Expat Stories: An interview with photographer Cristina Rodero
Expat Prakriti Bhanot interviews one of Spain’s greatest photographers, Cristina Garcia Rodero. Rodero is the third person to receive the highest National award for photography in Spain and has published photography books.
Why are you a photographer?
As a young girl I wanted to see the world and tell about the life of people, their emotions and quality of life; not to tell it through the books.”
Tell us about your journey to this day.
At the age of fourteen I started noticing other things besides the people around me. I started covering everything that took my fascination. By sixteen I had saved enough money to buy my first very own camera.
I was considering photography as my hobby and painting as my main stream. Then I was admitted to the Laboratory of the University of Photography in Madrid. This was the most important change in my life. It brought me into the world of developing photographs, and I started experimenting.
Later on, I bought a studio, and travelled Spain covering different traditions, festivals and cultures in many small villages. During this project, I realized that my first and only love is photography. I travelled a great deal in Spain and abroad, so much that I published a book with all my photographs from 15 years of travelling: España Oculta. Soon after I published my second book, Fiestas y Rituales de España.
With the advent of digital cameras, is photography still considered an art?
Yes because the cameras are just a facility for work; it is the technical aspect of the whole prospect. The art is in the mind of the artist, not in his camera.
For a good piece of art, it does not matter how you produce it, because the creativity is in the mind, and in the attitude of the artist.
Which photographer do you admire the most and why?
The French photographer Robert Doisneau is my favourite. I also like Henri Cartier-Bresson and William Klein. I like their photos because they talk about the “moment”. They take the photos from deep in the heart of kids, people and streets. Everything seems to be just perfect at that moment, and their photos provoke reactions in you.
How do explain life, in terms of photography?
Life has different aspects, it is all about people’s emotions -- what they feel for pain, love, aggression, spiritualism, and so on. When a photographer goes out he makes a connection with his subjects; this connection may be spiritual, carnal or a connection of love, depression, elation or any other emotion. His/her photographs will always depict connections, a mirrored image of life through his/her lens.
What kind of photographs do you like?
I like portraits which tell the person’s character.
What is your message, as a photographer, to beginners?
I would advise the youth of today to get out of their country and see the world outside, experience the differences and get the exposure. They will see the different cultures, different people and they will learn how these people have the same fears and same longings and desires. They would also learn how much they themselves have, and how much they are missing.
While taking a photograph, are you emotional or objective?
Emotional always. I do not get contentment if I do not connect with the people emotionally, that is the reason I do not take pictures of buildings. There have to be people in my photographs. I reach out to them, and make connections.
All the good photographs I have seen are black and white, but if the world is so colourful why do you prefer this?
I like colour, as well as black and white photos. Colours add sensuality and happiness. In black and white photos there is a certain mystery because it is so different from reality. The colours distract you, and you miss the depth.”
Prakriti Bhanot / Expatica
Interview was conducted by Prakriti Bhanot from the International School of Madrid, at Diwali Resturant in February 2010.