“To be honest, I don´t think I am breaking any rule. It´s true that many people prefer colorful images of their smiling children, and that´s perfect… but not me. I consider photography an artistic expression…”
The words of Charo Diez keep echoing through my mind. Sometimes it is hard to lose track of why we are doing this. And you question yourself as to why you are doing it “this way” and shouldn’t it be “that way”. It is always important to remember that we are part of this photographic journey as much as our children are. It is through our eyes that their memories are being captured. And they will see and appreciate this when they are older.
Charo has a magnificent way of capturing childhood. Her eye, her vision, are truly unique. And captivating to say the least. Every image is full of questions. Selective with her information, she invites the viewer to fill in the gaps, which is in in big part an additive effect to the wonderful, magical word of childhood she portrays, in which anything is possible.
Please enjoy our featured photographer this month, Charo Diez.
Childhood and lifestyle images are often full of color and joy. How do you feel about breaking the perceived rules of photography by portraying such images in a different way?
To be honest, I don´t think I am breaking any rule. It´s true that many people prefer colorful images of their smiling children, and that´s perfect… but not me. I consider photography an artistic expression, so my photographs show the way I am, and the most important thing to me: I feel I am connected to them somehow.
For us as a group, the use of deep strong shadows is what sets the mood in our lifestyle images. How do you define “mood” in your own lifestyle photographs?
Photography is not only capturing just one moment, it´s also about showing how the photographer lived that very moment. So to me, “mood” is about whatever feeling, – sadness, fear, happiness..-, the photographer aims to capture and what the viewer may perceive by looking at the photograph. That’s the magic of photography.
Why do you like portraying your lifestyle images in this way? What draws you to this style of photography?
I have been taking photographs for many years now. I started developing and printing my own black and white copies in the darkroom, and for this reason I learned to see in monochrome more easily. When my oldest son was born, I admit I got lost: the images I used to take before becoming a mum were not “nice” or adequate for capturing his childhood (well, that´s what I thought at some point), so I tried to imitate everyone else´s “nice” photos: colorful, or soft matte greys photos with everything in its right place… Photos I didn´t like that much…and little by little, I began to take the kind of images I always loved; but this time, photographing my kids` childhood. I think it was a matter of adapting the way I loved to photograph to this new lifestyle images of my kids.
When shooting in beautiful light, what attracts you more- the light, or the shadows that go with it?
Both equally. I love playing with the deep shadows that are given by the light, and also emphasizing that tiny spot of light in the dark.
What do you find inspiring in childhood that drives your need to capture it?
This is my life right now: my children’s childhood, and I want to leave as many images of it as possible for their future, so that they can remember it. When they grow up, my photography will likely focus on another subject.
Can you give one tip on how to shoot in “moody” light or low light?
Never miss the chance to photograph a stormy sky: you will get amazing photos full of drama.
What keeps you going when you feel uninspired?
I have gone through those uninspiring days, and I have found out that the best thing is to keep the camera in its bag as many days as necessary. I don´t want to feel the urge to take photos I can not picture at that moment.
And looking at many, many photos. Really great ones.
What is your favorite time of day to photograph? And why?
Those two hours right before sunset through the year, and in winter time, early in the morning, because I love that soft moody light. Though I also like the harsh light at noon for more contrasted images.
What’s in your camera bag?
Just my camera, with a couple of lenses (depending on what I am going to photograph or where I am going), and an extra battery (never leave without an extra one!). A bottle of water for my kids (they are always running up and down and too thirsty), the mobile and nothing more… I don´t like carrying too many things, as light and simple as possible.
JPEG or RAW? Photoshop or Lightroom?
Always RAW, and Lightroom, I would use Photoshop occasionally for special effects, such as textures.