“I focus my work on documenting people and their environment. In order to express what I want, I normally establish a first contact with the people that are subject of the pictures and if the circumstances allow it, I let pass some time, enough to let them forget the presence of the camera.”
Yurian Quintanas Nobel (born in 1983 in Amsterdam) is a Spanish photojournalist and travel photographer currently based in Barcelona. He studied photography at the “Escola Superior d’Imatge y Disseny” (IDEP) in Barcelona.
After that, Yurian Quintanas Nobel worked as an assistant for various National Geographic photographers. He describes the focus of his work as follows:
“Gradually I’m becoming more interested in human stories away from the daily news and more related to my own view of life.”
Yurian Quintanas Nobel has been awarded several prizes and has received scholarships like the XIII International Photojournalism Meeting of Gijon, the Magnum Photo Workshop scholarship with Chien-Chi Chang and the selection for “Descubrimientos Photoespacio 2012”. His photos have been published in: Burn Magazine, F8 Magazine, Descobrir Catalunya, and F-Stop Magazine, Piel de Foto.
“Grabarka: Between Earth and Heaven”
The Holy Mount of Grabarka, also known as “The mountain of the 6000 crosses” is the largest center of worship of the Orthodox community in Poland. The story goes that in the 18th century a man suffering from cholera, had a dream and put a cross on top of the mountain and miraculously healed. From that day people have not ceased to carry crosses to the sanctuary and year after year the mountain has been filled with thousands of them. Grabarka is a place full of mysticism and spirituality; a sacred place that serves its devotees as a link between the world of the living and the dead.
Interview with Yurian Quintanas Nobel
Yurian, what was your first camera and photographic experience?
My first camera was a simple compact camera that I got when I was a kid. When I began studying photography, I needed a camera to do the exercises in class, so I borrowed a Pentax SLR analog from my parents.
Why did you become a photographer?
The freedom to do something on my own and have control over the whole process. I’ve always liked to draw, but with photography I found a medium of expression much more immediate that allowed me to get into situations that I probably would have never lived without a camera. I also would have liked to be a musician or an illustrator.
What does photography mean to you?
An enjoyable way to explore and discover the world in and outside myself.
Which photographer has inspired you most and why?
Robert Frank, Eugene Richards, Alex Webb, Trent Parke, Harry Gruyaert, and Josef Koudelka.
It is important to view and analyze many different photographers to absorb new ideas.
“My photographs are not planned or composed in advance and I do not anticipate that the onlooker will share my viewpoint. However, I feel that if my photograph leaves an image on his mind–something has been accomplished.”
What’s your favorite photography quote?
“I enjoy watching the world through the camera because it serves me as a tool to discover the world around me, but, above all, to understand more about myself.”
I don’t know who said this.
How would you describe your photographic style and way of working? How do you realize a shooting?
Some people say that my photographs convey loneliness and mystery. My photographs cover mostly people and travel photography. Also I do urban photography, but I focus my work on documenting people and their environment.
In order to express what I want, I normally establish a first contact with the people that are subject of the pictures and if the circumstances allow it, I let some time pass, enough to let them forget the presence of the camera.
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic style and how did you achieve it?
It’s important that your pictures show your way of understanding the world. A good way to learn is to try to imitate your references, and eventually the sum of the style of all of them will become your own style.
What qualities does a good photographer need?
Curiosity, understanding, perseverance and creativity.
What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes?
In a world saturated with images, it is difficult that something surprises you. I like the pictures that makes me ask questions, that look unusual to my eyes and that shows the personality of the photographer.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
Sometimes a project idea can come by chance (listening to a song, in a conversation, watching a movie, taking pictures etc.) and sometimes it is something else planned.
How do you keep up to date with new developments in photography, to keep on learning new things?
Blogs, magazines, books, and photographers websites.
What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?
A full frame Digital SLR with a 35mm or a 24-70mm.
What’s your favorite website on photography?
Magnum Photos, Burn Magazine, and Luceo Images.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a professional photographer?
Spend your time doing what you like to do.