November 23rd 2008 by Andrew S Gibson
Xavi Fuentes’ beautiful black and white images contrast the soft forms of the sea with the solidity of concrete and rock.
I n t r u s i o n
Xavi Fuentes‘ images are dominated by the sea. Slow shutter speeds reduce the movement of the water to a smooth blur, interrupted only by the solid forms of rocks and concrete. He shoots in the half-light of dawn and dusk, reducing the elements of the landscape to strong shapes and dramatic skies.
I liked Xavi Fuentes’ beautiful black and white photos so much that I asked him to participate in an interview. Read on to learn about his approach to landscape photography.
How would you describe your photographic vision? What kind of look/atmosphere/feel do you try and create in your photos?
In my opinion the most important things in photography are summarized in two words: composition and light.
I like to play with simple compositions, with few elements, them to reinforce and not to distract the spectator… To extract to these objects of the reality and to locate them in another one, supported with a long exposure, is something that fascinates me… We extract it from its natural habitat to place it in a Timeless space.
About the light… I don`t like aggressive tones and full of contrast, but a soft graduation tonal and full of information. Because of it I come out in photographs to the first light of the dawn (even before the sun goes out) and dusk… Preferably the first one, for which in the Meditarrenean Sea the sun goes out by sea and wonderful tones are obtained on water.
Your work is very creative. Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?
I never worried the creative being … For me is more important being constant and to obtain good results periodically… I often go out to know new places and to obtain good copies … many of these pictures won`t be edited, but only those that have a “special magic”.
My inspiration comes from many ways … from Fine art books I buy, from Internet and from some groups like Deviantart or Artlimited, where I have my own portfolios. From of all these options I prefer the books. To see the photography in paper, it changes very much the way it sees in 500×500 pixels. I am a defender of the photographic print: I have all my prints printed in home… these ones are which I offer in my website.
When did you start taking photos? What made you decide to explore photography as a means of artistic expression?
I began in 2004 when I bought my first digital reflex … Since then my photographs were in black and white. When I saw “The Portfolios of Ansel Adams” book … I realized the black and white potential…this kind of photography impressed me so much… It`s hard to describe, But I knew my images had to be in monochrome.
From 2006 I started experimenting with the night photography … During this period I discovered the results that provide the long exposures…and it drives through the photographs that you’re seeing now.
What does the landscape mean to you? Why do you choose to photograph the landscape in black and white?
I love to photograph in the early morning, with soft light, the smell of the sea and the loneliness … it`s something difficult to explain. It’s like if someone was saying to you: “If you get up early, I`ll show you all that “… The Landscape allows you to return and to repeat the work until you obtain what you wish. The landscape needs time, analysis … and many frustration (at least in my case), but also gives you big moments…
Black and white was never an option. The same way you ask: Why Black and white? I might ask you: Why Color? The color is reality, descriptive… I am more interested in suggesting than to describe. The abstraction and the purity that shows is what pays my attention.
Name three photographers or artists you like and why.
Ansel Adams: He was the person responsible to introduce me in the world of the photography and more specially in the photographs in black and white.
Michael Levin: Michael has an incredible work … I visit often his works in search of inspiration. The minimalism and the smoothness of the light in his prints are an example for me.
David Burdeny: Again minimalistic seascapes with interesting human elements… Shorelines is an enviable project … majestic … but North/South is frankly excellent.
What did your honourable mention in the IPA Awards 2008 mean to you?
The two Honourable mentions on IPA Awards 2008 were a gift to me … I`m very satisfied about the mentions and they help to look at the future with enthusiasm…I`ll keep working to try that some day these mentions become awards.
Tell us a little about the Fine Art Photography scene in Spain.
Actually I have no experience in the Fine Art scene in Spain … I have just entered the Fotografos Artísticos group and have had the first impressions of my photographs with a gallery in Barcelona. For my scanty experience, in Spain the photography continues being below from other forms of expression, like painting or sculpture. I imagine that, little by little, everything will be changing and we will place to the photography to the height that is deserved.
Where is your photography going? What future photographic projects are you excited about?
I don`t ask myself where I go or I want to do in the future … Nowadays I continue looking for new places that fit with the type of landscape that I like … For now this is the most important thing for me: the search and the satisfaction for achieving prints of my pleasure. Nothing more. Time will say if there are new projects or not.
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I n c o m i n g
F o u r
D e v o t i o n
C o n v e x
A b y s s
T i m e l e s s
S e r e n i t y
R e m i n i s c e n c e
L a s t l y
All photos Copyright Xavi Fuentes. Please ask the photographer for permission to use in any way.
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