Zapallal/Yurinaki is a body of work you created in Peru, your home country, after studying photography in Germany. How did remoteness - both geographical and mental – influence your vision as a photographer and your desire to capture this country in images?
The idea behind the series doesn't really restrict my vision of this country in images, but rather focuses on issues relevant to Peru's socially, economically and politically centralized system. Peru's social landscape changed a lot between 2000 and 2010, but there were several remaining issues I was still interested in.
The mental and physical distance I experienced while I was living in Berlin allowed me to be become more sensitive to these issues. Without this distance, I might have had trouble in seeing things clearly, as happens when I become too attached to a certain idea. When I returned to Peru to produce the project, I did feel a kind of gap at the beginning (mostly during pre-production) but fortunately it didn't last long. As soon as I started to make contact with the people I was going to photograph and work with, my workflow became more intuitive. The connection with my subjects is ultimately what fuels my projects. Your picture "Carretera" is ambivalent, walking a fine line between landscape and still-life. Like many of your images, it hypnotizes: it is an appealing and seductive image (of newfound sensuality amidst chaos) which also powerfully expresses dramatic tension. How do you use colour and lighting to achieve this?
Some of my images can be interpreted in a sensorial manner: the use of external lighting allows me to enhance certain aspects of my motifs (vibrant red flowers for instance), while bringing out textures and information to the surface. Most of the time, when people work on themes with a social background, there are many details, and a certain beauty (reflecting progress, care and collectivism for example) that remains hidden or ignored. I'm aware of the living conditions of these communities and how fragile their environment can be; I don't want to hide nor ignore these aspects or other problems related to poverty, but I always try to find different ways of representing social issues (different from what you usually see in the mainstream media) so that people can face these problems and analyse them from a new perspective. "Sarnai", like your other portrait work, is posed. How do you work with the sitter ?
In my first project, "Conditions", there are many subjects with unconventional appearances, but decisions about who I work with are not necessarily based on the way they look. First, there has to be a certain relationship with them in order to compose the images. I try to work with my subjects in a collective manner, to create specific situations and bring out a form of intimacy in order to invite the viewer to share a moment with them and reconsider new aspects of mutual acceptance. In both series, you interlink portraits and still lives, how do they interact?
Such combinations help me to construct a personal narrative; some still lives were composed with the same ideas and emotions as the ones behind the portraits, while others complete my subjects as an interpretation of their surroundings.
Can you tell us more about your book Conditions, where the image association and ultimately, the narration, have to be performed by readers themselves?
The series Conditions deals with ideas of identity, social norm and mutual acceptance. Our Identity is shaped by a conglomeration of the decisions we make all along our lives, and the book’s double-binding invites the beholder to experience something similar as he browses the pages to make his own combinations.
Limited edition, numbered and signed.