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We need the ordinary to accept the changes: about new roads

July 26, 2016 by ·

Velina Vateva’s interview with the photographer Elena Pérez-Ardá López


Elena, it is my pleasure to present your work to the Public Republic readers. Can you tell us what got you into photography? In what way photography is an art of its own, what makes it special for you, and do you find it similar to other arts?

I was born in the south of Spain, but mostly grew up in the north. So this is something that straight away influenced my way of looking at things, such as distances and landscapes.When I started studying art, I had classes for painting, drawing and sculpture. It was not until my 4th year of University, when I went to art school in Germany that I focused on taking pictures. Photography doesn’t have to fight anymore for being an art of its own. I think it is already a very common tool for art purposes. For me it was a natural choice, I started to resolved all the assignments I was getting for class with my camera. I realised that was the way to go for me. At the end, everything has to deal with image, the choice is just personal.

You say that you prefer analogue photography. On many of your photos this is explicit. What does an analogue photo have which a digital one lacks?

Analogue means more magic and trying harder. It means another way of looking at the matter, maybe in a more romantic way, but still professional. For me it has something digital could never fill in. I am always leaning towards film.

Some of your photos, not only the black and white, look like old vintage photos, their atmosphere is almost tangible. Can you tell us more about these photos?

I use second hand cameras that have been traveling around since the 60’s with other owners, so most of them are kind of worn out, they helplessly give this vintage look to the film. I don´t pretend it, but at the end it’s there, so I guess it’s something important for my pictures.

It seems to me that detail plays an essential role for you. Is it so?

Yes! Generally in life, details are always important. They make the difference. So I am always paying attention to small things and I consider myself a detailed person. This trespass to the camera as well.

What is the place of light and darkness in your work? Do you think they have something in common?

Light is very important for me. Ii don’t really like a perfect lightening of a scene, but I enjoy very much a dark place and then a strike of crazy light, or just a blurry and weak natural light coming, etc. I like the change this produces in the viewer, how even a boring-daily object can become much more interesting with just a different position or a different lightening. For me light and darkness go hand by hand.

Some of your photos that I find most fascinating are blurred. Do you think that a disadvantage of a photo can be turned into its advantage?

The viewer participates more in an image if not everything is already explained. I find that the person looking at the picture must have always something to say. Usually differing from what the photographer aim is. I like this because it´s a game. You are playing with the camera, with the reality and the person looking at the photo. So, it’s definitely an advantage.

What do you think about “ordinary situations”? In what way “ordinary” interests you? What does “ordinary” mean to you?

Ordinary for some people means not interesting, routine. For me they are the most precious moments. If you isolate an ordinary moment from the rest of the day, you can find out a lot about your life. We are always trying to find something special, but we don’t realise sometimes it’s already there. We need the ordinary to accept the changes.

You take photos of both people and nature. How the two processes differ, if they differ to you.

I always take pictures of close people around me. When photographing people I don’t know it´s a bit more complicated. Although I really like it, I am still learning how to approach a subject like this. And then, to work with landscape photography or still life is much more calm, more reflective.

Does it happen to you that a photo you are taking surprises you?

Yes, because I like to develop the film after few months of taking them, so it’s almost like forgetting what you have done! 😉

Elena Pérez-Ardá López (Almería,1991) is a spanish based photographer. She holds a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Salamanca and she studied abroad at the Kunsthochschule of Kassel in Germany with Prof. Bernhard Prinz. Her work has been selected various times at national contests and at the Adora Calvo Gallery open call for emerging artists. Elena has exhibited at DA2 (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Salamanca and has participated as well in exhibitions in Kassel and the F/Stop Photography Festival in Leipzig (Germany).

You can find Elena’s photos at her website as well as at her flickr page.

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