Emerging Photographer: Isadora Romero
“What moves me is to tell fantastic stories, places that don’t exist, exaggerations, idealisations and dreams. Recreate, represent, reinterpret what touches or scares me.” Isadora Romero
Isadora Romero. Born in 1987 in Ecuador, Isadora Romero is currently studying photography at “Universidad de Palermo” in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Before that, she had taken photography classes for a year and a half at the “Centre Alliance Francaise” in Quito (Ecuador) and studied film for three years.
Artist statement: “My series usually begin with an image that I have stuck in my head, of which I neither know why or where it came from. After a while, I start to analyze and decipher its meaning and then seek for ways of representation. That is amazing, because usually I can not articulate that idea at all. Until I take the first photo and the idea comes to life. It’s a bit like opening a black hole which then spits out everything that was in it.”
“Absurda Melancolía” by Isadora Romero
Isadora Romero, what was your first camera and photographic experience?
My first camera was actually not a real camera, it was more an “imagined camera”. I was so fascinated with photography and the magical processes taking place inside a camera,that at the age of nine I built my own camera out of cardboard boxes and toilet paper tubes. I put a tiny roll of plain paper in it and then went to “photograph” my whole family. I took a mental snapshot, then I hid myself and started drawing on paper what I’d seen. After completing the “roll of film”, I took it to my bathroom-laboratory, where I’d prepared dishes containing different mixtures of water, oils, perfumes, powders and soaps to simulate the process of developing film. Later I put the “copies” up to dry.
Finally, I gave each family member a piece of paper with a ballpoint pen stain, powder residue and a rich smell. These abstract figures were my first exposure to what would become my life: create images.
Why did you become a photographer?
My way is dizzying, not straight-forward. At a very early age, I decided I wanted to make films. And I always had the certainty that it was that, what I wanted to do in my life. When I finished high-school, I started taking photography classes while I was thinking about the right place to study film. At the same time thought that knowing about photography would later be beneficial when studying film. And after all, I’d always felt great fascination for taking pictures.
I finished my studies of film and photography. And after a difficult time, I realized that I wanted to take photography to another level. I wanted to experiment more with it. That showing and telling a story in a single frame, was not a limitations, but a very liberating experience. The fact that the work is between oneself, the photographer, the camera and the subject being photographed allows me to translate my ideas more purely than a film production, that requires many people. So I decided to continue my studies of photography and take the time to experiment a lot, which is what I like to do.
“Retrato con fotógrafa, cámara y amigo”: The portrait of a self-portrait, a light that shows what’s behind and in front of a picture, showing that pomposity is not always true and real. An invitation to understand that photography is a back and forth process.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography to me means light, expression, and time. All of us I think have felt at one point the urgent need to communicate to someone else exactly in a specific moment. In my case, it’s more about a feeling, to express exactly how I feel in a particular moment. To me photography is that link, a direct means of communication, with honesty and fear. In my opinion, the best photos are not always the technically best achieved ones or that attract most attention. I prefer the ones that you like to look at again and again, timeless moments that stick to your mind; immortalize a particular feeling towards something. This subconscious transmission, or in other words the direct dialogue with the author’s heart through light, that’s what my photography is about.
Which photographer has inspired you most? In what way?
I’m not a person who can admire someone in particular. I draw inspiration from many parts of several sides, from various authors, conscious and unconscious associations. So I’ll talk about a couple. Ryan McGinley is a relatively new photographer. I am inspired by his photographs because they speak of purity and honesty. They inspire me because they break with the classical schools of photography, and transmit and reflect for me the essence of human beings.
Furthermore, the work of David Hokney really inspires me; a cubist painter and photographer, who was the first to create cubist photography. He also dared to break the boundaries of space and time. His distortion of the image and the flipped format, caught my attention from the minute I first saw his work, because it’s a continuous search of treatment of passing time in photography.
Last but not least, I have to name Jeff Wall, one of the first photographers to perform amazing staging for their photos. Coming from a video and film background, at first I felt that I needed more than one image to tell what I wanted to tell. When I saw the photographs of Jeff Wall I understood that one picture is more than enough.
So it’s generally more contemporary photographers who inspire me, because I believe they are the central axes with the past that raise important new questions regarding photography today.
Jeff Wall: “The Renewal of Contemporary Photography”
“Photography has traditionally claimed to represent something actual and many people have questioned if it ever shows us the truth.” Jeff Wall
Your favorite photography quote?
It’s by German filmmaker Wim Wenders, from his essay on photography “To Shoot Pictures”, introductory text from his photography book called “Once”:
To take pictures (rather: to have the incredible privilege of taking pictures) is ‘too good to be true’. But just as well it is too true to be good. Wim Wenders
How would you describe your photographic language and way of working?
I feel my personal style is still evolving as I love experimenting. I’m always keen on trying new things. Also because I get easily bored. But yes, I have many things that motivate me and that I want to see reflected in my photos. The first thing is my fascination for the passing of time represented in a single image, or in a single work. And that time tells something important.
The second thing is the relationship between the pictorial and photographic. All the similarities and differences that exist between these two languages, which to me “fight” like brothers. They distance themselves, but are influenced by one another at all times. In this context of experimentation I like the strokes that can be made with light, like painting a picture, and I’m not referring to the process of “light painting”. It’s more about understanding the camera as a paintbrush that can generate different types of lines and forms to “paint” and create images.
And the third things has to do with the relation to the subject of my photography. What moves me is to tell fantastic stories, places that don’t exist, exaggerations, idealisations and dreams. Recreate, represent, reinterpret what touches or scares me. Mainly because I’ve always loved creating worlds in my head, imagine stories that don’t make sense, but which are always an expression of my inner being. In other words the things that my head articulates and that I don’t quite understand.
In addressing personal work, it usually begins with an image that I have stuck in my head, of which I neither know why or where it came from. After a while, I start to analyze and decipher the meanings and then seek for ways of representation. That is amazing, because usually I can not articulate that idea at all. Until I take the first photo and the idea comes to life. It’s a bit like opening a black hole which spits out everything that was in it. I then understand why I had that picture in my mind and with it the concept takes shape. Following that first step, I’m looking for the images that complement the concept.
“El Vuelo sin Orillas” by Isadora Romero
- Isadora Romero “El Vuelo sin Orillas” www.isadoraromero.com
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic voice?
I think, as I said before, that photography should be an honest act. I feel more and more that with so many external influences, so much visual overstimulation, it getting harder and harder to develop a personal style and get distracted along the way.
Personal style is that even though the pictures are very different, there is an essence of the author in each of them. And this is very important, to me it goes beyond the technical or narrative aspect, or the subject. Personal style reflects the honesty one has when approaching a subject with a particular technique. And I think it is important to keep in mind as to where one wants to go as a photographer and what one wants to express with each project.
The search for a photographic voice is an endless process, but one should always know to be on track, I guess. The honesty in the approach to show something that has always much to do with the individual.
I don’t believe that in these modern times the style has to do with being original, but rather with knowing how to decode the times that we live in, and the needs which makes us want to desperately express something.
What do you consider to be the axis of your work?
Regarding the conceptual, I’m looking for three things that motivate me, as I’ve already mentioned above. That influences technical aspect of realizing a photographic series, and determines whether it’s working very clearly or more abstractly. What is always very important to me, is to distance the picture from the obvious reality. And I try to achieve that by any means. The chromatic handling is a search for alteration of reality, which is why only in certain cases I preserve the “real” the tone of objects and environment. Then it’s also a very important aspect of my work to present a femininity. A vindication of the imagined female. Amid such alienation.
What qualities and characteristics does a good photographer need?
Knowing very well the technique, but not allow to be dominated by it. Also experience, an open mind, the ability to “see” with all senses and alway wanting to learn new things.
What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes?
Honesty and magic.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
From all the things I like: other photographers, painters, art concepts, history of painting, of how light acts on an object, dreams, desires, music, songs, concerns about the present, the future and society – and a lot from my childhood.
What do you consider to be more important: a perfect use of the camera or a strong photographic idea and concept?
I think the latter is a consequence of the first. When you control the beast (camera), it becomes docile and one gets the best out of it – and it gets the best out of you. However, it’s always important to keep in mind, that after all it’s not only the camera that takes a photo, and that an image without a concept is just one more image.
What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?
A Canon EOS 7D. I also work with a Canon F1 analog and currently I’m exploring analog medium format photography. But digital photography occupies almost all of my work.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
While many criticize it, I grew up with Flickr and still visit the site a lot. While it is a very difficult place to find good photography, concepts and important information because of its great diversity, one learns to distinguish things in the midst of so many images and every now and then gets inspired by the work of very talented emerging artists.
What photography book would you recommend?
“Art and Photography” by David Campany. It is an excellent tour of contemporary photography and its relationship to art throughout history and today. Very motivating and inspiring.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a professional photographer?
To ask oneself why and if one has come up with an answers, keep asking the same question continuously. If the response evolves, photography is the right language.
More information about photographer Isadora Romero
Official homepage: www.isadoraromero.com