Our next featured age fotostock photographer, Enrique Algarra, is involved in photography at different levels.  As a professor, he is directly involved in the formation of the young, aspiring photographers of tomorrow.  As a photographer, his images show a curious, playful, unconstrained and at times almost obsessive vision of the world.  Algarra comments that he started taking photos at the age of 7. You can still feel the spirit of that 7 year old in his images that spy on strangely human mannequins, the moving legs of blurred passersby’s, and the odd places that can be found just around the corner…if you’re looking.  You can see more of his images here at age fotostock or in either of these personal blogs, www.enriquealgarra.blogspot.com or www.paquetesdefotos.blogspot.com.

 

Q: What 3 words best describe you?

A: I think Enrique, Algarra, and Photographer.

Q: What artistic influences are in your work?

A: I'm interested in film and photography and they give me ideas, according to my mood. Life is full of things and places to find inspiration.

Q: What is your favorite lens? Why?

A: In the seventies, I was a fan of the 20 mm because I really liked Pete Turner. Now I still enjoy the wide angles, but I’m just as likely to grab a fisheye as the 600 mm, it all depends on the day and my mood.

Q: What’s the Image that you are still hoping to make?

A: I’m not a photojournalist and I’m not trying to become a legend, so I have nothing planned. I’d just like to make at least one photo a day that makes me feel good.

Q: Why did you choose age fotostock to represent your photography?

A: I chose age fotostock for the proximity, and by that I don’t just mean that Valencia is close to Barcelona. I like to put faces on the names of the people who are on the other side of my computer screen working with me.  Age fotostock has always treated me very well, and I appreciate that.

Q: Based on your experience as a photography professor, what future changes await us in photography?

A: The changes have already come, and are here to stay. Professionally, the world has been digital for some time now, but even as files and cameras improve, the most important thing is to improve how we think, our ideas.  Photography schools must rethink their focus and develop different educational content.

Q: Are your current students the same as your students from the past or do you see changes?

A: The students are not at all the same.  They grew up in the digital world, and some things that have been very difficult for older photographers to learn are completely natural for them.

Q: In your opinion, what is the best way to learn photography?

A: At this point, I think you can learn digital technology quickly; it’s a much simpler process than classic photography, which is an advantage. However, everything that isn’t technique is as difficult to learn as before.  It’s a matter of bringing your own vision to the world through your images, digital or not, and developing a mature vision is not easy. You must try to understand the things around you in order to photograph them. Photography schools should not only teach color profiles and how to master the needed software, they must also prepare future photographers to be able to express their ideas to the world with their images.

Q: What is the best photographic advice that you have ever received?

A: My first teacher once told me that photography is like a puppy, if you take care of it, it will never abandon you. I took his advice, I don’t have a dog, but I've been taking pictures since I was seven, and the truth is that photography has been a good companion.  That’s in part thanks to you guys.

Q: If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?

A: I would like to be anything that would free me from depending on the latest software, firmware or operating system and all those things that sometimes make you feel like a slave. I think if I became a writer I would happily use just a pencil and paper and I would be a little more free. But that must await for a different incarnation ...

Bonus Question:  I've heard your students talk about the so-called "Algarratype." Can you explain what that is?

A: In the past, when a student took a photo that was too “inspired” in my photos, the other students would tell him that he had made an "Algarratype.” But luckily, that doesn’t happen anymore, now I am copying them (ha ha).


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The images of our next featured age fotostock photographer, Ton Koene, might provoke a wide range of emotions in our readers.  What they won’t provoke is indifference.  This series, “Doctors at the frontline,” documents the work of Doctors without Borders at a hospital in Afghanistan.  And, more powerfully, it tells us something about the lives of women and children in that country.  You can read more about this hospital here and you can see more of Koene's images at www.tonkoene.nl.

At a time when microstocks have started selling photos for editorial use, images like these should invite photographers to a moment of serious reflection.  The value of these images is their very serious and realistic vision of the day-to-day reality in an Afghan hospital.  Their value is the careful composition and storytelling, making them images that communicate powerfully, not sensationally.  Their value is the trust the photographer has developed with the hospital and ONG to gain access and the careful planning behind photojournalism in a conflict zone.  Finally, the value of these images is the financial cost of a trip and long stay in Afghanistan and the risk of harm that the photographer has accepted. 

Should a photographer´s blood, sweat, toil & tears be available for a 14 cents download?  If we sell such valuable images for pocket change, won´t the day come when these valuable and unique images cease to exist?

 

Q: Why did you choose to be a photographer?

A: It is fun. You have no boss, no personnel, and can be creative and free as a bird while travelling the world.

Q: How do you get funding for your trips and projects?

A: It depends, sometimes I seek funding for projects, but mostly I invest profits from my previous projects to initiate new projects.

Q: What equipment do you carry when you’re packing light?

A: I always take: two Canon 5D, one 24 mm 1.4, one 24 mm-70 mm 2.8, one fisheye, flash and chargers. I have no telephoto lens.

Q: Where is your favourite place to photograph?

A: Outside, in all weather conditions. I love the tropics to shoot. I also shoot a lot in conflict areas where the emotions in people are stronger.

Q: Where are you still hoping to go?

A: There is no limit. I would like to go to places which are not photographed too often.

Q: Have you ever faced great difficulty in gaining access for a story?  How did you manage it?

A: I always have problems in photographing as the context I shoot is violent and corrupt. It requires good preparation and being transparent in what you want to do. Also, you must talk to the right people and take good advice.

Q: Do you feel that viewers nowadays have become desensitized to images of war, refugees, etc or are they still impacted by these images?

A: Yes, and often these images are indeed cheap. But a good photograph is always powerful, no matter how often it is being done....but you have to be creative and original...

Q: Which is your favourite of your features?

A: Any feature which shows the strength of people in difficult situations. I like the transvestites in Pakistan as the images are good, but it was also difficult to make.

Q: Why did you choose age fotostock to represent your photography?

A: AGE has a wide network of distribution which helps my sales and income.

Q: What is the best or worst photographic advice that you have ever received?

A: The worst advice: Do not start doing it, it’s hard to get an income (which is true, but who cares).
The best advice: If a picture is not good enough, you are not close enough (Robert Capa).

Q: If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?

A: Rich.


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To wrap up our month on stock photography productions, we would like to feature the lifestyle images of age fotostock photographer, Stuart Pearce.  Since he moved from the front of the camera (as a model) to the back (as a photographer), Stuart Pearce has been shootings families, couples, business and more in his island home of Mallorca.  His images of people are relaxed, happy and warm;  as though he was photographing his family...  Stuart's specialties also include yacht and travel photography.  You can see more of Stuart's work at age fotostock or at www.stuartpearce.com.

 

Q: Choose 3 words that describe you.

A: Imaginative, Loyal, Spontaneous

Q: Why did you choose to be a photographer?

A: As a child, my family and I were often used as models in the very early days of stock photography. When the opportunity arose to be behind the camera instead, I knew I’d found what I’d always wanted to do, made better by not having to smile for 8 or more hours a day.

Q: Was it a good decision to become a photographer?

A: It was the only choice, photography has given me freedom and taken me to the 4 corners & 7 seas of the planet. I’ve met some amazing people, some famous, some just very funny and many less fortunate, but nonetheless happy. I’ve shot countries, yachts, houses, food and people and still enjoy the great variety of my work today as much as the day I started.

Q: Are you more technical or intuitive in your photography?

A: Much more intuitive, it took me years to get the hang of the technical side and I’m sure there’s still a great deal that I could learn.

Q: What’s your favorite lens and why?

A: Canon 24-70mm f2.8, not too wide, not too long and has always been my workhorse.

Q: How do you achieve the warm and natural feeling which characterizes your lifestyle images of models?

A: I try to find models that can act as well as model; this helps add authenticity to my images.  Although directing models has never been easy for me, I know what I want, so I direct the first few shots and then usually there’s a lot of adlibbing from there on, which produces the best and most natural shots. The lighting I use is an unusual amalgamation of hmi, halogen, natural light and flash, arranging them all so that it’s not too noticeable. On exterior shoots, I only use natural light, much easier!

Q: How do you get your subjects to sign model releases?

A: I have always paid my models and the precondition is for them to release their rights to my images.

Q: Why did you choose age fotostock to represent your photography?

A: I choose AGE over 20 years ago because of Alfonso, who has always been passionate about our industry, as well as supportive and fair.

Q: What is the best or worst photographic advice that you have ever received?

A: Best advice shooting interiors; “smack it with flash and leave it open for a fortnight at f8.”

Q: If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?

A: I’ve been a photographer for a long time so I’m probably unemployable, but I do like observing people, so perhaps a freelance window cleaner.



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Our next age fotostock photographer in the 10 x 10 series is Iolanda Astor.  Astor's images explore a world of texture, contrast and gestures, finding the potent moment when shadows meet the light.  In the stock photography industry, predictive and white lit images are the most commercially successful and the market doesn’t seem to pay enough attention to fine-tuned artistic sensibility, but at age fotostock we do appreciate a solid creative vision.

 

See more of Iolanda Astor´s work at age fotostock or at her personal website. 

 

Q: Choose 3 words that describe you.

A: Sensitive, observant and obsessive.

Q: Why did you choose to be a photographer?

A: I guess because I like to watch things (almost pathologically), tell stories, and create feelings & emotions ... and due to the direct influence of my father, a great amateur photographer, who bought me my first camera when I was three. I studied photography at the Institut Fotogràfic de Catalunya (Photography Institute of Catalunya) and I worked professionally in video, film and television.

Q: Any special artistic influences?

A: I’m sure there are many, but they come without trying.  I don´t really mythicize. I like to watch everything around me; if you keep watching, you see such interesting, everyday things. Undoubtedly, I am most moved by light, but also by people and their gestures, strange situations, forms and abstractions of nature ...

Q: What’s your favorite lens and why?

A: I don’t have a favorite, although usually I work between 35 and 135mm. If I had to choose a single lens, I would pick the 35mm for its versatility.

Q: Are you more technical or intuitive in your photography?

A: Definitely intuitive, although I believe it is important to master technique in order to forget about it. I prefer a photo that excites me, whether it’s technically perfect or not, over a technically perfect postcard. I have a problem: I do not like “pretty” pictures.

Q: What’s the Image that you are still hoping to make?

A: I don’t think I’ll ever make it. You could say that I am eternally unsatisfied, photographically speaking, of course.

Q: Why did you choose age fotostock to represent your photography?

A: Because I’ve known of age for many years and knew people who worked there and could speak for its professionalism.

Q: Do you promote yourself through social networks (facebook, twitter, blog,...)?  Is it helpful?

A: The truth is that I don’t use them.

Q: What is the best or worst photographic advice that you have ever received?

A: Among the worst, to make my photography more commercial… a disaster. And among best was when Alfonso Gutierrez told me to be true to myself in my photos.

Q: If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?

A: I've already done other things, but right now I don’t know ... I'd have to think about it.



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We didn´t know just how soon Colin´s next storm would come...  Those of you who read photographer Colin Monteath´s bio, posted Friday, might have noticed that Colin is based in Christchurch, New Zealand.  On Saturday, Christchurch suffered a major earthquake (magnitude 7.1), sustaining serious damage to buildings and infrastructure, but fortunately, no casualties. 

We were relieved to know that Colin and his house made it through without any serious damage.  He wrote: It's been a hell of a day...but overall, considering what many are going through right now, we got off very lightly. We have bottled water plus extra food for my photo road trips and have dug toilet in garden...just had extended family here for venison stew...so all well. After checking neighbours, delivering cups of tea in the dark etc it was a sobering day taking pictures downtown…very sad to see steeples of very old Churches down through slate roofs etc. Still smiling....Colin

Like we said, an individual who knows how to weather a storm… with camera in hand.


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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in anyway.

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