“Concept, spontaneity, and “the decisive moment”, that’s what I value in my street photography pictures, especially if it’s an image that can’t be repeated. I think that’s the key to street photography: exclusivity.”
David Ortega (born in 1972) is a Spanish landscape and street photographer. He’s self-taught, and even David Ortega doesn’t consider himself a professional photographer, taking pictures is his great passion.
David Ortega, what was your first camera and photographic experience?
I started with a 3 megapixel compact camera, and then I got into the world of DSL.
Why did you become a photographer?
The truth is that my environment has never been related very much to photography. I can’t quite explain how I got hooked. I just started and I couldn’t stop. Without knowing it’s something I carry within me. I feel like doing photography serves me as a daily therapy in order to become better and better everyday day.
What does photography mean to you?
Which photographer has inspired you most and why?
I don’t know, maybe Lee Friedlander and Garry Winogrand. The truth is that I try to be myself, and give my touch to the photos, and the best way to give my personal touch is to make them yourself. Although it is true that I’ve visited sites on street photography, like “In-Public”, “Street Photographer” and here in Spain a very good one called “Calle 35”.
Lee Friedlander – Analysis of the life and work of this great American Street Photographer, obsessed by taking pictures all the time
What’s your favorite photography quote?
“Only powerfully conceived images have the ability to penetrate the memory, to stay there, in short to become unforgettable.”
How would you describe your photographic voice and creative process?
At this stage, I divide my work in landscape and street photography. That’s what fulfills me most. And although they are two very different genres, both unite two characteristics every photograph must have: technique and concept. If I were able to link these two issues, I would find my personal style, which I’m still looking for right now. As for going about my photographic work, I try to do it from the heart, from the passion for taking pictures for the sake of creating art. I just like to take pictures. I’m not professional yet – but I hope get very good at taking pictures, just in case that one day I’ll decide to become a professional photographer.
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic language and how did you achieve it?
The photographic personality as in life comes with experience. Moreover, I consider it a sign of photographic maturity. I do not think too much about “style”. There are many changes in the path of an artist, and in the end, you eventually decide with time to do what you really wants to do. That’s personal style! When you decide what you want to do because it’s what you really think is worth doing. Modestly, I hope someday to get a personal style and to speak of it. I understand the other side, you have people with an innate capacity that can make great strides and come a long way.
What do you consider to be the axis of your work – technically and conceptually?
Right now, as I said before, I divide my work into two genres: landscape and street photography. Technically, I try to be a perfectionist with the landscape, but with street photography, I put much more focus on the photographic environment than in the photograph and technique itself. Concept, spontaneity, and “the decisive moment”, that’s what I value in my street photography pictures, especially if it’s an image that can’t be repeated. I think that’s the key to street photography: exclusivity.
What qualities and characteristics does a good photographer need?
What a photographer needs to have, just like any other person who’s doing something out of pleasure, is to develop a passion for what he or she is doing. And then have hope for whatever comes afterwards.
What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes?
I do not know how to answer this question. I’m not even sure if I’ve ever managed to take a really great photograph.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
From life itself.
What do you think is more important: a perfect use of the camera or a strong and creative photographic idea?
Imagine a writer with no fingers – even with that handicap it’s still possible to write a great book, somehow one can find a way. The same happens with a photographer happens. The camera is just the tool to reach a certain goal. There is something that neither the material nor the equipment have: talent.
What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?
I currently use a Nikon D7000.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
Lately, I investigated everything that has to do with street photography, but I have no favorite website, as I said before, I think “In-Public”, “Street Photographer” and “Calle 35” are good sources of information about street photography.
What photography book would you recommend?
“Art and Visual Perception” by Rudolf Arhheim.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a professional photographer?
That depends if he or she wants to be a professional photographer or not. If you want to be professional, I wouldn’t know what to answer. Otherwise I would advise you not to lose hope and keep on taking pictures, no matter what. Someday it could change the world, and that’s nice.