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Archive for May, 2012

Hi there!

The last 21st of May I had the chance to be interviewed at the Radio Cité, Geneva, Switzerland in their space “Le Grand Invité”.

During 15 minutes we discussed about my passion, my work and my life style in the early morning slot of the radio. I woke up really early but for once it was not to photograph a sunrise over the landscape, but to get into a traffic jam on the motorway from Lausanne to Geneva under the rain! Anyway, the experience was really worth and I am really glad I could share a bit of what I do and in what I believe with the audience of Geneva.

The interview is in French, so sorry in advance to all french speakers for the Spanish accent! ;-)

If you are interested, you will find the podcast on the 21st of May here!

Great light to you all,

Rafael

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Hola a todos! Acaba de salir el nuevo número de la revista electrónica de ARTE FOTOGRÁFICO, y con ella un ensayo que he realizado en torno a una de mis mejores fotografías de Namibia.

La revista, que es completamente gratis, puede verse en este link, y la verdad es que viene llena de contenido de un altísimo interés.

Este ensayo es además bastante oportuno, ya que supone un fragmento de lo que será mi primer libro electrónico de la serie “La Visión de un Fotógrafo”, una serie publicada y distribuída a través de nuestra nueva página web dentro de pocas semanas. Más noticias acerca de estos libros en breve!

Buena luz a todos ;-)

Rafael

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Hi there,

I must reckon have had this post in mind for some time already. It all started some years ago, when I saw guys in videos running around freezing environments in short sleeves crying around and holding the tripod as if it was a spear, about to being thrown against Mother Nature to steal from her a killer shot, a trophy photograph, a forum-raver, a social network viral post, a pay-to-win-contest award and a soon-to-be-saturated-and-tweaked new image to be added to the collection of another hunter-of-the-shot-forget-about-the-experience-you-are-here-to-grab-it-and-run kind of person.

You might by now discover a certain irony and bitterness in my tone. Maybe it is because once, I was one of them? Or maybe not. Or maybe a bit. Maybe all of us start like that. We love Nature, we love photography, we put it together, and the cocktail explodes. For some time, we run with “the shot” in mind. We dilute the experience we once liked so much, and the camera becomes a barrier. Then we taste the sweet flavors of public appraisal, and the truth is it tastes so good… You want some? Just go and post your image on FB. Some more? Easy, post it on G+. Chances are you will get some dozens of likes, I add that, I put that on top of my head, or maybe collect a number of “awesome-man” awards for free and given in different sizes and measured in kilograms.

Too much temptation for the ego we all have inside. Too much pressure from the gurus of marketing. Just too much barriers to go on being “simply” a nature photographer…an artist…Or maybe not?

I must confess that more and more I realize that all that temptation, all that circus taking place around me has helped me to deviate from that treacherous river. A river which leads to the sea of abominations in the art and practice of photography, of self-expression, of finding and showing to the rest of people who you are, of using photography as a life style which opens your eyes and your heart to what surrounds you, a tool which encourages you to give to people without thinking of what you will get in exchange. Even if when I started I swam in the same flow as anybody else, I realized and still I realize every day that the only reason I dumped all my career to devote myself to nature photography was not to make money, fame, inflate my ego, chase for the killer shot or become the best nature photographer of all times. I became nature and landscape photographer because I loved being nature and landscape photographer. Do I need money? Yes, because I want to go on doing that and I need to pay bills which seem to arrive whether I want it or not. Do I need appraise from my peers? Yes, because it is kind of nice and serves me to evaluate from outside the box how my vision is evolving. Do I need to become the “best” photographer out there? Nope, because it is simply impossible. Even if I were the best, I would still need to compete with myself, which is virtually impossible by definition since as artists we never stop growing. So in a way, I am thankful I realized a number of things and simply reached the shore of that treacherous river, from which I still see many swim like crazy trying to reach that sea of  never-ending-rat-race in the field of nature photography.

All this rant and sorrow comes from an attitude I see more and more around the community of landscape and nature photographers. Bit by bit, it seems like delicacy, intimacy, introspection, reflexion, poetry, etc in photography is undermined and seen almost as not “proper” for a real “man-photographer”. If you want to become a nature photographer, you’d better wear short sleeves, run through deserts with beard of 5 days, swear and scream with a knife in your teeth, looking for the next “photo-victim” to fall under the weight of your tripod. A kind of modern version of the Neanderthal mammoth hunters looking for the trophy, the killer-shot, with the difference that those ancient guys tended to say thank you after the kill by painting on the walls of a cave, when modern ones limit themselves to post the image in the walls of a social network just to collect more “wows” and “awesomes”.

Do not take me wrong, I have nothing against sharing our images with others. In fact, photography without being shared is nothing at all, and our audience gives a big dose of meaning to what we do. We do what we do (or at least we should do it) for sheer passion, and there is nothing stronger and more beautiful than wanting to share our passions with others. A “client” shedding a tear when looking at any of my photographs is more valuable to me than all the money that client can pay into my account. What I am saying however is that focusing on the audience when we take photographs is normally a great disguise for the reality: we are photographing not for others, but for our egos, and we see others just as a pump to inflate that great balloon we esteem so much.

The other day I was reading an interview of Michael Kenna. A great artist, life liver and photography poet who said something which resonated inside of me so strongly. When we photograph we should not be stealing photos from the land, raping it, killing it, grabbing a trophy, hunting a shot, capturing, recording, imposing ourselves on what is out there as if that out there had no spirit in itself…We should just be listening to what (who?) we have in front, establishing a connection, a dialogue. We should be asking permission to make a photograph, be making a friend, showing the photograph to the subject and saying “this is how I saw you today,  see you soon” since we will surely come back to grow on that relation. I could not agree more. Basically, I imagined trees could photograph and thought: Would I feel good if a tree would grab a photograph from me without saying a word, run and post that image just to prove how great he was as a photographer? Maybe I would feel pity for him, since had he asked me first, I would have adopted a special pose for him, or make my flowers bloom just for the great occasion.

Please, next time you grab your camera and go out there, think out loud: Am I a listener, or am I a killer?

Personally, I have realized that the more I listen, the more I realize how deaf I was before…In the end, nothing needs to be killed. Life alone will do that for everything which exists. Do not kill it thus, just enjoy it while it is alive.

R

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I am really glad to announce that 6 of my panoramic photographs have been awarded in the recent Panoramic Photographer of the Year Awards 2012.

One of them has been awarded a Silver Award, while the others got a Bronze Award.

Will that change my life? Hmmm…nope. Does it make me stronger, smarter, a better photographer, more “successful”? I guess not…

But it is kind of nice!

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Hi all,

Yesterday I had the chance of being interviewed by Pierre Philippe Cadert on the radio programme “A première vue”, on the Radio Suisse Romande, the main radio of the french speaking side of Switzerland.

During 1 hour, we could discuss about different aspects of art, photography, my work and vision, the motivations and life philosophy of a nature photographer, future projects… I must reckon that I had a lot of fun and time flew. Not only Pierre Philippe is a great professional journalist, he is also a really great guy. The current passed through quite quickly and I specially loved the questions, very much targeting all those aspects I really consider interesting in photography: the beauty of seeing beyond the surface, the place of photography in the field of art, how photography can really open new doors in the way we conceive and see the world…

If you want to download the podcast for your iphone-ipod-ipad the link can be found here.

Otherwise, you can start downloading the mp3 file of the whole interview by clicking here or directly over the photo below!

I must precise however, the interview was made in French…

Great light to you all and take care ;-)

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Hi there!

I have been off the radar for a couple of weeks, since things are moving quite a lot from this side….Stay tuned since in the following couple of months quite a lot of new things are going to be unveiled!!

Anyway, I am glad to tell you that I will have an exhibition of my work during the month of May at the Fnac Lausanne, moving then to Fnac Geneva during the month of June. There will be also two Masterclasses held, during which I will discuss about different aspects of landscape photography by using some of my photographs. They will be on the friday the 4th May at Lausanne (fully booked already) and on the 7th of June at Geneva from 18:00 to 19:30 (some places available it seems!). So if you are interested, do not hesitate to sign up at the Fnac website!

Take care and see you maybe?!

 

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