“I work with simplicity, with little equipment, and I don’t repeat pictures. I do not fight with reality, I move on. I appreciate both the result and the way to get it, their own gestures.”
Angel de la Rubia
Angel de la Rubia (born in 1981) is a contemporary photographer from Spain, currently based in between Rotterdam (Netherlands) and Paris (France). He studied photography at “Escuela de Artes de Oviedo”.
Interview Angel de la Rubia
Angel, what was your first photographic experience?
Actually when I was a teenager, I wanted to study film, but that was quite complicated. So I started taking pictures influenced by the Nouvelle Vague and documentary films from people like Robert Flaherty rather than by any photographer or style.
Why did you become a photographer?
Despite the earlier confession, starting by accident I now can not understand my life without photography. Many of my ideas about life have been modeled based on my ideas about photography, representation, time.
What does photography mean to you?
It’s a way to leave or read trails in this world, that’s so fleeting – and to see far in time and distance. I do not think we can understand much of the world through photography, but it is a means of feeding our curiosity about it. After all, the world is actually much more interesting than any picture we can take of it or show.
Which photographer has inspired you the most?
At an early point as a student I was looking up to Walker Evans. Then there was Donovan Wylie. In both cases they are honest photographers who love the simplicity of their environment and know and adapt to their own nature. I think for them it is more important to look closely at things than to take photographs.
“Leaving aside the mysteries and the inequities of human talent, brains, taste, and reputations, the matter of art in photography may come down to this: it is the capture and projection of the delights of seeing; it is the defining of observation full and felt.”
What is your favorite photography quote?
“Photography is a truth, and movies are 24 truths per second.”
Let’s see it not as an affirmation, but as a question, with all its problems and ambiguities, and I think we have the fundamental issue of our medium, photography – and the logic that evolves from it.
How would you describe your personal style?
I only work when I have something to photograph, something I think is necessary to be photographed. If not, it’d be just taking pictures. A single photograph is of little use to me. I’m interested in projects and their relationship to the world.
I work with simplicity, with little equipment, and I don’t repeat pictures. I do not fight with reality, I move on. I appreciate both the result and the way to get it, their own gestures. Once I embark on a project, after a long period of research, I try to forget everything, especially everything I know about photography. I try to be loyal only to the place and the people I work with, to that kind of reality that I decided to reach out to and represent in my pictures. I believe in ethical work and in the work’s ethic.
What qualities and characteristics does a good portrait photographer need?
Getting to know yourself.
How did you achieve to develop your own photographic style and why is it important to have one (or not to have it if you don’t consider it necessary)?
For me and my documentary, the subject defines the style. Although the initial decision is subjective, it is necessary to know the thread without forgetting the fundamental reasons for taking a picture or doing a job, and let what you photograph to be what whispers to you how it should be represented.
Over time, I think this creates more than a style in its most superficial sense: it creates a speech, ethics, aesthetics. And a person.
What does a great photo need in your eyes?
It has to be fair.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
History, philosophy, culture, politics. The world and its texts. And my personal experience of them.
How do you stay informed about new trends in photography?
For a while I was more interested in learning about art, media, history, and philosophy. Anyway, I still believe that it is necessary to occasionally spend a few hours in a library or a bookstore with a good, comprehensive photography section.
What do you consider to be more important: a perfect use of the camera or a strong photographic idea – a good concept?
The technique is a means. Even the idea and creativity are also media tools. They are necessary, but the most important thing is to know what is the purpose, and that is something to be discovered for oneself. It is difficult, but makes everything else easier.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a (professional) photographer?
See the world, listen to everything and everyone – but stay connected to yourself. I wish I could follow this advice also provided.