What drew you to photography?
I think somehow, I've always had it in me as I enjoyed going to photography exhibitions since I was a little kid. I distinctly remember an exhibition I went to in Madrid from Avedon and it was focusing only on the black and white photographs of people working in the mining industry. Those photographs really stuck with me.
I used to also look at the hundreds of photo albums we had at home. Anything would entertain me – from my parents wedding, to old black and white photos from my ancestors who I didn't even know. I think every photo tells a story; both about what and who's in the photograph, but also from the person taking it. I suppose I like to imagine those stories.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Almost anything is inspiration for me: people, books, films…
Of course, like most people I inspire myself by looking at other photographers' work to try and learn and understand how they capture certain images and how they process them. But more and more I try to pay more attention to films and shows as a lot of effort goes into the photographic direction in order to tell their stories, capture light, frame subjects, etc. I also pay extra attention to their post-processing as you can learn a lot just by looking at how they apply lighting, tones, colour-grading, etc. It's fascinating!
What type of camera and lenses do you use?
I got my first DSLR around ten years ago. It was a Nikon D5200 which was great to get me started and learn the basics, but a few year ago I realised I wanted something a little better and especially smaller and lighter, so I switched to mirrorless. I’m now a proud owner of a Fujifilm XT30, which has a crop sensor.
I have several lenses (I won’t mention their full-frame equivalents):
- 10-24mm f4
- 23mm f.1.4
- 35mm f1.4
- 56mm f1.2
- 16-55mm f2.8
- 55-200mm f3.5-4.8
- 90mm f2 (I'll probably be selling this one as I find I haven't used it that much, although it's given me some wonderful photos)
Next step is to buy a film camera, which has been on my to-do list for a while now.
Are there any projects you are especially proud of?
Yes, my 'Little Men' project, which started at the beginning of lockdown. I had this huge roadtrip planned around the US. Starting in San Francisco and driving through places like Yosemite, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon amongst others. With the pandemic, my trip got cancelled, and being stuck at home all day raging about not being able to do the trip I had been planning for months, I decided to start recreating it at home with simple household objects.
Here you can see a few photos from that project. This project meant a lot to me as it helped me stay creative and kept me sane as it gave me something to do and get excited for during such a difficult period.
How did you get into photography?
I think it was mainly my constant desire to capture moments in my life, even of mundane things. I started with an iPhone 3 back in the day taking photos of everything and anything I'd find interesting or amusing. I over-processed those photos like crazy and went very much overboard with my editing, but I still found it fun. I still have those photos on my Instagram account. I cringe every time I see them as they are terrible, but I keep them as a reminder of where I started. And also because they make me laugh too, why not!
Then I bought my first DSLR and I started to take things a bit more seriously. Travelling made me really get into it as I wanted to capture those moments and places that I might not experience again. Nowadays I’m a hoarder and I collect hundreds of thousands in external hard drives.
What’s your favorite image you’ve captured?
Monkey family in Ubud, Bali.
It’s really hard to pick as I don’t think I have a favourite and the answer would probably vary every day, depending on my mood. I’ve chosen the monkeys I captured in Bali because, I mean, look at them! Isn’t that what we all wish for in a family? Unity, strength, protection, love. I think that family reflects all of that. Better than most humans, even. Like I said, I like photos that tell a story, and that family most certainly has one.
What subject draws you to take a photo of it?
I’m mainly drawn to landscapes. I think it’s because I see them almost like paintings and I’m fascinated by them. To think they’re just natural wonders and that humans haven’t had a say (for once!) in how they were designed, even though we’re destroying some of them. More recently I’ve discovered a new love of urban and street photography.
I’m still very new to it, but I’m learning and I’m loving it. This developed more during 2020 when we went into lockdown and I saw an opportunity to capture London as I’d never seen it before; empty. Every time I could, I’d get a bike and cycle to places that would otherwise be full of people, like the Oxford Street area, Camden, Covent Garden, and, my all-time favourite, The City.
Can you share some tips on how you shoot your images?
My main tip is to always have your camera with you because you never know what photo opportunities might present to you that day. My partner will probably roll his eyes if he reads this as I’m always on the look – whether it’s in nature or in the street.
I always go handheld – no tripods (although I’m thinking of getting one). I mainly shoot on the go and try and carry as little weight as possible with me as I like going on long hikes. My partner doesn’t enjoy photography as much as I do so I don’t intend to be a burden to him by spending too long in one spot, etc.
What’s the secret! Are there specific types of equipment for taking these kinds of photos?
The secret is to always have your camera with you because you never know what photo opportunities might present to you that day. My partner will probably roll his eyes if he reads this as I’m always on the look!
Also, I never carry more than two lenses with me. I intend to make my hikes enjoyable and carrying too much weight and creating too much hassle would subtract from the experience, so based on where I’m going that day, I pick a maximum of two lenses and I play around with those. If I feel I can’t get the shot I want, it’s just a matter of getting a bit more creative and moving around a little more.
What has been your biggest challenge in pursuing a career in photography?
I’m actually not a professional photographer, let’s start with that. These days I even wonder what being a “photographer” even means. If it means making a living out of it, I’m not one. I do it because I love it and keeps my brain creative, as what I do for a living is not as creative as I would like it to be.
For me the biggest challenge is understanding what I want to focus on and finding my own personal style, which I don’t think I’ve found yet, and I have a lot of work to do on that. Like I said, I love landscapes, but I’d love to be able to add some street and urban photography into the mix, although I understand it’s difficult.
Perhaps I don’t want an actual career in photography, but rather I prefer to keep it as a passion so that it never wears out or feel trapped in one particular modality. Does that make sense?
What advice would you give to someone starting a career in photography?
It’s a journey, and it’s a very long one. Don’t rush it like I tried to do for some time, as you’ll only get frustrated. It’s about finding what you like, understanding what stage of your journey you’re at and embracing it. And practice, practice and more practice. I, for one, still feel I’m at the beginning of my journey.