“I let my guts guide me more than my brain or technical aspects.”
Alicia Rius (born in 1982) is a contemporary photographer, currently based in San Francisco, California (USA).
When it comes to photography she is self-taught. Alicia Rius is represented by Galerie-Sakura (Paris, France), Oorbi Gallery (Brignais, France), FOCO Gallery (Madrid, Spain), Inspal (Girona, Spain) and Kochxbos Gallery (Amsterdam, Netherlands).
“My work is a search for hidden treasures. I slip off into the dark of abandoned places, hoping to uncover their secrets. Among the cobwebs and the shy light that streams through broken windows, I search for objects punished by time. My aim is to rescue them from the dust and show their beauty; a beauty as fragile as the silence that surrounds them. After their years spent in oblivion, I turn them back into the protagonists of their own story – while trying to preserve the last breath of mystery and nostalgia.”
Interview with Alicia Rius
Alicia, What was your first camera and photographic experience?
My first camera was a second-hand Nikon D80. I bought it because I wanted to be able to print my photos in a bigger size, but I never bought it to start with photography in a professional way.
Why did you become a photographer?
I don’t consider myself a photographer. I don’t have the technical background but I have the eye and the sensibility for capture beautiful things. So maybe because of this, I see myself more like an artist.
But there was never a day that I decided to be a “photographer”. I just started it as a hobby and somehow this brought me where I am now. It was never planned.
What does photography mean to you?
It means a lot to me. It means to have another way to channel my creativity, it means to be able to show to the world the way I see it, that I have plenty of freedom to express myself the way I want. And since this is not a job, I just do it whenever I want and with no briefings! It’s the means freedom to me, and this, makes me feel fulfilled.
Which photographer has inspired you most and why?
The main influence is the movie director and producer Tim Burton.
I always loved his ability to mix the dark with the light, what is creepy with romanticism. He is amazing mixing hybrid worlds and deliver something beautiful and soft.
There are other photographers that I admire: Gregory Colbert, Steve McCurry, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Teuku Jody, Michal Karcz…
“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event.”
What’s your favorite photography quote?
The are a few that I really like. Even though they are not photographers, their words are inspiring.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
“Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul.”
William Somerset Maugham
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic voice and how did you achieve it?
Have the eye and a different way to see the world. And of course, be good in the way you communicate it to the world.
What do you consider to be the axis of your work – technically and conceptually?
This is a difficult question. To be honest I’m not very aware of these elements when I work. I just set up the camera and I take different pictures until I have one I like. I let my guts guide me more than my brain or technical aspects.
What qualities and characteristics does a good photographer need?
Have a good eye to see a photo where nobody else sees it.
Be patient, persistent and very self-demanding.
Oh, and enjoy photography a lot! Never forget to have fun. Some of the best photos are the ones you didn’t even prepare.
What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes?
The light and the colors. Then the composition and the subject.
I think there are many incredible photography subjects, but if the light and the colors are wrong, then the composition or the topic you choose don’t matter. The photo is bad. It’s like a TV commercial. The concept can be as bad as you want, but if you choose the right actors and the right director, then the commercial catches your attention. Goal achieved!
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
I’m always keen to search for online inspiration, especially for color treatment and light setup. I also pay a lot of attention to the director of photography in movies for composition.
I also follow different contests and I check the portfolio of the winners. The ones I like, I put them in my Pinterest to check on them later.
What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?
I have the Nikon D90 and I just bought the D600 (full frame). I have a 50mm 1:2, a Nikkor 14-24mm f/2:8, Nikkor 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6, Manfrotto tripod and a flash that I don’t remember the model.
I need to buy other lenses for he D600, but step by step.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
I don’t have a favorite, there are so many! But the first thing I do when I wake up is to check FWA “Photo of the Day”.
What photography book would you recommend?
Anyone that can inspire you. I like street photography, so I have a few of them even though I don’t practice it. I love “Saul Leiter, Early Color”. He is an American street photographer from the 40’s and it’s amazing how he captures that “second” of someone’s life.
I also have National Geographic books and I read the online magazine F8 Magazine.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a professional photographer?
Love what you do, trust your vision, listen and learn from everybody, be self-critique and work hard.