“When I was a child, I decided to choose the star which sparkles higher. That was a game I used to play with my grandfather. Years later I knew that the sparkle wasn’t from a star – was Venus’s planet, the one who always appears next to the Sun.”
Silvia Miralles (born 1977) is a contemporary photographer from Spain currently based in Terrassa.
She studied photography at EFFPC and CITM, both from UPC University.
Silvia Miralles tweets at @smiba_
Interview with Silvia Miralles
Silvia, your recent project is called “Inhabited Space”. What is it about and why did you decide to take on that particular subject?
To me there an uninhabited space doesn’t exists. Even avoid, nothingness is inhabited by itself. I chose the title ” Inhabited Space” because means precisely to live in a space, although nobody was living in there. The space is inhabited by itself with all that other people left, broken chairs, plugs and beds, etc. Still, with the chaos created by others and without anybody, space is inhabited by itself. He is never alone.
At the beginning of each project one often has some kind of idea in mind as to what the result could be like. Sometimes that changes along the way and the result is quite different. Is that the case and if so what have you learnt so far during the project?
In my experience I usually know exactly how is going to be once I see the puzzle. I just have to put all the pieces from the puzzle on the “correct” place. Sometimes I create pieces, is with time that I see the puzzle, which always existed anyway.
A photographer has many “tools” at hand to bring across his message: lenses, lighting, framing, color treatment etc. Can you elaborate a little bit on the techniques you used for this particular project in order to link form and content?
In this project was very important to me to define the matter of the space in a different time, for that reason I decided to choose photographs from the past shot with analog (35-80mm canon, camera canon eos 5)and for exposing the present I shot with digital photography (same equipment I explained in 5th question) going to the same point.
Became a certain point which I didn’t want to expose the space from the past anymore and I decided to explain how solving the chaos left from other people. Those pictures are taken with a digital camera, sometimes with my mobile.
Then I decided to draw the “prove” of the chaos left by them with photoshop, cleaning their actions and also knowing that was also part of maya, even was “real”. Landscapes and spaces are natural light, specific “proves” are with flash, like a kind of police shootings.
What reaction do you intend to provoke in people looking at you photos?
Thinking of people’s reaction was not my prior intention. when the project was exposed, a group of ladies (wich were really important for me at that time) went to see the exhibition. One of them told me that for her was a kind of love disappointment. Clearly I felt great having the feedback from this lady, she really gave me a treasure, a gift! She could see venus, even I was talking about the “Inhabited Space”.
“Each person develops their own vision and connect with their own memories, wishes and fear.”
In another hand, art is like music, each person develops their own vision and connect with their own memories, wishes and fears, so, people defines concepts which, in most cases, are far away from the main intention. Sometimes, there’s some who really can connect with you and this is wonderful - at the same time, a bit scary, I feel vulnerable. Happens also when you fall in love.
We live in a very visual society where images seem to lose their impact because of the sheer amount of visual imagery. What do you consider to be the biggest challenges contemporary photography is faced with? And what are the most important changes recently in photography?
This is a very good question. I guess the biggest challenge of contemporary photography is what to do with all data of images we have on different media and platforms. There are a lot of good photographers who show their work online, just a few can monetize their work actually, and there are a lot of good photographs, I must say. There are different kind of platforms with flex their image with photographer’s works, looks like collecting for me, creating day by day a big data of images.
My question is: What will they do in a future with such a big data? What will make the platform in a near future with a base of millions of good photographs?
I guess the business model goes to those collectors. This is fine to me, only if photographers get the same portion of the cake than the collectors. If this changes, turning this way, will also change the value of Art itself, and even money will be democratized.
What does a single photograph need in your opinion in order to stand out and get noticed? Especially keeping in mind the abundance of visual imagery in today’s society?
If a photograph fits with public’s storytelling, then, will be noticed.
Susan Sontag once said “The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality, and eventually in one’s own”. How has photography changed the way you look at the world and what have you learnt about yourself?
I totally agree with Susan Sontag. I am fascinated with the photographic image because shows photographer’s realities and at the same time reflect an average of subjective realities of who is looking at the image. I have learned that my shootings are just a kid of arrow which are launched, who knows to whom’s hearts.
Every photographer is going through different stages in his formation. Which “landmarks” do you recall that have marked you and brought you to the place where you are today as a photographer?
Landmarks. I like that word. I make a list:
- Sant Cugat, 1982 // Introducing the alphabet through my body.
- London, 1999 // The camera was always with me, was my mirror, my friend, who shows and cares. In lonely walks, felt always hold by nature.
- Esdi, 2000-2003 // Art and Multimedia, more tools to create.
- Terrassa, end 2004 // Reality was like break dance in the city.
- Colombia, 2008 // In the jungle with the natives Arhuacos.
- Barcelona, 2012 // A wine taste course and Serious Games and Transmedia, opening possibilities.
As you can see, life is my own formation.
Last but not least, let’s switch roles: Which question would you have liked to be asked in this interview about your work that I didn’t ask? Please feel free to add it – as well as the answer.
Q: Who inspires you in you work?
Why did you become a photographer? And what does photography mean to you?
I became a photographer because I needed to understand myself and my surroundings. It became a time that I could not define what was going on me until I could shoot and then through the photograph I could face inside. Nowadays I am a photographer who tries to connect with the world, facing outside.
Photography is a chameleon tool. Has lots of possibilities and technics, documentary, art, family storytelling, publicity, science, etc. Seems like photography face realities – when, in fact, reality is not possible to capture.
How would you describe your photographic language and creative process? How do you plan and execute a project? Both technically and conceptually?
The base is always from the feeling, then comes the thought and then action. The feeling=concept, thought=techniques, action= execution.
Which photographer has inspired you most?
I love Marina Abramoviƈ’s work. She explodes Love through art, se understand love and live through art. Her art work is her life.
What’s your favorite inspirational quote about photography?
What kind of camera and equipment do you use?
Now I use canon EOS 1D MARK II, 35-80mm canon.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
I am really eclectic with Arts in general. I cannot say any favorite specific website. I like to follow some brands I love how develop their Branding, also is important to me going to art exhibitions, being open to different tools and media to express.
What book about photography would you recommend?
“On photography” by Susan Sontag. I think still is nowadays inspiring.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to get started with photography?
Don’t forget marketing, also never forget having fun.