Public Republic random header image

Artist of the Week: Maria Jose Rivera – crossing the barrier between wakefulness and dreams

November 2, 2009 by · 2 comments

An interview with Maria Jose Rivera by Ani Vasileva


She always has admired the way people expresses their emotions. She doesn’t care how they do it. Everyone has an inner world and any way they choose to express it is fine with her.

She believes the most important thing about taking photos is having a direct relation with one’s feelings. Our mind is a huge labyrinth, and to make a composition, a song, a painting, any expression is like going to the center of that labyrinth – and – if you can get out of it, you will understand the meaning of your creation. Everything we do in life has a hidden meaning, and she loves to imagine the meaning of others in their creations.

Photography can do that with very few elements. You only need a camera and, most importantly, imagination or a good eye for seeing things that nobody can see, because everyone has a different point of view of this shared world.
She would like to tell you a wonderful story about how she began taking photos, but it would just be a big lie. Everything about photography in her life happened without notice.

She began to take photos with an analog camera when she was 12 years old. She loved taking pictures of familiar people and to be able to keep those moments that she otherwise would never have again.

The years passed without much change in her photography, until her daughter was born. By that time, she had replaced her old camera with a new compact digital. Everything was easier with the new technology and she began to take many photos of her newborn daughter. One day, with the Photoshop program, she discovered she could make different photos, photos from her dreams, a surreal world where the magic and real feelings could live together.

Now, being able to take and manipulate photos is one of the most important things she does, because she can share what she feels, even though no one can understand the meaning that she want to show.
She does not know what her future will bring, so, she is open to all possibilities in photography, because is something she really loves to do.


What keeps you being a person who needs to create?

Well, I’ve always felt I’ve had lots of things to express. I tend to live my feelings very intensely, it doesn’t matter if I’m going through a good moment or not. That’s where the need to create comes from. It’s wanting to take a part of my world from that mix of feelings and bring it out. The creation of images reminds me of those moments. It’s a way of giving them life. Just as everyone else immortalizes events in their lives, I do it too, just differently.


I like distorting reality by mixing it with a subtlety of feelings that a normal picture doesn’t express. Usually, I imagine taking that kind of photo is like crossing the barrier between wakefulness and dreams.


What is the one thing a camera could never capture?

The feelings I’m left with after taking a photo. It’s just too different compared to what I saw. Our mind is a mysterious box that doesn’t work without interpretating or protecting. A camera doesn’t have a memory, it doesn’t store sensations or feelings. It’s very objective, and that’s how you work with it, manipulating different functions from objectivity.
The camera will capture an image just the way you ask it to, but the emotion that motivated you to shoot it won’t be in the picture.


The result is not an accurate representation of the moment. It’s just obtained in a partial way. It may sound strange, but what motivates me to take pictures is to share what I’ve felt in those specific moments, and it’s a real pity that the photo won’t always fulfill that aim.


What are your favorite themes in photography?

Perhaps the things I like the most are portraits and landscapes, but, honestly, photography itself fascinates me.


I like almost every photograph I see, because hiding beneath a simple image you can find an emotion. If you don’t like a picture, it’s probably because it’s just badly composed, but you still might be captivated by the color combinations, or simply by the light.


Which are the three most beautiful human feelings?

For me, there is just one basic feeling, and I’m sure everyone agrees that it’s love. With love, many things are possible, the most complicated situations turn out lighter. Love makes the world more human and nicer.
I’m one of those persons who thinks we are in this world to feel, give and receive love… along with other things, of course.


You like to play with colors in your pictures. Why is that so important for a good shot? Is there any specific meaning in each color?

Color? It’s very important in life, you just need to take a look at nature and see the rain of colours around you.
The light and the colors are very important in my pictures, since they reflct my inner world. Remember, black is a color too; and darkness is part of light, therefore, part of me, too.


The intensity of colors, the amount of light or even the order in every composition will say a lot about my mood. Just like a song, musical notes that are in a certain order and in a certain key will make you feel specific emotions.


Now, all this is possible because we are human beings and, beyond cultural differences, the collection of elements that are fixed in the way you feel can represent personal worlds. The magic in this is that we can share them without a single word. To answer your question, I do not pick any color to express in a certain way; I rather look for the harmony and the combination that is in tune with me.


What is necessary to get an amazing shot?

That’s a matter of opinion. An amazing composition can be a simple flower, and then the same flower can mean nothing to the person who took the shot.
It’s very subjective. We always want it to be amazing, and so the most important thing to create amazing photos is to feel that it’s an amazing photo.
I think that the most important factor is motivation, and that’s everything you need to get an awesome shot.


In addition, your dream picture is …

I’ve got a lot of dreams and projects, not just one.
I’ve got lots of ideas, but right now I don’t possess what I need, so I’m waiting for that moment.


What is your definition of happiness and fulfillment?

A hard question. I’m not quite sure, actually. I’m always looking for happiness, but maybe by looking for it and not finding it at that moment could be happiness.
It could be that we tend to look for those amazing moments or feelings, and we forget about simplicity.
If we can see simplicity as something awesome in every little thing we do, we might achieve happiness more often. Maybe that way it would feel less glorious, but closer and more lasting.


Did you find the way out from the labyrinth?

Maybe yes, maybe no… It’s really easy to go inside, and much harder to get out.
Anyway, I often find the way out from some labyrinths, but it’s inside some of them that you can discover a really nice place to spend some time.


Related posts ↓

2 comments so far ↓

  • Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!