Monday, February 15, 2016

Interview with photographer Angela Sairaf

About you:
I’m a photographer. Everything else (and also this!) are just labels.

What is it that attracts you the most of what you have around you?  
Simple things.

Describe some of your projects
Well... actually I don´t like to describe my projects/pictures. So, I’d rather speak about why I don´t like to describe them. For me it is very difficult to explain in words what I show with images. Sometimes I’m forced to do it by market requirements, but it´s not my natural way of being. Only in a few cases, I think it´s important to give some direction to the viewer.
I think the best way to understand visual arts is the intuition - and anyone can use it!  In this case, you have a direct understanding and words became unnecessary. Almost always, when I make a picture, I don´t rationalize about what or why I’m doing it. I just do it. And it´s enough. There are many other artists who also work this way. Art is full of shortcuts where reason has no place. I like to compare artistic photography with instrumental music: In general, people don´t ask a musician to describe their songs. They just listen and feel it. It´s very funny how in visual arts, people ask us to describe our projects all the time, as if words were a kind of key to access the images. You would need them if you were blind, if not you can simply see and feel it.  For me, words and images don´t need to go together and many times when someone asks me about a project and I answer with a short sentence, I invariably hear “tell me more about it”. I guess this is a profound theme to investigate because it reflects the state of our society: with so much mental chatter, people are losing the ability to feel. People used to expect explanations that fits their perception of things. 
Your main concept.
I never thought about it. I guess I don´t have it!

Tell us about your experience as photographer what did it give you?
Photography gave me a big sense of responsibility. I started making pictures when I was 6 years old, and I started to work as a photographer when I was 18. For about 15 years I worked for magazines and model agencies, so I made a lot of portraits. One day I was making a portrait of a woman who was about 60 years old.  She had a very hard expression. I was speaking with her trying to relax her for the photo essay when she told me she didn´t like to smile, because when she was 15, a photographer said to her that she didn´t look good smiling. I asked her: ¨And did you trust him?¨ When I gave her the pictures, some days after, she told me: ¨Hey! I love this one in which I am smiling!¨. Since that day I understood how a silly opinion could affect a person´s life and became very careful in order to give positive feedback to whoever was in front of my camera; and in general. It is a big responsibility. Sometimes people who I made a portrait of many years previously, write to me and say that they never forgot the day of their photo session, that somehow it had changed their lives and they are so grateful about this. When it happens I think I did it well. I guess this is the best thing photography gave me. Until now... 

Three adjectives to describe yourself.
Quiet, Simple, Intense

 A film, a book and a song
Children of Heaven, directed by Majid Majidi
The Passion According to G.H., by Clarice Lispector 
Canción de Amor, by Paco de Lucía

What camera do you use?  lense?  
One day a friend who is also a photographer told me that photographers are very promiscuous. We were talking about equipment and I guess he is right. I worked for 20 years with analog cameras. I used to have a Nikon FM II and a Hasselblad. Since 2006 I changed to digital and now I use a Canon 5D Mark II (lenses according to the picture I want to make). I also use a Canon G1X and my iPhone. Or any other camera I can have in my hands... I´m not loyal to brands and I´m unpredjudiced about them.

Tell about exhibition if you‘ve had any.
I`d prefer to speak about the next ones. In March will be inaugurated two solo exhibitions, both in Spain. The first one is “The Secret life of Tapuicacas” - a conceptual work- at Ignacio Barceló Gallery, in Córdoba. The second one is “Izabel”, a documentary about a Brazilian homeless woman that will be shown at CEB/ University of Salamanca.

Do you sell prints? How do you make it and where can someone buy?
I do. My work is available to purchase. People can contact me directly through my website and sometimes some pictures are available in commercial galleries.

What was your most big success? 
I don´t know. Maybe been alive and kicking!

 Favourite photographer.
Only one? I can´t... sorry... I had the chance to learn from such geniuses as Joan Fontcuberta, Isabel Muñoz, Cristina García Rodero, Sebastião Salgado, Evgen Bavcar, Gerardo Nigenda, Chema Madoz...  and others who time doesn´t allowed me to meet in person: André Kertész, Cartier-Bresson and quite a lot of others...

 What is your occupation, job, interest besides photography. describe it.
I like to walk, to sing, to travel, to be with people who smile with their eyes before than with their mouth...

 Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a (professional) photographer?
Love and dedication. And after this, more love and more dedication.

Do you work as photographer? 
Yes, since I was 18.

Your plans.
I don´t make plans.

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