David Barreiro (born 1982) is a documentary photographer from Spain currently based in Vigo. He studied photography at EFTI School, Madrid.
Instead of giving answers with his images he intends to raise questions in those looking at his photography.
In one of his most recent projects called “The Hill of the Restless Wolves”, Daniel Barreiro went to Iceland to document the construction of a neighbourhood from scratch in the face of the dooming economic crisis of 2008.
“There is aways more than just appearance. Photography should not intend to give answers, but to question the spectator.”
Interview with David Barreiro
David, why did you become a photographer? And what does photography mean to you?
To be honest I must say I do not remember the exact reason why I started taking photos. I suppose it was a mixture of reasons.
At that time I had just left my studies of computer engineering and I decided to study art, which had always greatly attracted me, but during the sabbatical year, that I decided to take between the disciplines, I began to take pictures.
I realized that I was interested enough to try to specialize in that field.
What attracted me most, I suppose, is the multidisciplinary character of the medium. For me it was always difficult to focus on one thing, and photography allows me to bring together some of my interests within a single media.
- 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 other words: How would you describe your photographic language and creative process?
I take decisions regarding the aesthetic of the project depending on the topic I am working with.
I like to do different things since I get bored easily. I don’t believe in the idea of the photographer keeping certain style their whole career once they find one that works. I think you shouldn’t be scared of changing.
In this case I wanted to make images that would create a distance between the spectator and the subject, something like what would happen in a play at the theatre.
When I was portraying people I wanted them to be just characters in a play, part of the whole scenario. No psychological link with the spectator or whatsoever.
I was being critical, and I didn’t want to be disrespectful. They weren’t doing something wrong. I wasn’t talking about them. That’s something I’m really interested in: How the scenario controls the characters often in the great theatre of life! I know, of course, that at the end the scenario is also created by people.
What reaction do you intend to provoke in people looking at you photos?
For me the important thing is that people thinks about what they are looking at. That’s why I give a lot of info with each picture.
“This work is for those who are patient enough to spend time looking and also thinking about what they are seeing.”
I am talking about this particular project, “The Hill of the Restless Wolves”, and I am using the same strategy on the project I am working on at the moment, but with certain differences.
Anyway, I also try to attract them to the topic through composition and color. I tried to create perfect compositions according with my own criteria. I know this pictures might look boring for many people out there, but I also know that people get bored easily. So I would say that this work is especially for those who are patient enough to spend time looking and also thinking about what they are seeing.
I think the pictures are complex in some way, because the topic is also complex.
- Which photographer has inspired you most?
This is also difficult to answer because it depends on the month, or week, or even the day. I can tell you who is inspiring me at this moment. I am looking at the work of Bryan Schutmaat and Rob Hornstra. I think they are both amazing photographers.
What’s your favorite inspirational quote about photography?
“Reality shows its deepest truths through banality.”
I don’t remember the exact quote, the author or where I found it, but I know it goes something like this: “Reality shows its deepest truths through banality.”
What kind of camera and equipment do you use?
This work and the one I am editing at this moment was done with a 6×7 Mamiya 7 film camera, but I’ve just got a 4×5 field camera which I will use this spring for my next adventure.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
Yours and thisisacult.org. I just love when media questions the authors. You can get a lot of interesting info from their answers.
What book about photography would you recommend?
I couldn’t recommend any specific book of photography because I am a bit tired of them at this moment, but I can recommend my favourite book: “The Steppenwolf” by Herman Hesse.
In some way I think it could be a useful book for photographers. It makes you think about the complexity of reality.
“The Hill Of The Restless Wolves” from David Barreiro
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