Home Contemporary Photography The Voyeur With The Camera

The Voyeur With The Camera

© Alberto Natan

“I choose a theme or a feeling, and then I pursue it and try to express it photographically. In my pictures there is darkness, there is desolation, closure, structures, geometry and sublime light. I always try to respect the poetry, the sublime, the symbology.”

Alberto Natan

Interview with Alberto Natan

Alberto, where did you study photography?

I started with a three-month long workshop at the Foto Club Buenos Aires when I was 16 years old. After that, all I know about photography, I tought myself, I’m a true autodidact.

Your first camera and photographic experience?

My first camara was a kids camara, a “Kodak Fiesta”. When I was a little bit older, I used a Voigtländer, together with my father I was taking pictures, very instinctively, without thinking a lot.

When I was young, I also had a telescope, which I used to peek into the windows in the building across from my room. That was my first experience as an “observer”.

Why did you become a photographer?

It was the first proper career I developed. In a way I inherited it from my mother who is a painter and illustrator. In my case, photography gave me the possibility to “draw” without using pen and paper – and make a living out of it. The camara gives my the opportunity to express myself artistically and observe the world through the lens. I am and have always been a voyeur, a “spy”.

What does photography mean to you?

Everything. In my life absolutely everything is related to photography – my women, friends etc. Photography, that’s a 100% experience in my life.

“I choose a theme or a feeling, and then I pursue it and try to express it photographically. In my pictures there is darkness, there is desolation, closure, structures, geometry and sublime light. I always try to respect the poetry, the sublime, the symbology.”

Alberto Natan

Which photographer has inspired you most and why?

When I began as a photographer, there were not many books available, no internet and in the photo clubs I used to go to, we didn’t talk much about other artists. So in the beginning of my career, I was not really influenced by any other photographer. What I saw, I absorbed like a sponge. Then from the 1990s on, I had more access to other authors and their work. I travelled, saw exhibitions and books.

Then Jan Saudek, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Henri Cartier-Bresson, André Kertész, Grete Stern and Robert Mapplethorpe became mayor sources of inspiration just as renaissance and impressionist painters. Musicians of the 1970s also inspire me.

Your all time favorite photo? Why?

My favorite picture is always the last one I took. From other authors, I can’t pick a single one. There are many photographs I’d like to buy and observe.

How would you describe your photographic style and way of working?

I’m very independent, I don’t follow any school. I do what I feel like doing – and I take my time. Some series may take from two to eight years for me to finish. Currently I’m working more with digital photography, before 2003 I used almost exclusively an analog camara.

I choose a theme or a feeling, and then I pursue it and try to express it photographically. In my pictures there is darkness, there is desolation, closure, structures, geometry and sublime light. I always try to respect the poetry, the sublime, the symbology.

I always used to spend a lot of time in the darkroom, developing my pictures. Now I mostly use Photoshop. Currently I’m working on the theme called “Family Fantasies” which I realize mixing the analog and digital way, creating a kind of collage.

What’s important to develop an own photographic style and how did you achieve it?

The personal style develops over time. One has to pursue his own way, no matter what others say. It’s a constant process, that needs hard work, determination and dedication – with clearly defined criteria as to what one wants to express. A personal style is what you pour into your work. In order to be able to do that, one has to know one’s own personality very well. No matter what other’s may have already done, an artist must tell his own story or version, something truly personal.

What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes?

It has to seduce the viewer.

Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?

From within myself. It comes from experiences I have made and seeks a way out to be expressed artistically.

What do you consider more important? A perfect technical use of the camera or the photographic idea?

No doubt the camera is only a tool, a saw or a hammer. Without a concept in mind, and without creativity a perfect camera use doesn’t serve for anything at all.

What kind of camera and equipment do you use?

I use a Hasselblad to work commercially, and a Canon AE1 35mm for my personal work, or sometimes a Canon 60D – always with short lenses, my favorite is a 28 mm (analog) or its digital equivalent. I don’t trust the technical equipment too much, I rather trust my eyes and vision.

Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a professional photographer?

To take as many pictures as possible. And to learn from a mentor. In my eyes it doesn’t make so much sense to assist a workshop here, and a workshop there. When taking pictures, one should think about what one wants to tell, rely on one’s instincts – and later on evaluate the results carefully.

More about Alberto Natan

Alberto Natan is an Argentine photographer, born in 1961 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He began his career as a photographer in 1977 at Foto Club Buenos Aires.

Currently, he is dedicated to teaching and research of digital and analogue photography. But Alberto Natan is also involved in editing, publishing and developing personal photographic series.

Alberto Natan manages and contributes to the following internet sites on photography: Arteamundo www.arteamundo.com and “La Sombra” www.revistalasombra.com.ar.

Website

NEWSLETTER
Inspiring photographers from around the globe share their secrets and insights. Join the newsletter and you’ll get actionable advice to help you develop an unique photographic language and eventually take your craft as an image maker to the next level.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else. More information

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here