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Interview With Spain Street Photographer Alvaro Vegazo

Alvaro Vegazo is a street photographer from Spain. Today we will get to know his opinion on street photography. For him, street photography forces them to slowly see everything happening around them as if it were a meditation practice. Let us carry on the discussion of street photography with him.

Thanks, Alvaro, for accepting our invite.

Thank you for joining us here today! could you please introduce yourself?

Hi!, I’m from Sanlucar de Barrameda in Spain, and I’m a Civil Engineer. Photography is my passion, especially I like Street and Documentary Photography. I started to photograph when I was 15 years old, but nothing serious until 2013. And it was so formal, that photography became an obsession more than a passion.

What first drew you to street photography—and how did you discover it? 

The first thing that attracted me was the aesthetics, and I discovered it casually taking photography on the street with my mobile. When I started sharing my photos on the net, I could see that there were people who were doing something similar and who called it streetphotography. It was when I started to learn about this type of photography.

Please share some of your memories of art & street photography?

I remember that when I saw street photography in a massive way on the Internet, they didn’t attract me much. It wasn’t until I began to see works by great authors of history that I really began to understand this type of photography.

What makes street photography so special for you?

Mainly because it forces me to look at everything that happens around me more slowly, as if it were a meditation exercise. Because it forces me to work the scene more, until obtaining a result, in my opinion, more satisfactory. And also all this with a careful composition. In short: total connection with the environment, anticipation and composition to finally transmit surrealism, irony, humor, etc.

When did you start shooting and how did this love for photography happen?

In 2013, I became interested in documentary photography, and it was in 2015 when I held a workshop of this type of photography in Morocco. It was a turning point for me, I started to see photography from a different perspective, I started to feel it differently, in a much more intense way.

Just when I returned to Spain from Morocco I was encouraged to develop my own projects, and I felt the need to be continuously taking photos, that's when I I started using the phone to take potos in the street. I discovered the visual richness that the street offered. Really, in my beginnings my fears were evident, but little by little I was losing them. I could see that street photography amused me enormously, and the best, I could practice it whenever I wanted Here in Spain we have a very special light, very intense, especially where I live, the Costa de la Luz. In this sense, my beginnings were taking backlights from people on light backgrounds, mainly walls. I couldn't stop taking these photos, and it was when I discovered that more people were taking this type of photography. Unbeknownst to me, this type of photography had become fashionable online.

How does black and white vs color play into your work?

It’s a decision that I try to make just before taking the photo, not afterward. I usually use black and white in minimalist photographs and with great contrast between elements, and on the other hand, I usually use color when it contributes to the composition, especially when these colors complement each other or when I’m able to fill much of the frame with a primary color.

What was the proudest moment in your photography career so far?

Street photography has brought me great experiences both personally and with great friends. I had the opportunity to publish my photos and articles in digital media, and other paper media, both nationally and internationally. This, together with obtaining prizes in some competitions, served as a motivation to continue learning about the genre and improve day by day. Perhaps the proudest moment was being a finalist at The Miami Street Photography Festival in 2019.

What is a good photograph for you?

A good photograph for me is one that produces a great impact on its first visualization, and that makes it closely observed by the conjunction of its contextualization, morphology, composition and message. All this depends on the life experience of each observer, so that the same photo can cause different effects on different people.

What are some of your favorite books on street photography

Perhaps these, although some have more documentary character

“The Suffering of Light” by Alex Web

“Divided Soul” by David Alan Harvey

“Vanitas” by Cristóbal Hara

What are your thoughts on working on single images versus projects?

I think street photography has to function as a single work, but I also think that it can be integrated as part of a project. In my case, I have a project that arose after having accumulated photographs with the same aesthetics and nearby locations. Finally, I gave it the form of a book called "Transits of Light".

When you are out shooting—how much of it is instinctual versus planned?

It depends, sometimes I go to the street with an idea of the type of photographs I want to obtain, mainly when it comes to a popular event or party. When this doesn’t happen I go out with the camera to see what I find.

Who are some of your favorite classic photographers, and how did they influence you?

I already mentioned them before with the books: Alex Webb for how he is able to order several layers in the same frame and for how he composes with primary colors. Alan Harvey for his way of understanding life and its relationship with photography, for his complex compositions where everything makes sense. And Cristobal Hara for those surreal images that break all the rules, but are capable of moving you.

Apart from photography, what are your interests and hobbies?

Not many more, mainly exercising and following soccer.

The Street Photo Collective wants to thank you once again for this interview. Do you have some tips for budding street photographers?

I recommend that they dare to go out with the camera on the street and that they don’t have a problem with the first fears, little by little it will gain expertise. That they try every time they go out to photograph not to take many photos, but to try to be selective in taking them. That they observe many books by great authors, that they have at least one project in their main, and enjoy sharing experiences with other photographers.

Alvaro Vegazo, interviewed by Street Photo Collective

Note: Alvaro Vegazo was a Finalist in the The Miami Street Photography Festival in 2019

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