Ferrer, deemed legally blind, returns to career in photography

Photos Ivan Resendez: Nitzia Chama, a TV anchor on Envisión, was one of Gary Ferrer's models during his first photo shoot on Sunday, Sept. 6 in San Bernardino.

Gary Ferrer of San Bernardino enjoyed a successful career in fashion photography until he contracted meningitis in 2016 that cost him his eyesight. After weeks of battling depression and coming to terms with his new normal, Gary emerged with a newfound passion in dance, and soon created a youth folklórico group, teaching neighborhood kids the art of cultural dance in the nearby church for a couple of years until the parish evicted him without a specific reason.

Monse Mena, 13, was the other model during the photo shoot.

Fast forward four years, Gary, deemed legally blind, has come full circle when he embarked on a renewed journey into photography, this time with a darker, deeper perspective resulting from loss and near death experience, with an emphasis on culture.

Gary conducted the first in a series of six photo shoots on Sunday, Sept. 6 at his dance studio in San Bernardino with the help of husband Ivan Resendez, models Nitzia Chama, a TV anchor on Envisión, and folklórico student Monse Mena, 13, dress designer Adan Terriquez, makeup artist Chona Mua, and assistants Blanca Sylva and Rosa Torres.

Gary was involved in all aspects of the shoot including taking the photos, directing, set design and staging. Here Gary is adjusting Nitzia Chama’s dress with the help of Rosa Torres.

“Gary is very excited about the experience and wants to take it further,” Resendez shared. “He wants to create more awareness about low vision people, and his message is to not underestimate them because of their disability.”

According to Resendez, who helps with editing, the 12-hour shoot was challenging due to Gary’s limited ability to focus on small details, but overall was a success. Gary was involved in all aspects of the shoot including set design, costume, staging and directing.

Gary will showcase his first ever photo exhibit, Obsesíon, in mid-2021 at UCLA, featuring at least 12 photos from his series.

From left, model Monse Mena, and assistants Blanca Sylva and Rosa Torres with Gary Ferrer.

Gary offers hourly youth and adult folklórico, and Zumba classes for $40 each per month:

Adult folklórico classes Mondays 5 p.m

Youth folklórico classes Tuesdays and Thursdays 5 p.m.

Zumba classes Monday through Thursday 6 p.m. Gary’s Facebook page: Ballet de Gary Ferrer.