Saturday, 24 November 2012

Lucas Ottone

Barcelona, Spain

You're based in in Barcelona, and also work in Mallorca. Which city do you like  better for going out and shooting street photography?

As Barcelona is way bigger than Palma, I feel it more interesting to shoot urban pictures there. Barcelona is a city that changes quickly and it also has many neighbourhoods that are very different from each other. You can easily go from a rich and boring zone to a bohemian and inspiring street where lots of new things happen every day.

How are the times right now for a photographer in Spain?

Maybe I'm not the right person to answer that, but I will give a little opinion about what I think.

I think it's not about the talent that you have as a photographer here; it’s about your talent to spread your work. Some people may say this happens everywhere, but here, it's an ever-present issue since the art community is smaller than in other countries. In Spain, even if you have great talent, you cannot be "found" unless you make yourself recognizable. I know many gifted artists whose projects remain ignored, and tons of shitty photographers whose boring pictures are exposed because their father/uncle/fiancĂ© has got some contacts. In Mallorca - and this is really true - you will find the same artists in every single exhibition. But I guess that this is a thing that we must learn to live with. The only solution to this dilemma that seems to work is to sell us a little bit and to not be ashamed about being such a pest sometimes.

Next to landscapes and people, what inspires you currently the most?

My pictures usually build a personal diary. I understand them as a way to remember things that have happened to me in the past. To me, they are surrounded by a kind of nostalgia. Any theme that can be related to that feeling will inspire me. I could say I take pictures in order to remember.

Would you say that a good photographer could take a good picture of almost anything? Or is this just a fairy tail?

I have no idea how to answer this question. I guess that if you love what you picture in your head, it will be well portrayed.

During your time in New York, was there something that surprised you about the city?

A curious thing happened to me when I was in New York. It's a city you see lots of times in movies or pictures, so you sort of already have an idea of how it will look like before going there. The thing is that when you get there, and see the streets and skyscrapers you've seen before, a strange feeling of belonging develops. The city looks familiar and new at the same time. At least that’s how I felt when I visited the city.

Why did you name two of your sets "Days of heaven" and "Days of Earth"?

Both sets represent different moments in my life during the last two years, 2011 and 2012 correspondingly. They serve to show two different ways to enjoy life, but at the end, if you compare them both, you see there isn't so much difference between them after all. In other words, "Heaven" and "Earth" become the same in the end. To me, these are sets of happiness.

Do you like artists' collaborations?

Yes, but only between different fields of art. I've worked with a painter (Juan Oliver) and a collage artist (Amadeo Orellana), but never with another photographer. Also, I think that we should consider models as artists as well; many muses have provided me with great ideas.

Do you ever find yourself criticizing or analysing pictures in newspapers?

If it's well paid, yes.

In contemporary media, what would you say has more effect: pictures or words?

Although I'm a bit better with the first ones, I think words get stuck in our heads better than pictures. For instance, I would say that music is far above pictures and words in that respect. Contemporary media, specially advertising, is exploring more than ever the power of music. It can evoke almost everything.

If a friend started engaging in photography and asked you for help, what would be the first thing you would advice him or her to do?

Firstly, I would advice not to do any course or degree in photography. At least in Spain, most of them are pure bullshit, at least in my eyes. Photography, like so many arts, is a thing you must learn by yourself.

Secondly, and this is a piece of advice a good fellow and photographer told me once, you should take only pictures that represent you, especially when you're starting to engage in photography. If you start by doing live music reports, for example, you will be called again to do live music reports. The question here is, would you love to be known for doing this type of picture? Because in the end, you are what you do.

Not mincing matters. Take a look at his work!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Brian Pescador

Palm Springs, CA
website blog

Do you happen to find situations of which you can take pictures of or do you go searching for them?

I find no difference in finding situations of which I can take pictures or going and searching for them. I am more interested in the in the between moments, self-expression, and making images. I want to capture the spirit of youth with my camera.

What is Factory 77 about?

Factory 77 is a new project created by my good friend, the photographer Brad Elterman. At the age of 14 he was running around Los Angeles photographing people like Bob Dylan, David Bowie, and he made the most iconic photos of Joan Jett and The Runaways.  This space is for all things nostalgic from music to fashion, and everything in between.

Would you like to own/curate an art gallery sometime?

For now, I am not too interested in the formal and traditional ways one looks at my images such as in a gallery.  I would much rather hold a 9-5 job and shoot photos for myself on the weekends.  Right now, I would be more interested in seeing my images in books and on merchandise such as t-shirts and skateboards.

When people ask what you "do" what do you say? What do you think about that standardized question anyways?

I stopped telling people that I am a photographer, because when they ask me “what I do?” I would get really uncomfortable saying that, because many times they would say, “Oh so you do weddings right?” because they know someone who needs one. Shooting weddings is not a bad thing, but this is something that I would prefer not to do. I am more interested in showing my life through my images and how I view the world.
I do not feel comfortable with that standardized question, because I tend to see how people generalize photography based on their own interpretation and not how I value it.

What do you pay attention to the most when shooting?

When I am shooting, I pay attention to a certain kind of a feeling. It’s really an addictive feeling or a high. I cannot really explain this. Henri Cartier-Bresson called it “The Decisive Moment”.
I am interested in pure emotion from whatever it is that I am shooting. The moment has to be real when I capture an image. I am looking for the right moment.  This moment culminates when, I feel that I can no longer breathe and I know that I have made a connection with my subject.  I am actually looking for a reflection or self-realization of the mood which I too am feeling at that moment. In a way I am just making self-portraits of my own state of mind without my having to be in my own photos.

Is there an event/place/person that has inspired you very much when you started to engage in photography?

Yes, all three have inspired me: events, places and people.
The events which have inspired me were:  When I first fell in love, my first mental institution experience, my living in Joshua Tree with my friends for a summer, camping in King’s Canyon and doing mushrooms with all my friends in a grassy meadow. Concerning places: The place where I was truly inspired was at my friend’s home. It was in Paul Jasmin’s Apartment, where I learned what photo is really all about. And about people: many friends, artists, and musicians have inspired me.

Matt or glossy?


Do you like to read art magazines in print or rather online?

In print.

What is the best advice you ever were given about taking pictures?

Create your world or fantasy with your camera and show the world your own world through your work.

What comes to your mind when I say the name Bill Cunningham?

Jedi Master.

Portray how you feel in your photographs. Take a look at his work!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Hannes Lippert

Berlin, Germany

A lot of your pictures were taken out and about at different locations in Germany as opposed to showing places abroad. What do you like most about traveling within the country?

I love traveling to foreign countries - especially in East Europe. But I think that the country I live in is already quite big, and I haven’t had the chance or time to explore it entirely. So I am trying to gather as many impressions as possible by visiting different places in Germany – doesn’t matter if they can be considered ‘nice’ or not. A lot of my friends are spread all over the country right now, and there is always a reason to visit them and their surroundings.

And among all the places you've visited lately, which one would you say has inspired you the most?

Last weekend we went to the Baltic Sea. I love the sea in the cold season with the rough climate. Days before our departure I am always very excited. I try to imagine the pictures I would like to take in my head. But when we arrive at our destinations, I most of the times feel like I could photograph everything...
The most inspiring place for me until now was the Sudan, because I felt there was such a different way of life there. Unfortunately I had not yet started taking pictures regularly back then.

Would you say that pursuing photography educates the eye in recognizing little things along the way in everyday life? Or is this rather a premise to become a photographer?

Well, I can only answer for myself, but since I have been taking photographs, I have become more ‘goal-oriented’ when looking at the things around me. But I would not say that that’s a premise to be a photographer, no. I like to view the works of other photographers a lot, and I think that browsing through others’ pictures is what inspires me in terms of how I approach photography.

Do you print out pictures for yourself as well? Or for friends?

Oh yes. When I like a picture I have taken, I often print it out in a bigger format and put it up in our apartment. I love analogue photography and I also love paper. Sometimes I give some of my pictures away. Last year I had the idea of collecting the – in my opinion - best photographs that I had taken over the year in a small book. This is a collection that I put together for primarily myself.

In your opinion, do things like Instagram devalue photographs, or simply change the way they are being presented, used, perceived...? Why do you prefer film?

I'm not sure, really. I am a friend of analogue photography because of the "click and clack" noises and because I love the aesthetic look of images on film. One can achieve very nice results with Instagram or Hipstermatic, of course. But I think it’s only easy to get wonderful pictures with these (filter-) apps as long as you have a ‘good eye’. When I think about me preferring film and not using digital photography now, I wonder if I try to protect myself against this flood of pictures that seems to be everywhere right now.

Are there any insider tips you would give photographers visiting the city you live in?

There are lot of lost places in and around Berlin which might be interesting for people who engage in photography. For example, one can visit the Heilstätten Beelitz, the Teufelsberg, various old railway facilities or factories. I love the parks in the mornings and evenings, so maybe the Tiergarten and the Volkspark Prenzlauer Berg are worth a visit as well.

Are you interested in conceptual photography?

I like the work of Tim Walker, which, in my opinion, is conceptual photography. Sometimes I also start small projects in which I prepend a thought-out plan. I want to work like this more often in the future. Still, I try to collect my memories in an aesthetic way at the same time, so I will always be taking more spontaneous photographs as well.

And is there a project you're working on currently?

Take pictures for my ‘Book of 2012’, I would say.

Do you ever catch yourself making fun of tourists making pictures with their, for instance, iPads and tablets?

Taking pictures with iPads looks very funny in fact, but maybe it's just another way of collecting personal memories.

Would you ever like to work in the film industry?

No, not really. Maybe I would try to take some short films with an 8mm camcorder just for fun.

The book of travels, and memories. Take a look at his work!