Photographed by Rodrigo Álvarez in collaboration with Sandro.

“I encountered photography at a very young age. I have always moved towards visual arts and in photography I found a very natural language to portray the ordinary into something non-ordinary. By that, I mean capturing something that occupies a space and that is visible to everyone, discovering the beauty that lives in it is what excites me – from a place, to a person, to an object or an every-day-life scene. Photography keeps me focused on life’s small details.”

I met Luis a year ago at Centro Studio, a photo-studio he founded in 2019. We were introduced by Maria, a friend in common. I now work for him (I’m the studio manager)  and it’s been beautiful (and when I say beautiful, I truly mean it). Luis Garván is the kind of guy who’s always got a huge smile on his face. And damn, it’s so contagious. Hanging out with him is always nice. Luis is a modern encyclopedia – he can talk about RuPaul’s Drag Race most recent episode and Rothko in the same conversation. Not a common human being for sure. We’re so lucky to have him.

And besides being a great guy, he’s also extremely talented. S.O.S! S.O.S! S.O.S! A double threat, right? For the past few years, Luis has become quite a very loved name among creatives in the industry in Mexico City. From photographing iconic individuals that include architect Tatiana Bilbao, writer and art curator Su Wu and Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta, to collaborating with leading titles such as Open House Magazine, GQ and Elle Decor, Luis’ work reminds me so much of paintings. And hey, I know nothing about art but I know everything (or at least a little) about beautiful things – and Luis’ work is simply beautiful. Looking at his photographs is like looking at paintings: they make you feel things.

What’s the biggest lesson that photography has brought into his life? “I think it has helped me turn my weaknesses into strengths, to learn to see my flaws as virtues  and to know that that’s what allows me to see the world from a different window. For a very long time I tried not to show my sensitivity because we have been taught that it equals weakness or vulnerability and being vulnerable is dangerous. But that sensitivity is what allows us to go beyond. It gives us a sharper intuition and lets us see ordinary details become something transcendental.”

Luis founded Centro Estudio three years ago. Before turning the place into a studio, it was his apartment. One day, a friend of his asked if he could use the space to take the portrait of a “famous” person. That was the beginning. Luis saw potential and he developed what is basically now a tremendously successful business. Not to brag but we’re always booked. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure there’s many other great studios in Mexico City but our agenda is always packed (Thank you Lord Jesus for so much work).

But Centro is way much more than just a business. It is home. It’s a place that welcomes everyone (even dogs and cats.) At least, in my experience, Centro is the kind of place all creatives should have access to: somewhere to create, but most importantly, somewhere to connect with others. It’s a safe place – and aren’t we all looking for somewhere to feel safe and appreciated and loved? It’s at Centro where I have met some of the most important people in my life. So many great memories already and it’s been a year only of working there. I can’t imagine if I decide to spend 10 more years there. Gosh, I’m sure I could write a book.

“To me, the studio is a spot where I can get together with my friends, a place to meet other creatives and a blank canvas for artists. It’s also a place where I get the chance to experiment with my love for space-design.” 

Sometimes I wonder if Luis has ever taken time to think of the great things he’s done for others by having decided to start Centro Estudio. You know? Luis is also the kind of person that does nice things for others without expecting anything back. He’s bought me flowers to take home and always brings the most delicious cookies (Thank you Luis for ruining my diet). Also! Fun fact: I had a stupid accident back in October of last year and Luis paid for the hospital fees. Who does that? Basically no one.

So, here’s my advice:  if you ever get to meet a guy ike Luis OR if you ever get to meet the actual Luis Garván, consider yourself fortunate, but most importantly, keep him close. And with enough luck, maybe he’ll take a portrait of you, LOL (I say lol because he has not taken mine yet. Like, what?!!!) Just kidding.

Luis, I love you –  and I hope one day I get to keep my white tennis shoes as clean as yours. 



PS – Thank you Sandro for putting Luis in beautiful clothes.

To know more about Luis and his work, follow him on IG: @luisgarvan
To learn more about Centro Estudio, schedule a visit or booking, please go to: or visit


Luis wears all clothes by Sandro Men.