The images beyond time of Álvaro Gómez

Edited by Odeta Catana, Photo Editor

Álvaro Gómez

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Could you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I am a lone wolf photographer and amateur filmmaker at the age of 25, growing into cinematography. Whenever I am out of home, I say to myself to be working, as I take a camera to any place I go. Photographs can happen anytime. I sometimes do commission work on still photography, but mostly I try to be a director or photography, cameraman or assistant at the shooting of movies, short films, music videos and commercials. For I studied Cinematography at ECAM (Cinema and Audiovisuals School of Madrid (Spain)

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How would you describe yourself and your personality?
I am said to be rather shy and reserved, some others tend to call me mysterious and strange. Despite of efforts on street photography I still find it hard to have the guts it takes to face strangers

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What inspires you? Who were the first artists that inspired you?
I have always been deeply inspired by the arts and painters. Specially ranging from Goya to the Post-Impressionists, a figurative vision that it is somehow driven by a veil of mist and blur, a freely done expression of emotions and light. Later I got hooked by Edward Hopper, I tend to shoot any images that remind me of his paintings and atmospheres. As for photographers, well, I have always been fond of the classic and the “Leica” style ones from the 30s to the 70s. Brassai, Elliot Erwitt, Vivian Maier, Josef Koudelka, Saul Leiter… to name a few. But the most important being Cristina García Rodero form Magnum Photos. Not by the theme or style of shooting, but by the passion she shows for photography and the things she portrays. I was enormously lucky to be able to work for her in her doing scans and archive matters.

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How did you start taking photos?
My father says that he gave me a camera when I was eight years old on a trip to Paris, I couldn’t stop taking pictures. Unfortunately I do not even keep that memory and can not remember any of it. But starting from the time i do recall, it all begin with a little 2004 compact camera I used to take on trips to come back with all cards full. Went into psychology major at university but left it right away . I had developed a certain taste for photography and wanted to really get into it, and so I did. My brother was at an arts high school, he tried to get me into the darkroom. I was reluctant at first, then I got into an upper degree on Image, went deep into the darkroom and I continue to work the chemical way ever since.

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What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?
I want people to feel atmospheres and imagine the stories contained in the mood. I like to show images that are beyond time, away from the future and slightly into the past. I think that can be clearly felt.

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Do you take portraits? And if so, in a portrait, what is important for you?
I do take portraits for time to time. I started  doing remakes of paintings I liked. I used a girlfriend as a model, and so you can call them to be portraits as well. But from then most work I do is far from portraiture. it is like portraits are some kind of a personal diary and memory of close people. They are filled with emotion to me, and in some way I only shoot them for myself and the portrayed being in it. They’ll feed me in the future, from the past as the most emotional memories I have. Still, portraiture is not the type of photography I want to keep as my main work. I go through others peoples portraits day to day, as I sometimes find the feeling of literally falling into the eyes.

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Do you think it’s important to follow a school to learn how to shoot?
It is up to each one. Some people learn from themselves, some find it harder. Still it is good to have a technical background provided to help express your mind knowing what can be done with each tool.

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Is there a personal project that you’ve had in your mind that you haven’t done, and that you probably will never do?
Not on still photography as i don’t follow certain projects. I just shoot the pictures I like to shoot as life unfolds. But as for moving pictures… that is another story

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Do you think you have your own style?
We all do and we all don’t, It depends on how you see it.  I believe I do, but the references and inspirations span quiet far and in the end you can relate any work to something done before. And so the term “own style” dilutes itself. Still I believe everything in life to be as subjective as it can get. We are all build up  with references and bombed visually with millions if images, but no one lives the same things and have the same experiences.

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Where’s one place you dream of taking photographs?
Place, place in time I’d rather say. I am indeed very nostalgic, even for the times I have not lived, bizarre as it may sound. Probably anytime from the 20s to the 70s, but specially the 20s.

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Why do you take photos?
This is a question a struggle and stumble across many times. Some days i can not even thread an answer to it. I am a very visually oriented person. i think it has to do with memory and nostalgia, keeping alive moments of the past that keep you alive in the present, becoming who you are through those memories.

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What keeps you going?
Life itself. it puts you up as it puts you down, but quoting filmmaker Jonas Mekas: ” I film because I live, and I live because I film”

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