May 20th 2008 by Andrew S Gibson
Netherlands based photographer Carmen Gonzalez has a beautiful body of work on display on Flickr, and recently held an exhibition in the town of Hoogeveen. I particularly like her diptyches, and wanted to find out some more about her.
How would you describe your photographic vision? What kind of look/atmosphere/feel do you try and create in your photos?
I try to create a world as if we are looking through the looking glass. It is somewhat dreamy and mystical. I always post process my photos in photoshop as I do not want to capture the realistic moment how it is at that point in time but how it is at that moment in my mind… my vision.
When did you start taking photos and why? What made you decide to explore photography as a means of artistic expression?
I started taking photos seriously approximately 5 years ago. Of course I had experimented with analogue photography before but I was not so extensively engaged with the passion as I have been in the last five years. When I discovered photoshop a whole new world opened to me. I could finally express myself by creating the images I have in my head.
Colour or black & white…which do you prefer and why?
I do not have a preference. I like both. It depends on the photograph which form I choose. If you have a photograph with flat lighting for example, black and white just is not that expressive so you have to take that into consideration. And sometimes you take the power away of a photograph if you desaturate it or vice versa.
What is your favourite place for taking photos?
Depends on what I have in my head. I usually love to take photos from nature. But I also like old buildings or photographing people (or myself) in classy furnished rooms (this can be a hotel room or an atelier or whatever). I also like photographing under water a lot. But that is very difficult for me as I do not have the proper equipment (yet).
Your work is very creative. Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from? What are the biggest influences on your work?
I get inspired by everyday life.. when I see the splendid nature of earth but also when I walk on the street and I see people who have interesting features. I also get inspired by other photographs or when I hear a beautiful song or read a book that touches me. Art inspires!
One thing I really like about your work is the blend between photography and art. I like the way you use textures in Photoshop. Talk us through the processes you use. What are your favourite techniques?
It is quite simple. You copy an old texture as a new layer on a photograph and then merge it with the filter you want. For the rest you can adjust the result however you want with for example the tool curves in photoshop. For the rest I have a lot of actions which I have created so that I can use it on lots of photographs at once to create the same atmosphere.
You’ve just had your first exhibition. Tell us a little about it. How much work went into obtaining and preparing the exhibition? How rewarding was it? What advice can you give a photographer or artist who wants to break into exhibiting?
It was such a fantastic experience. The exhibition went very well. I had only positive reactions. On the opening there were like 100 visitors coming to see my work. I was really flattered. The most exciting thing was that I worked together with a VJ and a musical specialist. So my photos were projected on three different screens accompanied with some awesome trance music.
The preparations were difficult as I was working with other (artistic) people but I was the one who needed to organize everything and who was guarding the time-schedule. Kind of frustrating sometimes if you have to constantly mail/phone/sms people to get them to do things as agreed upon in time. Also I was the one who needed to visit possible sponsors for the show, had meetings with the director of the gallery etc. But at the end, if you see the result and it is going like you planned or even better, the feeling you get is priceless.
A tip for people who want to do an exhibition of their work:
Just be sure that you have a time schedule/to do list and work in systematically; this will give you an overview otherwise you will get lost!
Stay cool and stay focused and you will do fine!
You deal with the themes of the nude and self-portraiture a lot in your work. What ideas are you exploring with these themes? Why are you drawn to them so much?
I love the human body and especially the round female forms. I used myself as a model because it is practical mostly. You always have a model around. Also I am a little vain. It is a nice remembrance how you look like when you are young when you are (hopefully) an old lady all wrinkled and schrunk. But first mentioned reason is the main reason.
I am a little bit bored now with using myself as a model though. I am more and more into photographing other people/models. Directing people to model how you have in mind is quite difficult. I see this as a new challenge in photography for me. I need challenges in my life otherwise I get bored.
I am drawn to the human nudity in photography cause I can be touched by the beauty of the body which is so ingeniously built. I would love to photograph a real overweight person one day and also a body which has experienced a lot; nude. I am exploring more and more in this field and I like this progression I am making.
Name three photographers or artists you like and why.
Anton Corbijn; he is the master of cross processing in photography. He used it and turned it into his trademark. I adore the cinematic vision in his work. I also admire his guts.. how he experiments and how he is not afraid to fall on his face.
Andy Julia – fantastic fashion photography. Just like the ambience he creates with his work a lot.
Mark Sink; makes fantastic nude photographs with toy cameras .
Where is your photography going? What future photographic project or projects are you excited about?
Like I said before; it is more focus on photographing people/models instead of myself. I also want to focus more on photographing people while I travel. So far I only did that a few times as I was always more interested in landscapes or buildings. But it is kind of scary to ask a stranger if you may photograph him/her. I am not so good in taking rejection
Bonus Question: Your dream assignment. What is it?
To be able to travel and make photographs of my journey the way I see it. And to publish it in a book.
E-mail: cg [at] hotmail [dot] com (I am available for freelance work)
All photographs Copyright © Carmen Gonzalez. Please contact the photographer for permission to use in any way.