What drew you to street photography initially?
Shooting the camera on the street is something you do from your intuition. After all, I live in an urban environment and it is here where I move about with the most familiarity. If I lived in a forest, you might think that what I say next lacks a solid basis.
From my point of view, I believe that street photography offers the possibility to not only capture a scene, but to also narrate a story, give an image an emotional charge that goes beyond the simply aesthetic, imagine a retrospective about what was going on, for example, whether the couple in the image adore or detest one another. It allows the viewer to develop a personal fantasy to complete the picture. I’m not saying that it’s impossible outside of urbanized civilization (I’ve seen it and tried it myself) but the nuance is different.
If you want to explore the field of interaction of predator and prey, you are the one who encroaches on their natural habitat. With street photography it is the same, with the advantage of being able to choose as the author what percentage of interference you desire: the invasion of the photographer, an optional camouflage.
Do you have a favorite photographer or someone who inspires your work?
Within photography, one of my essentials is Patrick Joust. I’ve been following his trajectory for years and it has been an important push for me when it’s time to be daring, lose the fear and show some nerve. I think that what he does is exceptional both on an atmospheric level and a humanitarian one.
William Klein also gives his images life, both in quality and quantity. They are important stories and those who have their images taken know it and delight in it. They share this with the viewers. The same can be said of Garry Winogrand, Leonard Freed, Weegee…
I feel like you have an eye for capturing very human moments, moments that provoke emotion in the viewer. How do you do that?
I suppose this comes more from a cinematography influence, of people like Christopher Doyle, of Mikhail Krichman…people who make the total greater than the sum of elements, giving off a congruent emotion not only through someone’s facial expression, but also by exploiting all the available resources. This is what I would like to do.
I also believe that all photos are self-portraits, although you might not capture yourself. On days when I am emotionally overwhelmed, either with joy or melancholy, I am usually more receptive to street scenes (or I sometimes project my mood unconsciously). That is, what I capture tends to be an instant of my mental state. I think the images I take on these days are my best. If on any given day, my mood is a more indifferent one, what I shoot will be more aseptic and has more of a chance of ending up in a folder of discarded materials.
What are your thoughts on color vs. B&W street photography?
I think that one should adapt to whatever they are currently facing. There are places and situations that have more of an impact in color and others in which color is irrelevant and, still in black and white you can get that searched for dramatism. In any case, I don’t think that this is a determining factor when it comes to taking a quality photo. Personally, I like to alternate both kinds of film.
Do you think street photography will be relevant 50 years from now?
I think that wherever there is an urban environment, there will be street photography. And it will continue to be important because it never stops being a form of universal communication that doesn’t need languange nor translation. What I don’t know is how everything will be in another half a century. I wonder if photographers 50 years from now will wish as I sometimes do that they had been born some decades earlier and could enjoy a past that seems more attractive.
Check out Sandra’s (cuatrodioptrias) Flickr photostream here.