“It has always been hard for me to go by normal society structures, and photography was the way to focus all my energy and creativeness in a non-conventional way. It’s always been a way to escape from daily monotony for me.”

Juan Tribaldos (born in 1992) is a photographer currently based in San José, Costa Rica. He studied photography at Universidad Creativa (Photography School).

Artist statement

“I’m always looking for a not usual photographic way to show people how I see and feel reality, rather than the photography itself I focus on its message, to achieve an image that comes alive in the eyes of the spectator.”

Interview with Juan Tribaldos

Juan, what was your most memorable moment shooting pictures?

It’s hard to define a memorable moment, but as long as I’m getting to know new people or going to different places, that’s what really makes photography unique and special to me.

Why did you become a photographer?

When I was 14 years old I began experimenting with photography inspired by music and what I was living in that moment. It has always been hard for me to go by normal society structures, and photography was the way to focus all my energy and creativeness in a non-conventional way. It’s always been a way to escape from daily monotony for me.

What does photography mean to you and what do you want to say with your pictures?

Photography is what feeds my soul. As a photographer I am interested in showing my perspective of how I see and interact with the outside world, trying to transmit that only feeling that I get when I’m behind the lens, not for people to understand me but more to let them create their own story.

Which photographer has inspired you most?

I consider myself a photography geek. I’m always reading and seeing images from many photographers like James Mollison, Benoit Paillé, René Burri, Zhang Kechun, Alvaro Arroyo, Colectivo Nomada (Costa Rica), Pablo Cambronero and so on. They inspire me in plenty of ways: technically, how they control light, how they choose composition and of course the overall narrative of their projects.

What’s your favorite photography quote?

“The truth is the best picture, the best propaganda.”

Robert Capa

How would you describe your photographic language and creative process?

I like to investigate before I plan a photographic work. I really need to have a research work before I know what I’m looking for and to get involved with the subject. I think I haven’t reached the point where I can say that I have a sharp language, but I’m looking forward to getting there one day. It has been one of the most difficult things for me to discover.

Documental and street photography is what I am most passionate about. I think personally it’s what describes me the most because for me the most significant thing is to use photography as a weapon of awareness.

What’s important in order to develop an own photographic voice?

I think the most important thing is to define a personal style. I mean that every photographic work that you make has a unique aesthetic and manifesto.

What do you consider to be the axis of your work – technically and conceptually?

Technically I like to combine wide-angle lenses, looking for interesting light and composition staying true to the image, with vivid colors or sometimes black and white. I like to get involved not only professionally but personally with the work and the subject.

What qualities and characteristics does a good photographer need?

There are three important things: to be authentic, humble and stay true to yourself and your believes.

What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes? Especially keeping in mind the over abundance of photographic imagery in today’s society.

It needs to evoke feelings in the viewer, to make a deep connection between the picture and the observer, to tell me more than the photographer himself wants to express.

Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?

Music, cinematography, books, travelling, – art and design generally. I’d say I don’t have a specific muse.

What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?

I got a basic equipment: Canon 60D with my favorite lenses – 50mm and 10-20mm. Sometimes I like to use an external flash. I also got film, Canon AE-1 and lomographic cameras.

What’s your favorite website about photography?

I really enjoy Lightbox from the photo editors of Time Magazine, NY Times Lens Blog, Vice, tumblr etc. Mostly everything that I can find on the internet.

Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a (professional) photographer?

It’s hard for me to give someone an advice, cause I am too in the process of becoming a professional photographer. I think I would say: Work hard, be honest to yourself, focus on your goals, never ever lose your authenticity. Try also blogging, is a great idea to practice and show your work to others.

Juan Tribaldos is a documentary and street photographer from Costa Rica

Street life in Costa Rica captured by photographer Juan TribaldosMore about Juan Tribaldos


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