I’m Mexican born British photographer.
I studied photography in London and graduated from the University Of Westminster, which has a very long tradition with photography and cinema.
I am one of many Brexit ‘refugees’ who gladly now reside in Berlin.
But even before Brexit, I wanted to move here because I think this city is on the cusp of a cultural movement, similar to what London enjoyed in the 90s and Noughties. Both London and Berlin have these very vibrant art scenes and film traditions, and I get inspired and motivated by that.
I like how each town has a peculiar way of doing things, with their own history and humour, and I want to benefit from both perspectives as much as I can.
What are the rules of your photographic work?
I think I have no rules, but I might be wrong.
There are technical rules one must be acquainted with, of course. Composition, exposure, light metering, color theory, etc. Important to learn the basics by heart, so that I can concentrate with what kind of messages I am trying to convey.
Is there a particular combination of techniques and tools that you think makes the difference?
Well, I think there are as many techniques as photographers around, and there are some really accomplished photographers out there.
Getting to a good technical level is important, but I think what makes the difference is the theme or subjects you choose, and how you interact with them. The question about finding a style you can call your own.
Tell us about an experience that definitely changed the way you work and made you grow.
Realizing one day that, if I don’t enjoy taking pictures that will eventually show in those images. One could spend a large amount of time with a technically accomplished image that might pretentiously say how good of a photographer one is. But if in the end we do not enjoy doing it, this will transpire in our work. There is no lying there. It won’t be any good and it won’t have any soul. Having fun is important.
Was there ever a difficult situation? How did you react? Tell us.
With street photography, generally there isn’t. I try to be quick and discreet. When people do notice, they normally don’t say anything. Being respectful to your subject and having some experience helps. Perhaps it’s a question of being confident, or appearing to be confident. Looking like you know what you are doing.
Having said that, there have been a couple of occasions in Berlin, though. I’ve had people approach me and tell me they do not want their picture taken, even when I am not taking their picture and my camera is pointing at a completely different direction. I find it odd, but I suppose it’s a cultural thing.
How do you relate to the environment and the subjects you portray?
It depends, but architecture determines much of my composition. I look for those interesting angles and views. Once I find something interesting, I wait. I wait for people, that person walking by, riding his bicycle or even jogging. It’s important to have someone in your image. It’s not just about the scale, it’s about how people interact with the street, the architecture of the area, and the city as a whole.
How all is shaped by human presence, or its absence.
From time to time, one is lucky enough to find the unusual and surreal.
I also ask you to share a bonus trick among your secret techniques.
I don’t think I have a secret technique to share, apart from suggesting patience, resilience, and a certain degree of obsession. There are photographers out there who are constantly hitting the same streets, day after day, and for several hours, until they have at least an image they consider worth their effort.
Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with?
Currently, I am mostly using a Nikon Z series and an iPhone. Very happy with the new technology, powerful machines that deliver massive files and very sharp images. I could be using any other full-frame, mirrorless camera. Simply because most of them are very good and very practical.
I occasionally shoot film. Actually learned photography by assembling large format cameras in Studio. I’m used to love the old Hasselblad’s too, like the 500s, and the lovely sound they make. Nowadays I use a very old Rolleiflex simply out of pleasure.
How do you relate to your customers? Do you choose them or do you let chance bring them to you?
I am currently not freelancing, but it used to be a bit of both.
If I get commissions, they are occasionally coming to me these days.
Do you think there is a perfect age to start being a photographer?
There is no perfect age to start, of course. And it’s never too late.
It’s great to get kids into it, and let them know that they can create beautiful images with it.
It triggers their imagination. For an older person, I find it an excellent way to express our interests, desires, concerns and complex ideas. In my case, it takes my mind off things, and I have all the time to enjoy it. This passion is something that I am sure I will be doing until very late in my life.
What have been the consequences of COVID19 in your work?
Apart from organizing shoots with different people and enjoying photowalks, not that many. But there is one thing that Covid 19 came to reaffirm. For a while I have been re-thinking how I approach the environment I live in.
By it, I mean the city I live in, my neighborhood, my streets. We all love traveling and taking pictures of great places, and surely one day we will go back to it. But the challenge now is to re-discover your streets and come up with something good.
And like good advertising, when you have many restrictions in your work, it forces you to be creative. And it works. Not only I am very happy with some of the stuff I am making now, but I am also glad to see other photographers coming to a similar conclusion themselves, with some very beautiful work.
Are there any books you would recommend?
Oh so many. Anything by Saul Leiter, Vivian Maier, William Eggleston, of course. More recent stuff, I am in the lookout for some new books, and I love the stuff coming out of London recently, which I miss badly.
I just got Crossed With Care, by Shane Taylor and considering getting his new book: Fine Airs & Fine Graces.
Another one I am very interested about is Sleepless In Soho, by Joshua K Jackson.
What stimulates your creativity, what inspires you?
Interesting people, or the lack of it during the pandemic. Currently it’s about empty quiet streets. The centre of town all to myself one cold winter morning. The empty streets of Berlin felt so eerie and strange during the first lockdown. But by now, I am getting more used to it and I find it very uplifting.
There is something so lyrical about a place that was meant to be busy with people every morning and suddenly it is not.
Still, it is people that interest me. In regular times I love streets with character, with beautiful architecture and bustling with energy. Streets with people dancing tango.
Interesting people who have a story to tell, and that they can possibly tell it with an expression on their faces, or with the way they are dressed.