retired renowned cameraman has travelled across the United States and Europe to film television shows, films, and news broadcasts.

Surprisingly, the “one man” crew said his new endeavor is to master public speaking—a skill he said he has taken up due to numerous requests to attend public events.

“It’s something I’m learning to do,” he said. “You never stop learning.”

Fuerte served as an editor, lighting director, sound engineer, on air operations person, and cameraman for the late Huell Howser, former host of KCET’s California Gold. He began to work with the Tennessee native in 1987. He said at first their relationship was rocky.

“When I first began to work with him, I remember someone told me, ‘Huell wants to speak to you. He wants you to take the van to get serviced’”, explained Fuerte. “I said, ‘Wait a minute. Give me his phone number.’ I called him and I told him, ‘what’s this? You want me to pick up the van and have it service? I’m the cameraman, the sound guy, lighting director, that’s all I do. If you have a problem with that, find someone else.’”

Photo/Armando Castro Luis Fuerte with Colton resident and historian Armando Castro.
Photo/Armando Castro
Luis Fuerte with Colton resident and historian Armando Castro.

After that experience, Fuerte said their relationship improved. They worked together for approximately 14 years. Fuerte joked that he knew Huell better than his ex-wife. Both men developed an amazing working chemistry.

“We set the record straight,” he said. “After that, we got along well. We respected each other and got to know one another. We never had to worry about our working relationship again.”

The media specialist has won numerous awards. He is the winner of five Emmy, Golden Mic for editing, the International Monitor Award, and has received awards from the State of California and the County of San Bernardino for speaking and mentoring youth in working class communities. In addition, Fuerte received awards from Press Photographers Association of Greater Los Angeles, was awarded Latino of the Year 2008, and received the “Salt of the Earth” Award in 2001.

The 73-year-old Rialto resident said he learned from his experiences working on California Gold.

“I met a lot of interesting people and learned about California’s diversity,” said Fuerte. “I always learning from other people, and that’s what I really enjoyed.

When asked what was his favorite experience with Howser, he said the shoot he did with him on the Golden Gate Bridge.

“I will always remember one of our most popular shoots on the Golden Gate Bridge,” he said. “I was able to shoot it like a Two Camera Shoot. We had two helicopters and boats. I was on one helicopter and he was in the other and I was shooting. It was all logistics. It was a lot of fun.”

 

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