We are honored to introduce Jose Ramon Bas as LomoAmigo. The Spanish artist, who has been commissioned to create the LomoKino Premiere award, shows us in this interview his vision of Coney Island through the lens of his Diana.
Jose Ramon Bas´s father gave him his first camera at age 12. He met the Spanish photographer Florencio García Méndez that guided him in the beginning, teaching him the basics of photography. Later he moved to Barcelona where he studied photography and video professionally. Today he has numerous individual and collective exhibitions behind him, nationally and internationally, and teaches in the Master of Creative Photography of Efti School.
Among his cameras there is a Diana F+ which accompanied him to one of the most famous amusement parks in the world. With it he captured that “something special” and unique character of Coney Island. José Ramón tells us the details of this experience.
Hi Jose Ramon, tell us a little about yourself, a brief description.
Well, you mentioned quite a bit where I was born, studied and so on.
I devote myself to creation, working with my journeys and creating projects with them in an eclectic way and now I enjoy drawing, it has become obsessive but has a meditative character, a kind of mantra that is repeated.
The amusement parks, and Coney Island concretely, attract many photographers, what seduced you?
Well, I have two directors and two films of my youth: Walter Hill´s The Warriors and Alan Parker’s Angel Heart. In both, Coney Island is featured and I wanted to step on that beach.
But everything came by chance. I was in Boston and was going to visit a photographer friend, the American Jeffrey Silverthone in Providence (Rhode Island) (we shared the same gallery in Paris the Galerie Vu). He proposed we go to Coney Island on the 4th of July, he has made many photos there during the celebration of independence day so I went with him and another younger student and made the pictures.
There was no plan, it comes and go.
Coney Island, 2009. Why the Diana?
Because it is one of the cameras that I normally use, but not the only, and not heavy and with the heat and walking on the beach it was a great choice.
How would you describe this camera with only five words?
A light, funny and unpredictable way to photograph.
What is analog photography for you?
For me it is what photography has always been, there was no digital. But I think that what matters are the results and what you want to tell, not the tools, but now there are many tools and that’s fine if you don´t obsess or dogmatize anything.
Your work goes beyond the image captured with the camera, it continues with the intervention of the photography and the act of capturing the final result in resin. Tell us about the creative process that you follow and why the “encapsulation” of the work.
It was a way to retain a bit of a moment as in amber, to encapsulate the memory but it is still more than a wink to that. Thank God it is impossible to encapsulate the memory and the memories.
The trips are an essential part of your work. If you could teleport yourself right now with your Diana and a bag full of film anywhere in the world, what would it be and why?
I don´t know, I don´t think about it. Any place can be interesting, depending on the mood and many things, it could be a unknown place or a very visited one where I met up with some old friends again.
Places are not important, the important thing is your ability, is what one always has to look after, but if I have to say one place, I would say Ndar (St. Louis) in Senegal.
What is the best part of your job?
Everything. Freedom, doing projects that are part of your process without having to explain to anyone why or how and share it with people.
And the worst thing?
Nothing. I can´t complain. I’m lucky to do this and I hope to continue like this for a while.
What projects are you currently working on? Any exhibits in the near future?
Right now I have an exhibition at Casa de America along with other Spanish photographers who have done jobs in Cuba (Garcia Alix, Garcia Rodero, Maroto, Angel Marcos, Isabel Munoz, Meneses …), it is an old work from 1996. I have published a book with the French publisher L’oeil from my latest work in the Congo “Bango” and I´m presenting it in Paris next week. I’m going to Sri Lanka in September where I will work with children in the north of the island. And I’m closing a couple of exhibitions earlier next year.
Thank you for sharing such wonderful pictures and this experience with us Jose Ramon. It is an honor to have a photographer with a path like yours among our LomoAmigos.