this weekend we like to give you some inside of the work and background of Spanish photographer Xavi Carol, director at El Molí de la Llum. We really like his inventiveness and the creative implementation of his ideas into the impressing images, you can see here and on his webpage. Learn about him here with our interview:
I am Xavi Carol, but cause of my photos I am using the pseudonym "L’Alquimista". I was born in Barcelona, Spain. About 7 years ago I moved to a quiet and small town located in the Penedés area. I dedicate a weekly 80 hours work in my 2 professions and passions in life, analyst-programmer and photographer. It is the highlight of my ability to learn and transmit knowledge.
Have you been involved in the arts in some form other than photography?
My family always has placed great emphasis on painting, sculpture and music. So i think, that i was favored by the perspective of a viewer, who was always surrounded by good taste.
Seeing your remarkable work, I am curious where your creativity comes from?
It's all very random ... I see images in my dreams or maybe a news story ... a movie .... most of the times I find inspiration in clothes. I learned to find a symbiosis between the evolution of fashion collections, makeup and hairdressing.
Could you share with us how you first became interested in photography?
With the age of 18 years i was watching some photos taken by my grandfather in the 50s. I was totally attracted. I started making photos with slide film, since i had no money to buy a digital SLR camera. Even the digital revolution just began in that time, I stopped for a long time to take pictures, but was always informed of improvements in software and compact camera. It was about 5 years ago, that I took up the hobby and just over 3 years ago I discovered my passion for fashion. Since then I have been a sponge acquiring all knowledge that crossed my path.
What equipment are you using now and with what did you get started? what is your favorite lens?
I started in photography with a Canon AE-1 Program-second hand, a fully analog camera. Currently I do my fashion works with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II.
As lens i'm using a sigma 70-200mm f2.8. I believe that the lenses influence everything. There are a number of conditions that determine which I'll use .... for example, to beauty I like to use the Tamron SP 90mm f2.8 macro.
Can you tell us about your work flow from the point until you showcase the developed picture?
When inspiration comes, it is always as a "raw material" to be developed, so whenever I have an idea, the filter for several views .... aesthetic psychology of the viewer, resources and costs ...
Once I have the idea refined as a concept and meet mandatory requirements, I write a document as a creative direction. This document is a sketch, written and graphic examples of all the requirements and concepts. This is, what the team gets ... clients ... etc ... to start the technical development.
The team, providing its professional experience, and enrich the concept with their point of view, finalizes to the lowest level of detail.
The shoot is the topping on the cake, hard work previously done, so the team knows, what to do this day. So this day is usually fun, as most problems have been resolved earlier, and the risks are minimal.
Having obtained the photos in RAW format, initially i process it in LightRoom, choosing a global processing that respects the concept, even that enhances aesthetic .... the details of the processing performed later by PhotoShop, after which I have the results ready to publish.
Do you see a particular influence, be it a photographer or school on your work? Any subject that attracts you?
I try my work to not have a definite influence on a style. You can find projects with a similar style to that of Man Ray or Chas Ray Krider ...... or similar with cinematic styles ... but not something as standard or preference. It is something that is implicit in the project. I like a style defined not associate with my work.
What would you say characterizes your work in comparison to other photographers?
Someone once gave me the advice not to compare myself with other photographers, either for better or for worse, to seek my way and make my photographs. That said, I like to think and make a photograph communicative and is not tied to a style or technique that defines me. For me the techniques and resources used are tools.
Among your works, which is your favorite and why?
My favorite is always the work I am developing as it is a new challenge and always creates new illusions.
Tell us your funniest or most awkward photography story.
I remember a session I did for a personal book on top of one of the slopes of "Pont Nou", a historic aqueduct in the town where I live. It was a little cloudy that day and i decided to plant a foot with a strobist and a small translucent umbrella ...... There was a time that the wind blew a little .... Imagine that, the contraption flew in the style of Mary Poppins and I had to run downhill to reach it!
What would you tell a newcomer who asks for your advice on how to start?
The same, who people gave me at that time:
- Make your photos and do not compare yourself with another photographer, for better or for worse.
- Do not be afraid to replace photos in your portfolio.
- Patience and perseverance, which are the key to gain experience and knowledge.